The much awaited update of PHP has been released last week. The new PHP 5.3 version is a major update that came in after 2 years and many of the planned features for PHP 6 have been backported in this release. As with any other major PHP releases, this version includes a number of enhancements and bug fixes. The PHP development team has also streamlined the language so that applications can be built faster and easier.
One of the most notable features is the support of namespaces. A namespace is a way of identifying and organizing variables, classes and other items into groups. This allows developers to write cleaner codes with unique naming conventions. PHP 5.3 also introduces a new MySQL library called MySQLInd. This new library optimizes MySQL performance and memory management making database operations faster.
This update will certainly help PHP to keep up with the fierce challenges from other programming languages like Ruby on Rails, .NET and Java. According to the monthly index of popular programming languages, PHP popularity amongst developers is slowly declining while Ruby on Rails is enjoying a steady increase. What is surprising though is that a lot of developers are still developing for PHP 4 and not taking full advantages of new features available in PHP 5.x series. Which version of PHP are you developing for? Will you consider upgrading to PHP 5.3.0?