PHP 5.3 Is Released

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Eagerly anticipated, pretty much a whole new version even though its numerically a tiny increase - the features being released in this update are largely features that were originally scheduled for PHP version 6.

Some of the key new features include: namespaces, late static binding, closures, optional garbage collection for cyclic references, new extensions (like ext/phar, ext/intl and ext/fileinfo), over 140 bug fixes and much more.

Powerful new language features include namespaces (a higher level way of defining scope - allowing for larger and more complex applications), late static binding (more esoteric object oriented language feature), closures (allowing functions to be assigned to variables - familiar to javascript developers but a nice new powerful feature for PHP developers).

The release also includes some cool new extensions like Phar (very similar in principle to a Java Jar) allowing an entire PHP app to be distributed and run as a single file.

Most of these features won’t really affect the average webmaster until apps turn up that take advantage of these new features. Along with these cool new features however, PHP 5.3 brings some solid performance improvements that will benefit all webmasters.

It’s great to see PHP maturing and growing as a language and this new release is really more power to my elbow as a PHP developer and that has to be a good thing!