Spotted this post on Christian Stocker’s blog, which led me to this fascinating document — minutes of a meeting between various PHP heavyweights to discuss some of the proposed changes that might make it into PHP6. Of course it’s all a long way off but it gives an interesting insight into the thought processes of those who are responsible for the development of the language.
There’s a lot about Unicode of course, since Unicode support is a large part of PHP6’s raison d’être, but there’s plenty more besides. There’s predictable stuff like the dropping (at last!) of register globals, safe mode and magic quotes. There’s also some new functionality, like a sort of extended isset; a form of goto(!) and, possibly, support for namespaces. A further interesting addition will be the inclusion of an opcode cache, APC, in PHP (although it won’t be enabled by default). A free speed boost for your PHP scripts has to be a good thing!
I was disappointed to see that there are no plans to convert PHP errors to exceptions — I hate the way errors are handled in PHP and would, personally, like to see them all handled as exceptions. *sigh*
It’ll be a long time before we’ll see PHP6 of course and no doubt there will be many changes before then. And it’ll be even longer before many hosts actually support it — PHP5 has been around for nearly 18 months now, and still very few hosts support it (my own host, the otherwise excellent A Small Orange, is waiting for PHP5.1 — *sigh* again!). But an interesting read, nonetheless.