In other news over the weekend, Rasmus posted his personal wish list of features for PHP 6.0. Comments in the SitePoint Forums about the proposals have largely been positive, with some caveats. Web hosts are concerned about backward-compatibility problems, mentioning that the break in compatibility between version 4.x and 5.0 is already proving a great problem, whereas the backward compatibility break between 5.x and 6.0 is set to be even greater.
Something that I have been very keen to see in PHP for a long time is proper support for character encodings including UTF-8. Currently, PHP has no internal Unicode support, though conversions can be done with the mbstring extension (sadly not enabled by default) or external tools like iconv. Writing a Web application that uses UTF-8 for its content can be difficult due to PHP’s assumption that all characters are one byte.
The php.general post itself contains the wish list, and its replies contain even more information and suggestions. Among the suggestions are a complete removal of register_globals and magic quotes – which, as you can probably guess, I think is a terrific idea. I am not as sure about his third suggestion, which involves some sort of input filter for get, post and cookie variables, as it reminds me a little of magic_quotes_gpc. However, the suggestions are very much hypothetical at this very early stage and shouldn’t be seen as an official indication of what PHP is working towards.
Head over to our forums to see further discussion about the wish list.