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  1. #1
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    PHP's hope for the future?

    Hi all,

    I just stopped by John Lim's site and was pretty shocked really by the comments made by Derick on the ongoing issue of BC-breaking reference handling (great site, btw):

    http://phplens.com/phpeverywhere/?q=node/view/214

    I mean, what hope does PHP have for the future when you have comments like that from internal developers? What is happening to the PHP we know and love? I completely agree with what John was saying on his site, all this leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth about the direction PHP is heading, not so much the language itself, but how they are handling such critical issues that affect many, many developers, particularly the "serious" developers that you find in here.

    I am finding now that I am beginning to question whether or not I want to commit myself to sticking with PHP (in particular, PHP5). Perhaps this will all blow over, but like many of you, I now have legacy PHP4 code in place that *breaks* under PHP 4.4.0 and above due to the reference handling changes (yes, it breaks for some reason, so disabling errors is not going to help). Like many of you, I used references heavily for "serious" OO, i.e. to avoid passing copies of objects around. Now, I get *hundreds* of notice errors logged per page refresh, plus the code breaks.

    I don't know, I just can't help but feel that all of this could have been handled a LOT better by the powers-at-be over at PHP. I don't *want* to give up on PHP, and I'm looking forward to getting my hands dirty with some serious OO coding in PHP5 (only really been dabbling so far). But as lastcraft and others have been saying, what if something else like this happens in the future (i.e. a critical change to PHP internals)?

    Your opinions?

    Cheers,

    {R}

  2. #2
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    I think every language has to evolve inorder to become better at the end. Sometimes in evolution, parts may have to be replaced or changed for a better result and thus breaking some backwards compatibility.

    If it becomes a very serious issue, i'm sure they'll fix it in an update or something. You have to remember, PHP is opensource, you will not get the committment to backwards compatibility and whatnot like you would from a company like Sun or even Macromedia.

    Last i read, referencing is automatic now in php5 or its supposed to be. (i've been writing without references for the past week)

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by sybersnake
    I think every language has to evolve inorder to become better at the end. Sometimes in evolution, parts may have to be replaced or changed for a better result and thus breaking some backwards compatibility.
    Yes, and I can understand and accept this happening between, say, PHP4 and PHP5, but between 4.3 and 4.4? That's a pretty small jump to have such a major BC issue, IMHO.

    Quote Originally Posted by sybersnake
    If it becomes a very serious issue, i'm sure they'll fix it in an update or something. You have to remember, PHP is opensource, you will not get the committment to backwards compatibility and whatnot like you would from a company like Sun or even Macromedia.
    Well that's the thing, it doesn't seem like it will change now. Their attitude seems to be "if you get these breaks/notices, you are writing bad code, fix it, it's not our problem" for this issue, even though the coding methods we've been using have been legal for years now. It's even worse for those doing hardcore OO in PHP4, because we use references everywhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by sybersnake
    Last i read, referencing is automatic now in php5 or its supposed to be. (i've been writing without references for the past week)
    Yes, and this is fine... OO in PHP5 feels much nicer, no need for silly references most of the time as objects are always passed around by reference. But it still leaves many of us with a large base of PHP4 code that will need modification if it's to work correctly on future PHP4 releases. 4.3.x is now a dead branch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by {RainmakeR}
    Yes, and I can understand and accept this happening between, say, PHP4 and PHP5, but between 4.3 and 4.4? That's a pretty small jump to have such a major BC issue, IMHO.
    I didn't know it was a jump from 4.3 to 4.4, i'll have to look more into it later.

  5. #5
    simple tester McGruff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by {RainmakeR}
    I just stopped by John Lim's site and was pretty shocked really by the comments made by Derick on the ongoing issue of BC-breaking reference handling
    It's incredible isn't it?

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    SitePoint Evangelist ghurtado's Avatar
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    This is terrible. How can this be happening to the most widespread server-side language of all times? This is the kind of behaviour we are relying upon for our system-critical enterprise systems:
    Instead of ranting about things, like Pierre is so incredibly good in, you should try to understand the engine instead. Then you see exactly what the problems are. If you don't want to spend time on that, then just stfu, okay?
    I hope the pundits who claimed not long ago that the issue of the attitude of the internal developers was being blown out of proportion come out once again and explain to us how this is not a big deal, because I just fail to see this as anything but disastrous for the future of PHP.

    I , like many others on these forums, am beginning to consider other platform choices because of problems like these. Ruby looks yummier and yummier by the minute.
    Garcia

  7. #7
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    I think what you're arguing makes perfect sense. I agree that on a dot release, code shouldn't get broke.

    I have worked on PHP since 3 but not straight. I have also worked in ASP and some Java. I almost consider PHP4 and PHP5 different languages and I think that's the only way to think about it. PHP5 is like C#. A new language to tackle new problems. That's why I ask such dumb questions about it - I'm just trying to figure out best practices for a large application.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Guru dagfinn's Avatar
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    As I see it, the biggest problem with "just fix your code" is that it's extremely hard to do when we depend on code others have written. If I'm using PHP code from five or six open-source projects, am I supposed to fix all of them? Am I supposed to get the people on those projects to do it? What if it's a stable and useful package that no one is actively developing any more?
    Dagfinn Reiersøl
    PHP in Action / Blog / Twitter
    "Making the impossible possible, the possible easy,
    and the easy elegant"
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    SitePoint Evangelist ghurtado's Avatar
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    Like phpMyAdmin, raise your hand if you rely on it every day! (me)
    Garcia

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    It seems to me that this whole situation has demonstrated that the PHP develpers have no idea how to relate to the community. They believe we owe them something.

    It also demonstrates that they don't know how to maintain their own product. Their way of fixing a bug is to just throw an error and make us fix it for them.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Guru dagfinn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OzRoy
    It seems to me that this whole situation has demonstrated that the PHP develpers have no idea how to relate to the community. They believe we owe them something.
    There's a pecking order, and we're lowest.
    Dagfinn Reiersøl
    PHP in Action / Blog / Twitter
    "Making the impossible possible, the possible easy,
    and the easy elegant"
    -- Moshe Feldenkrais

  12. #12
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    What is the pecking order? Those that pay the bills (Zend)? Those who give Zend money?

    Being someone who's livelihood depends on PHP, and who works for a company that has a several million dollar turnover solely based on PHP products, this kind of thing makes my stomach lurch.

  13. #13
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    They believe we owe them something.
    The community in that case, doesn't owe us developers nothing. Not one thing. That I can understand fully and yes, respect that as well. What I can't understand is, and this folks, is the crux of the matter, is that other developers expect the community to help them.

    That help may come in a variety of proposals, such as bug fixes for example? For Gods sake, it's a community, not a business we have here. As to the future of PHP, well I can tell you that there is a future for PHP in one form or another.

    For you to be part of that future is entirely upto yourself. Honestly folks, if your not happy using PHP, and if you cannot adapt to the changes that are happening around you, then move on.

    We have a technology here (PHP) that is boundless. Boundless you hear, if you've got any kind of sense, you'll take advantage of that fact, instead of complaining all the time about how this doesn't work, or that doesn't work.

    Anyways, rant over.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard DougBTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Livingston
    Honestly folks, if your not happy using PHP, and if you cannot adapt to the changes that are happening around you, then move on.
    Moving on my be the best way to adapt to the changes.

    Douglas
    Last edited by DougBTX; Sep 15, 2005 at 03:14.
    Hello World

  15. #15
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    PHP's hope for the future, crossed fingers ?

    Damn derick, quote
    Feel free to fix the whole engine though with a patch...
    Not a problem mate, heres the patch remove php, install python or ruby
    As for your source code, there is no source code.
    python.org/
    www.ruby-lang.org/

    Derick was it the MySql/Sco merger that dragged you down ?
    Or just a bad day at the office ?
    David Stevens, create-inspire
    PHP London, www.phplondon.org

  16. #16
    SitePoint Guru dagfinn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Livingston
    For you to be part of that future is entirely upto yourself. Honestly folks, if your not happy using PHP, and if you cannot adapt to the changes that are happening around you, then move on.
    I won't. It's not that much of a problem for me personally. But I am very much concerned about the caliber of the people who seem inclined to do so. Marcus in particular. And I'm surprised that you don't see that.

    I'm also concerned about the effects on the quality of the PHP language when bug reporting is handled as badly as it seems to be.
    Dagfinn Reiersøl
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    "Making the impossible possible, the possible easy,
    and the easy elegant"
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  17. #17
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    But I am very much concerned about the caliber of the people who seem inclined to do so. Marcus in particular. And I'm surprised that you don't see that.
    Yes, well I do see that. Yes folks, there are issues, and yes some people are going to be effected by them, but to start to slag off (basically) PHP and the people who had the insight to develop the technology (PHP) to begin with is in my view, completely and utter disrespectful to those people, the community who continuely do their best to support PHP.

    A lot of people, have made a lot of money (hard cash) from PHP, and thus in my view, people should have more respect. Is that asking too much huh?

    As to Marcus, full respect to the man, but Marcus is but one person. Sure, he carries some influence around these forums, and so do a lot of other people. For one, I don't develop PHP or not based on what Marcus and others have said in these forums.

    I take an adjective take on what Marcus posts on these forums, ie What people post to these forums, the people have their own ulterior motives for example. Today, for example, my ulterior motive is to defend PHP, as it appears that there are very few of us on these forums who are prepared to do so.

    Which in my view, is not only a disappointment, but two faced, since people on these forums are developing with PHP in the first place. And then they slag it off because of a slight bump in the road

    Again, rant over.

  18. #18
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    I'm far from slagging off PHP; I've too much invested in it to do so. And I'm not naive enough to think that just because of a major hiccup, and a few comments by a developer, that PHP isn't worth that investment. But I am concerned that someone on the inside has such an abrupt attitude about something that affects just about every large scale application... of which there's a hell of a lot of money invested in by so many different parties.

  19. #19
    SitePoint Evangelist ghurtado's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Livingston
    ... but to start to slag off (basically) PHP and the people who had the insight to develop the technology (PHP) to begin with is in my view, completely and utter disrespectful to those people,
    You are not following the plot very well. It is not the creators of the language, to whom we are all grateful to, that the issue is had with. It is but a small handful of core developers that have the immense power to ruin it for everyone with thick-minded decisions and a poor attitude. For all we know it may just be only one person. I certainly don't owe them anything. If I decided to become a code PHP developer tomorrow I wouldn't expect any such respect or reverence, but rather I would listen to direction from the community before making wide-ranging decisions. It is just another job, the fact that you don't get paid when you do it doesn't turn you into a semi-god.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Livingston
    As to Marcus, full respect to the man, but Marcus is but one person. Sure, he carries some influence around these forums, and so do a lot of other people.
    A lot of influence, indeed. But that's missing the point. The point is that when developers of his caliber (or McGruff's, or Jason's, the list goes on...) begin to raise the issue about something like this, then it is more than likely something worth considering. So you see, its not "just one person" it is a large number of them, including myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Livingston
    For one, I don't develop PHP or not based on what Marcus and others have said in these forums.
    If none of what is said in these forums influences your programming style or habits, what do you come here for? Are you saying that, in your life as a programmer, these forums where you have posted thousands of messages have no influence in your style, habits or good practises?


    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Livingston
    Today, for example, my ulterior motive is to defend PHP, as it appears that there are very few of us on these forums who are prepared to do so.
    That is very shortsigthed to be honest. This thread was in fact started because a lot of people care and are concerned about the future of PHP. How can you claim that if you point out when something is taking a turn for the worst because you care about its future is akin to attack it? If your best friend started doing heavy hardcore drugs, or committing horrible crimes, would you be "prepared to defend him"? Or would you do what's best for him and confront him about the wrong in his ways?
    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Jefferson
    Dissent is the highest form of Patriotism
    Garcia

  20. #20
    SitePoint Zealot swiftone's Avatar
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    WOW!
    That's all I can say. I am dumbfounded.
    Happy Coding,
    Swiftone

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  21. #21
    SitePoint Guru dagfinn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Livingston
    A lot of people, have made a lot of money (hard cash) from PHP, and thus in my view, people should have more respect. Is that asking too much huh?
    What exactly is so disrespectful? I don't see disrespect, not in this forum at least. I see critcism, sometimes harsh, and I see the same thing from you and a few others in the opposite direction. Some have come dangerously close to portraying me and others as lazy whiners, but I can live with that.

    It seems to me there is demand for unilateral and exaggerated "respect" which is part of the mindset that is perpetuating these problems. Mutal respect and giving everyone the benefit of the doubt is what we need.
    Dagfinn Reiersøl
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    and the easy elegant"
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  22. #22
    SitePoint Wizard DougBTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dagfinn
    What exactly is so disrespectful?
    I think calling people "cowboy developers" is disrespectful, I've heard that a couple of times. Whether true or not, you can't say it is showing respect. Quite a few of the comments seem to be with loosing respect with people due to their attitudes.

    Douglas
    Hello World

  23. #23
    SitePoint Enthusiast siteartwork's Avatar
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    > But I am concerned that someone on the inside has such an abrupt attitude about
    > something that affects just about every large scale application


    Right. This is exactly what I was thinking first when I read through the reply of Derick. It's not a tragedy, but face the fact: Derick represents the "php internals", and giving a statement like this is like a slap in the face to the community that has given PHP the chance to rise and become the worldwide most used Server scripting language.
    This statement is unacceptable IMHO, and I hope that this Derick guy was just in a bad mood or had some trouble elsewhere, this would maybe excuse it.
    I don't want to develop in a language where the core developers tell me that I have to accept anything they say and to stfu if I'm not pleased with the way things are going. This is unacceptable in a closed source language like Java, and it's even more unacceptable for an OS language, where the core developers get their benefits through the people who are using their product and participate in the development process.
    I hope this is not the general attitude of the core developers of PHP, but in conjunction with the "submitting bugs to php internals"-topic it does not let them shine.

  24. #24
    SitePoint Guru dagfinn's Avatar
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    Another question which I'm not particularly qualified to pose but somebody should ask it: how will hosting companies react? I'm not using them, so I don't have the experience, but the first one I find in a quick Web search says:
    We can convert your entire webspace to PHP5 or you may optionally have PHP4 + PHP5 support in the same webspace. (Files with the .php extension are processed by PHP4 while .php5 files are processed by PHP5)
    That's logical because PHP 5 breaks BC. What will they do about 4.4?
    Dagfinn Reiersøl
    PHP in Action / Blog / Twitter
    "Making the impossible possible, the possible easy,
    and the easy elegant"
    -- Moshe Feldenkrais

  25. #25
    SitePoint Enthusiast siteartwork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dagfinn
    Another question which I'm not particularly qualified to pose but somebody should ask it: how will hosting companies react? I'm not using them, so I don't have the experience, but the first one I find in a quick Web search says:

    That's logical because PHP 5 breaks BC. What will they do about 4.4?

    Well, they will tell their users to turn off error_reporting for E_NOTICE or rant about it like we do, what else could they do?

    They could also stop supporting the PHP4.4 branch and tell their users to start thinking in PHP5 which
    <conspiracy>
    would make things a lot easier for the PHP core developers
    </conspiracy>


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