5 New Features & Changes of PHP 8.1 that PHP developer should know

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    PHP is a prevalent server scripting language that developers are using all across the globe to create dynamic and responsive web pages. The growing competition and increasing internet penetration have pushed the professional world towards using languages like PHP to create their own digital identity. The ever-growing use has made PHP the most popular language for programming across the globe in the year 2021. As a result, the demand for a PHP developer has spiked in the market also in PHP Web Development Company. As a result, companies can easily hire PHP developers and create their web identities. 

    PHP keeps releasing updates and new releases to make the programming language more robust, secure, and error-free. New releases come with new security updates and bug fixes. It has been a constant process. PHP 8.1 is the latest PHP release released in November 2021. It is a minor version of the language. The release has different language features along with improvements in features and performance. Let us have a look at some of the recently introduced features.

    New features of PHP 8.1

    1. Enums

    We cannot start without talking about enumerations. The PHP team studied the implementation of enums in different languages to understand their ways of implementation. The enums can be used in three categories: Fancy Constants, Full Algebra Data types, and Fancy Objects, wherein the last one has been added to the list of new features in PHP 8.1. Therefore, the PHP developers can be excited as the future will see further implementations of enums, including Full Algebraic Data Type. 

    2. The 'never' Return Type

    We now have the 'never' return type in PHP, which will be used as an indicator of program termination after a set of tasks is performed. It is similar to the 'void' return type, except for its continuation after completing the tasks. 

    3. Fibers

    The latest release has support for fibers for concurrent code execution. Fibers are one of the best solutions for handling parallelism and fastening code execution. The PHP developers can now use it for asynchronous execution and managing the execution stack efficiently. 

    4. The 'readonly' property

    'readonly' is the new class property added to PHP in the 8.1 release. The developers have to initialize this property once. After that, they can continue getting the same value on calling the 'readonly' property. While this property holds the same object, the object can change. 

    5. 'final' Class Constants

    The support for the final Class Constant has been added in PHP. Subclasses cannot override this class. Developers can note that they cannot use it as a private constant since they cannot access it from outside the class. 

    These are some of the new features in PHP 8.1. Other prominent new features include support for AVIF image format, explicit octal numeral notification, Inheritance cache to improve performance, and many functions.

    Let's come down to some of the changes in PHP 8.1.

    1. readline extension

    This extension can be used to activate interactive shell features. For example, the interactive shell could be opened without using the readline extension, but the interactive features of the shell did not work. In this release, you will get an error message if the readline extension is not enabled. 

    2. CSV writing functions with customized line endings

    Unlike the earlier implementation where CSV writing functions were hard coded to add a line-feed character at the end of the line, PHP 8.1 has a new parameter that the developers can use to pass an end-of-line character configurable. 

    3. ENT_QUOTES | ENT_SUBSTITUTE for encoding and decoding functions

    It is a great move to use HTML entities in any document. The difficulties of using single quote characters in the document and converting them into HTML identity get solved with these new changes. PHP 8.1 changes for HTML encoding and decoding functions ensure that single quote characters are also converted to the HTML entity. 

    4. LDAP resources migration

    The Lightweight Directory Access Protocol is used in PHP to access Directory Servers. The LDAP extension that returned resource objects has been migrated to new class instances details, which can be easily found on the respective GitHub page. 

    There are many other changes and improvements in PHP 8.1, including warnings for illegal compact function calls and new restrictions for the version_compare operator. 

    PHP has evolved as a language, and each release has something new to offer. Every version is possibly better than its predecessor in terms of performance. The PHP community is growing daily, and the language is getting more exciting. You can hire a PHP developer today to avail all the new features and create a robust, scalable, and responsive web page as your digital identity.


    About Author

    Manektech Team

    Ruchir Pandya

    Delivery Head of Web

    Ruchir Pandya is a seasoned software and business professional with over 15 years of experience in IT, Software Development, and operations. As the overseer of the Open-Source Web department (PHP Department), he takes charge of development and operations.

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