December 21, 2022

PHP Trends to Watch in 2023

State of PHP
PHP Development

With 2023 right around the corner, PHP teams around the world are thinking about how they will accomplish their key projects in the new year. But, as veteran PHP teams know, things can change quickly in the PHP space – making it imperative to stay up to date on the latest PHP trends that will impact their teams and businesses. 

In this blog, we give a rundown of some of the top moments of 2022, and the 2023 PHP trends we expect to see shape the PHP world.

Reviewing the Top Moments for PHP in 2022

From the creation of the new PHP Foundation, to end of life for the last PHP 7 version, 2022 was a big year for PHP. Here are three of our top moments.

The PHP Foundation Bears Fruit

Announced in November of 2021, The PHP Foundation hit full swing in 2022. In its first year, the PHP Foundation received over $580,000 in donations, with 1400 people and organizations donating to the new foundation. 

As Roman Pronskiy noted in a November 2022 update, starting in April, 2022, the Foundation began payment for 6 part-time developers who have since made “nearly half of the commits to PHP language core and extensions.” 

See how Zend contributes to the PHP Foundation >> 

PHP 7.4 Reaches End of Life

In November 2022, the terminal release for PHP 7.x, PHP 7.4, reached end of life. As with most end of generation releases, PHP 7.4 is still widely used in production applications – despite the lack of availability for community CVE patches and bug fixes. 

PHP 8.2.0 Reaches General Availability 

While it was a week later than expected, PHP 8.2.0 reached general availability on December 8, 2022. As we covered in our recent blog on the PHP 8.2 release, PHP 8.2 added a nice assortment of improvements, including readonly classes, a new RNG, DNF types, Sensitive Parameter value redaction, and many other features. 

As discussed in our recent webinar, there are some big trends and events to watch in the PHP world in 2023, including new PHP social media communities, new features and releases for PHP, and the continuation of security as a top concern for teams developing and maintain PHP-based applications. 

The Emergence of New PHP Social Media Communities

While this might not be a big trend to watch for businesses, for members of the PHP community, finding spaces to talk about their work is important. For a variety of reasons, events on Twitter have driven many within the PHP development community to seek out new places to do just that. One of those places is https://phpc.social, a “Mastodon server that connects the PHP community and friends on Mastodon and the greater Fediverse.”

Already boasting 83 financial supporters (including Zend) and thousands of active users, we expect to see phpc.social and places like it thrive in 2023.

New PHP Features and Releases

2023 will mark PHP 8.0 end of life, as well as the general release of PHP 8.3. While PHP 8.0 end of life won’t be nearly as impactful as PHP 7.4 end of life, for folks that did migrate to 8.0, upgrading to 8.2 or 8.3 may be more difficult than expected.

While PHP 8.3 has yet to have an alpha release at the time of this writing, there are a few expected notable features and improvements for the release, including json_validate, improved unserialize() error handling, randomizer add-ons, and more. Stay tuned to our blog for a preview of 8.3 once it reaches the expected feature freeze / beta in July.

PHP Security Challenges

PHP security continues to be top of mind for many organizations. However, according to early results from our 2023 PHP Landscape Survey, it’s clear that there are many organizations that are on end of life PHP and have no immediate plans to migrate to supported versions. With the recent end of life for the highly-adopted PHP 7.4, we expect to see CVEs for PHP 7.4 outpace previous end of life releases. 

As discussed in our recent webinar, teams are finding it harder to keep their code bases on supported PHP versions due to the relatively rapid release and end of life cadence for PHP versions. While it’s possible there may be movement in this area in 2023, it’s not something we would recommend betting the security of your application on.

PHP isn’t the only area of web application infrastructure that teams will need to keep an eye on, either. In fact, we expect to see legislation like the Securing Open Source Software Act force organizations to pay more attention to the security of the software they deploy – especially if they operate in regulated industries.

PHP Developer Shortages 

Despite layoffs at high-profile tech companies, the demand for PHP developers continues to grow. As noted in our recent webinar, this is especially true for senior-level PHP talent. For companies with staffing shortages, they may find themselves either dialing back their initiatives, or spending more money than expected to attract senior talent.  

For companies who can’t scale back expectations and don’t have the ability to attract that top level of talent, working with outside vendors to supplement their existing staff will be critical to maintaining security and performance of their systems.

Final Thoughts

2023 is shaping up to be yet another big year for PHP – both as a community and as a language. But it will also bring newfound hardships for teams who aren’t prepared to face the reality of an ultra-competitive job market, and especially those who don’t have the headcount needed to keep their PHP-based applications secure and performant.

Need Support for Your PHP Plans?

Zend can help. With a variety of PHP LTS offerings and professional services, your team can go into the new year confident in reaching your goals. Talk to an expert today to learn more about what we can offer your team.

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