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PHP5 VS PHP7: Key Differences

Which PHP version best suits your business needs: PHP 5 or PHP 7?

by Pranisha Rai
PHP5 vs PHP7 Key Differences
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PHP is one of the most popular server-side scripting languages to this day. Regardless of the claim, it has lost credibility. Language still holds a solid market in web development; there are still more than 25.8%  of web developers who prefer PHP, and 81% of all PHP uses are still relevant for web development. Vigorous continuous improvement added extra perks to PHP. Talking about its improvements, today in this article, we will explore the differences and features between PHP 5 and PHP 7. So, let’s dive right into it! 

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Overview of PHP 5 and PHP 7

PHP 5 has come with numerous improvements in its functionality, such as an improved My SQL extension with an SSL connection, bond I/O parameters, prepared statements, and multi-query functions. Another is an XML extension that fully complies with W3 specifications. Thirdly, the implementation of destructors, constructors, interfaces, class type hints, abstract classes, a whole suite of magical methods, static properties and methods, and final properties and methods in the object model. This added a whole new level of improvement to PHP 5. 

PHP 7 was developed by Dmitry Stogov, Nikita Popov, and Xinchen Hui. It has high performance, incredible speed, and fast interaction on websites. Apps built using PHP 7 require less energy to run and reduce demand on servers. Besides, its improvements in syntax, i.e., syntactical sugar, make writing code easier with well-structured code. In addition, PHP 7 offers a ton of amazing features, including fast loading and efficient scripting that runs swiftly and smoothly every time users access the website. 

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What are the Improvements in PHP 5?

PHP 5 features
  • Excellent Support for XML and Database: It has incorporated a couple of extensions, such as PHP Data Objects (PDO) and SimpleXML, that tremendously simplify the process of working with XML and databases. 
  • Better object-oriented programming (OOP) support: PHP 5 has come with numerous improvements, such as static methods, exceptions, abstract classes, and interfaces. This improvement is extremely beneficial for PHP developers when working on complex and modular projects. 
  • Internationalization Extension: PHP 5 supports unicode, time zones, calendars, formatting dates, numbers, and currencies. This allows developers to work with different languages and locales with ease. 
  • High Performance and Scalability: It runs under the new Zend Engine II. This provided high performance and scalability for applications built using PHP 5. PHP developers can seamlessly create high-traffic websites with improved performance.
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What are the Improvements in PHP 7?

PHP7 features
  • Exceptional Speed and Load: Code written in PHP 7 consumes less memory, which greatly increases the performance speed. Its load-bearing capacity is commendable, and with a single piece of hardware, it can take numerous hosts. 
  • Scalar Type Declaration: This lets developers write accurate and well-structured code. The best part is that PHP 7 operates in non-strict mode by default, thus allowing type forging while passing values to any function without explicit checks. 
  • CSPRNG Functions: It is a cryptographically secure pseudo-random number generator used to create secure and reliable random numbers to use for cryptographic purposes.  In version 7, PHP uses functions such as random_int and random_bytes. Random_bytes lets PHP developers pass a single argument, and rando_int lets developers pass two arguments. 
  • Better Error Handling: In the previous version of PHP, there was no proper support for error handling. Whenever a fatal error occurs, the whole script is stopped, and the production server shows a white screen to users. This harms credibility negatively. However, PHP 7 does not stop the whole script while encountering the error. It rather throws an exception whenever a fatal error occurs.
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Key Differences Between PHP 5 vs. PHP 7

It does not have the coalescing operator (??); developers need to write explicit code to return a default or null value and check the value to see if it is available or not. The coalescing operator is supported in PHP 7. This provides a concise syntax and convenience for handling null values.
It lacks a spaceship operator (<=>), due to which multiple operators need to be used to perform comparisons. With this improvement, a spaceship operator simplifies the comparisons and makes the code more expressive in PHP 7.
Due to the lack of scaler-type declarations, handling fatal errors in PHP 5 is quite challenging. Developers need to do a lot of manual checks and convert types within functions. PHP 7 error handling mechanism is better than PHP 5. It can convert some fatal errors into exceptions.
PHP 5 runs on Zend II, so its performance speed is quite slower than PHP 7. It runs on PHP Next Generation, also known as PHP-NG, which provides better performance with optimized memory usage.
It does not support the concept of an anonymous class. It uses an anonymous class to speed up the execution time.
Developers don’t need to declare the return type of a method or function. Developers can specify the return according to the expected return value.
It does not support 64-bit integers and large files. It comes with 64-bit support.
There is an individual declaration for common namespaces. It has a group use declaration. This gives developers the ability to include classes from the same namespace.
It lacks the built-in features of asynchronous programming. Developers need to use third-party libraries and tools to achieve this. PHP 7 supports this asynchronous programming style. Through which programmers can access databases and networking. Side by side, perform I/O operations.

PHP 5 vs. PHP 7: Which one to use in 2024?

PHP 7’s performance in terms of speed and connectivity is far better than PHP 5. Though PHP 5 coding is simpler than traditional coding, PHP 7 still outshines PHP 5 by providing developers with a much simpler and easier coding system. Even with error handling in PHP 5, the development process takes a longer time and becomes tedious. Whereas with PHP 7, handling fatal errors is efficient and smooth. You can even run other activities simultaneously. However, performing the same task with PHP 5 is difficult. Therefore, PHP 7 comes with tons of advanced features and capability options as compared to PHP 5. Additionally, its ability to tackle high traffic without exhausting much power and efficiently handle everyday activities makes it an ideal choice for businesses with e-commerce sites. If you aspire to be a PHP developer at an esteemed organization, then sign up for Olibr now.

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PHP 7’s improved performance and better error handling can make applications three times faster than those built using PHP 5. 

WordPress supports PHP versions 5.6.20, 7, and 8. The minimum version it supports is 5.2; however, after the release of WordPress 6.3, PHP 5 use has dropped drastically. 

PHP version 8.3, with the improvements in its features and updates, performs way better than any version of PHP. 

  • Object-oriented programming support 
  • Better SOAP implementations 
  • Enhanced XML extensions and MySQL extensions 

You can experience the advantages of high load capacity on your websites and applications. Incorporating an anonymous class is reminiscent of techniques used in C# and Java. Moreover, memory consumption decreases as execution efficiency improves, making it even more beneficial.

PHP’s full form is Hypertext Preprocessor, well-known for its server-side scripting capabilities and seamless database connectivity with various database management systems.

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