Exploring App Development Opportunities: Shopify, Wix, Amazon, and Atlassian
Exploring App Development Opportunities: Shopify, Wix, Amazon, and Atlassian

Exploring PHP 8: Features, Benefits, and Considerations


PHP 8, released in November 2020, has taken the web development world by storm. As one of the most popular programming languages globally, PHP has evolved to meet the demands of modern applications, including large-scale enterprise systems, web services, microservices, and cloud-based applications. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the myriad features and changes introduced in PHP 8, discuss its potential benefits, and explore essential considerations before upgrading.

Upgrading to PHP 8

Could We Upgrade to PHP 8 Straight Away?

Before diving into PHP 8, it’s crucial to assess the feasibility of an immediate upgrade. Compatibility is paramount, so a thorough evaluation of your existing codebase is necessary. The migration guide can provide quick answers to compatibility questions. Additionally, scrutinize deprecated features and check dependencies in composer.json for PHP 8 support.

Don’t Update Without Proper Testing

Testing is the linchpin of a successful PHP 8 transition. Rigorous regression testing ensures that new features work seamlessly within your current application version. It’s an opportunity to identify and rectify any newly emerged bugs promptly. Only after thorough testing should you consider deploying the new version to your production environment.

PHP 8 and Its Breaking Changes

Union Types

PHP 8 introduces Union Types, a significant stride in enhancing type declarations. Previously, you could specify only one data type for properties, parameters, and return types. Union Types allow you to declare a collection of variables with different data types, enhancing code flexibility.

Just In Time Compilation (JIT)

JIT, a groundbreaking feature in PHP 8, enables Just-In-Time compilation of code during runtime. It offers substantial performance gains by compiling code into native machine code, making complex web applications and mobile apps more efficient.

Named Arguments

PHP 8 introduces Named Arguments, which let you specify argument names in method signatures. This improves code readability and allows for flexible argument ordering while maintaining backward compatibility.

Match Expressions

Match Expressions in PHP 8 replace previous expression matching mechanisms. They are compiled to native opcodes, enhancing performance and making code more efficient, especially for large expressions.


Attributes are a notable addition in PHP 8. They decorate methods and functions, adding metadata to improve code readability and understanding. Attributes can define a function’s purpose, parameters, and more.

Constructor Property Promotion

Constructor Property Promotion simplifies property getter and setter methods, making them optional. In PHP 8, methods within a class can access properties without requiring the public keyword.

Nullsafe Operator

The Nullsafe Operator is a significant improvement that prevents Null Reference Exceptions. It streamlines code by allowing a chain of calls without the need for extensive null checks, greatly improving code readability and efficiency.

Weak Maps

Weak Maps are a memory-efficient feature that allows data association with keys, releasing memory when keys are no longer in use. This feature is particularly useful for long-running processes and preventing memory leaks.

Saner String to Number Comparisons

PHP 8 introduces improvements in string-to-number comparisons, making comparisons between strings and numbers more consistent and predictable.

Consistent Type Errors for Internal Functions

In PHP 8, internal functions now consistently throw TypeErrors, making error messages more informative and easier to understand.

New Functions, Classes, and Interfaces in PHP 8

PHP 8 introduces a range of new functions, classes, and interfaces to enhance your development experience. Some notable additions include:


str_contains() allows you to check if a string contains a specific substring, enhancing string manipulation.

str_starts_with() and str_ends_with()

These functions determine whether a string starts or ends with a specified substring, improving string handling.


preg_last_error_msg() provides informative error messages for regular expression functions, aiding debugging.


get_debug_type() offers enhanced type information, providing more accurate type names.


get_resource_id() simplifies retrieving resource IDs, enhancing resource management.

Stringable Interface

The Stringable interface simplifies implementing the __toString() method, making code more self-documenting and robust.

Deprecated Features in PHP 8

As PHP 8 introduces new features, it also bids farewell to deprecated ones. These features have been deprecated and should be avoided in PHP 8:


The $php_errormsg variable, which stored the last error message, is deprecated. Instead, use error_get_last() to retrieve error messages.


create_function(), used to create anonymous functions, is deprecated due to security and performance concerns. Replace it with native anonymous functions.


The second parameter of parse_str() is deprecated from PHP 7.2 onwards, so it’s advisable to avoid its use.


gmp_random() is deprecated, and alternatives like gmp_random_bits() or gmp_random_range() should be used in PHP 8.


The each() function, used with list() to traverse arrays, is deprecated and should not be used in PHP 8.

$errcontext() Argument of Error Handler

The $errcontext argument in error handlers is deprecated from PHP 7.2 and has been removed in PHP 8.


PHP 8 brings substantial improvements, performance enhancements, and exciting new features to the table. While it ushers in a new era of web development, it’s crucial to approach the transition with careful planning, thorough testing, and an understanding of the breaking changes and deprecated features. By embracing PHP 8’s capabilities and adhering to best practices, you can ensure a smooth and productive development experience for your projects. Explore the official documentation and embark on your journey to leverage the power of PHP 8 in your applications.

© 2013 - 2024 Foreignerds. All Rights Reserved