Benefits of updating to PHP 8.1 for your website

PHP 8.1 is finally here – loaded with new features and updates. Let’s walk through the benefits of PHP 8.1 for web development in Melbourne.

by Natko Radmilovic - Art Director
Benefits of updating to PHP 8.1 for your website

Benefits of updating to PHP 8.1 for your website

The latest version of PHP (Hypertext preprocessor) is finally live. The new PHP 8.1 is now loaded with several exciting features, performance improvements, better syntax and much more. Here’s everything you need to know about PHP 8.1 and how it is going to influence web design and development.

What’s new in PHP 8.1?

For most web developers and business owners, PHP needs no introduction. Around 77.5% of all websites use PHP, including Facebook, WordPress and Slack. It is a free-to-use general-purpose scripting language for web development.

What makes PHP popular is that it uses a simple syntax and suits all major operating systems. You can easily embed it into HTML to build user-friendly, interactive and dynamic web pages. This programming language is often used as a part of a web development tech stack called LAMP.

Top features of the latest PHP version

To make website development more secure, faster and compatible with third-party services, web developers can take advantage of PHP 8.1. The new version has rolled out a list of features that will keep you ahead of the competition for years to come. Here are some key features that you might want to ponder upon.

1. Enumerations

One of the most anticipated features in PHP 8.1 is Enumerations or Enums that are a predefined number of possible values. Despite them representing a collection of constant values, you can now type these values manually as well. Like Classes, Enums can define methods in a program and are combined with the match operator.


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2. Read-only properties 

PHP has now introduced read-only properties to avoid any errors while forming Classes. They should be assigned from the declared scope and can only be initialised once for a Class. Once initialized, these properties can’t be undone. Also, the Class will return with the same value every time it is called. This is because the class is a read-only property. 

Read-only properties

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3. Pure intersection types 

Web developers can now use pure intersection types that require a value to appear for multiple type constraints at the same time. This is quite similar to union types from the earlier version. The key difference is that with intersections, the input should be of all the specified types. This makes it an effective feature when working with multiple interfaces. 

Pure intersection types

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4. First Class callable syntax 

With the help of strings and arrays, PHP introduces a new feature named first Class callable syntax. This feature helps web developers overwrite any pre-existing encoding. It is also accessible by static analysis tools and allows you to get a reference to any function in the program. More or less, this feature is a way of creating anonymous functions from the callable and has the same semantics as Closure. Please note that this feature won’t be used with the null safe operator – as this might result in a compile-time error. 

First Class callable syntax

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5. New in initializers 

With a minor update, PHP introduces initializers that are a state of a Class – allowing Web developers to create a Class with and without an initial state. This initial state may be a new expression allowed in attribute arguments, parameter default values, static variable initializers and global class constant initializers. It is a great feature for places that use Dependency Injection and results in a much cleaner and leaner code – saving a lot of time and coding.

New in initializers

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6. Fibres 

These are blocks of codes that can be called back to resume at any given point in the stack. They are primitives to help you implement lightweight cooperative concurrency and offer play and pause-like functionality to share the same API. As a result, Fibres can eliminate the requirement for the rather unpopular boilerplate codes. It is expected that businesses will use Fibres to build libraries that don’t require any interactions with boilerplate codes. 


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Summing up

Ready to update your website to PHP 8.1? We recommend that use the latest PHP version with WordPress versions 5.6 and higher. It is the official recommendation of WordPress and will result in maximum security, compatibility and better performance of your website. To get started, get in touch with an experienced team of website developers in Melbourne.

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