Main image of article 4 Things Making Life Easier for PHP Developers
Though some developers have walked away from PHP and aren't looking back, InfoWorld's Serdar Yegulalp notes that the last several years have seen changes that make the PHP world a more pleasant place to be. He thinks these four are the most important: Click here to see PHP-related jobs.

Package Management

Rather than depend on the notably difficult PEAR (PHP Extension and Application Repository) for package management, you can now use Composer, which tracks packages on a project-by-project basis, making it easier to figure out which ones you need. It works with the repository Packagist, which comes with a number of PHP apps, frameworks and components.

Hack and HipHop Virtual Machine

The Hack language adds features like static object typing to PHP. HipHop Virtual Machine, or HHVM, increases performance by compiling PHP code to C++ code. Both come from Facebook and "show at least one major Web player takes PHP seriously enough to keep it alive as its platform of choice," Yegulalp writes.


The PHP Framework Interop Group--PHP-FIG, for short--is an unofficial group working on standards to encourage consistent approaches to development. Including developers from CakePHP, Drupal, Joomla and SugarCRM, the group has already drafted standards on coding style guides, logging-library interfaces and automatic loading of classes.

The Phpng Project

PHP's development branch includes improvements to the memory needed for certain operations and the machine instructions used to complete certain actions. "Granted, most of those improvements involve goosing performance rather than changing the much-derided syntactical idiosyncrasies of the language, which unfortunately seem here to stay," Yegulalp says. "Maybe the next big revolution in PHP won't be a full-blown fork along the lines of Hack, but a transpiled language similar to those that extend JavaScript while at the same time compiling natively."

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