PHP 8 is Released – What’s new? What are the PHP 8 Features?

By | Date posted: | Last updated: February 25, 2021
PHP 8 Release

As an exceptional gift on Thanksgiving, PHP 8 release has elevated the level of excitement in the market. This recent release will end an array of problems with its excellent language improvements and powerful features that the website owner may be facing in their existing versions of PHP. Switching to this latest version can open doors to several benefits that come from its distinct features like speed and reliability.

We were all super-excited since the announcement of PHP 8 release, and wanted to know its features. To talk in detail about what are the significant highlights of PHP 8, below given is a well-researched inventory that will help you learn about the same.

PHP 8 Features:

PHP 8 – Just in time Compiling (JIT)

Available for testing since the release of PHP 7.4, Just in Time compiling got introduced officially as one of the PHP 8 features. With this feature, the machine code can be executed and compiled at the run time instead of compilation before execution.

It helps in the execution of application code faster than a traditional interpreter. One can also compare the same to an already interpreted caching code.

It is not active by default and thus requires manual activation during PHP compile and run time. It has enhanced the performance of PHP to new heights primarily for long mathematical computation, CPU-intensive applications, 3D rendering, and more.

PHP 8 – Union Types

For your requirement to declare more than one union type in your class & argument, PHP 8 Upgrades now supports the same. In the previous versions of PHP, Iterable and nullable union types are supported only. With this feature introduced in the latest version, mistakes are captured at an early stage as types are imposed.

During inheritance, utilizing the Liskov Substitution Principle, types are checked. It is less likely that type information may become out-dated or a miss edge case due to the reason that they are enforced. Apart from the exceptions such as Nullable union type, false pseudo-type, void type, and more, all other union types are currently associated with PHP.

PHP 8 – Attributes

Annotations or Attributes have officially become part of the language in the recently released PHP 8 new features. Through attributes, one can add Meta data to classes. One doesn’t have to parse docblocks for the same. One can also understand them in a way as a short form of metadata that you add to different parts of your code like functions, parameters, classes, and others. It has made the entire process smooth.

With two less than and greater than signs, Multiple attributes can be now added to a code. One factor that needs attention to detail is that the attributes are not compatible backward. These are also known to cause errors if transferred into older versions of PHP.

PHP 8 – Match Expression

This feature is very much similar to the Switch statement and is released as one of the latest PHP 8 new Features. There are a few improvements that come along with this latest released version. It includes no type of coercion like that in previous switch statements. There stands no need to set some variable at every case as a match evaluates the expression result. You won’t experience down through even if you forget to add a break after every arm.

This advancement over the switch expression is stricter, shorter, and combines conditions that do not require any break. These are like a superior replacement that one can stick to in order to benefit from PHP 8 performance.

PHP 8 – Constructor property promotion

This feature is one of the PHP 8 Upgrades that works like a synthetic sugar in a beverage. It has reduced the redundancy and simplified property declaration through new and more concise syntax.

In the previous versions, all properties were to be repeated many times to use them with objects. But with this feature, method parameters that are pre-fixed with protected, public and private are only related to the promotional parameters. One doesn’t have to specify a constructor or class properties as the latest version can combine them all into one.

PHP 8 – Stable Sorting

Before the introduction of PHP 8, it was difficult, or say unstable to sort the algorithms. But, with the latest release, stable sorting has come as a relief to sort functions in a stable manner.

PHP 8 – Weak Maps

This feature is known to be the abode to the references to the objects that do not allow the same to be garbage collected. For example, one can pick the case of ORM. Caches that hold references to entity classes are implemented to enhance the performance of the relations between entities. So, until this entity has a reference to the catch solely or not, the related entities cannot be garbage collected.

So, if weak maps are utilised in the caching layer, all the objects will be garbage collected in case nothing else is referencing them. The weak maps feature helps in offering a friendly and better way to deal with these objects.

PHP 8 – New Functions Released

  • str_starts_with and str_ends_with: This function is employed to check if a string starts or ends with a specific line.
  • get_debug_type: It has a similar working to that of gettype function but revert more information than the latter one.
  • str_contains(): This function helps in doing the background check of whether the returned value was different from FALSE to help you search for a needle inside the string.
  • preg_last_error_msg: This function ends the need for manual checks for errors that were also time-consuming. This function reverts a human-readable error message for a faster check process!
  • get_resource_id: Through this function, one can get any resource ID with no hustle. For example, Database Connection.

With the PHP 8 roadmap, many awaited features are released that have made many things in PHP clear and transparent. Try them out yourself and enjoy the hands-on experience on every PHP 8 feature.

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