PHP 8 Release out With a Host of New Features And Optimizations

PHP 8 Release

The PHP development team announced the release of PHP 8 which has been the much-awaited version of the popular open-source and cross-platform web programming language

PHP 8.0 is the latest major update of the PHP language. It comes many new features and optimizations over preceding versions. These include named arguments, union types, attributes, constructor property promotion, match expression, nullsafe operator, Just In Time Compilation (JIT), and improvements in the type system, error handling, and consistency.

Here are Some Comparisons of PHP 8 Release Vs PHP 7.

PHP 8 Named Arguments

// PHP 7
htmlspecialchars($string, ENT_COMPAT | ENT_HTML401, 'UTF-8', false);

// PHP 8
// You can specify only required parameters, skipping optional ones, they order-independent and self-documented.
htmlspecialchars($string, double_encode: false);

PHP 8 Union Types

Instead of PHPDoc annotations for a combination of types, you can use native union type declarations that are validated at runtime.

// PHP 7
class Number {
  /** @var int|float */
  private $number;

  /**
   * @param float|int $number
   */
  public function __construct($number) {
    $this->number = $number;
  }
}

new Number('NaN'); // Ok

// PHP 8
class Number {
  public function __construct(
    private int|float $number
  ) {}
}

new Number('NaN'); // TypeError

PHP 8 Attributes

Instead of PHPDoc annotations, you can now use structured metadata with PHP’s native syntax.

// PHP 7
class PostsController
{
    /**
     * @Route("/api/posts/{id}", methods={"GET"})
     */
    public function get($id) { /* ... */ }
}

// PHP 8
class PostsController
{
    #[Route("/api/posts/{id}", methods: ["GET"])]
    public function get($id) { /* ... */ }
}

PHP 8 Constructor Property Promotion

Less boilerplate code to define and initialize properties.

// PHP 7
class Point {
  public float $x;
  public float $y;
  public float $z;

  public function __construct(
    float $x = 0.0,
    float $y = 0.0,
    float $z = 0.0,
  ) {
    $this->x = $x;
    $this->y = $y;
    $this->z = $z;
  }
}

// PHP 8
class Point {
  public function __construct(
    public float $x = 0.0,
    public float $y = 0.0,
    public float $z = 0.0,
  ) {}
}

PHP 8 Nullsafe operator

Instead of null check conditions, you can now use a chain of calls with the new nullsafe operator. When the evaluation of one element in the chain fails, the execution of the entire chain aborts and the entire chain evaluates to null.

// PHP 7
$country =  null;

if ($session !== null) {
  $user = $session->user;

  if ($user !== null) {
    $address = $user->getAddress();

    if ($address !== null) {
      $country = $address->country;
    }
  }
}

// PHP 8
$country = $session?->user?->getAddress()?->country;

PHP 8 Match expression

The new match is similar to switch and has the following features:

  • Match is an expression, meaning its result can be stored in a variable or returned.
  • Match branches only support single-line expressions and do not need a break; statement.
  • Match does strict comparisons.
// PHP 7
switch (8.0) {
  case '8.0':
    $result = "Oh no!";
    break;
  case 8.0:
    $result = "This is what I expected";
    break;
}
echo $result;
//> Oh no!

// PHP 8
echo match (8.0) {
  '8.0' => "Oh no!",
  8.0 => "This is what I expected",
};
//> This is what I expected

These are just the highlights however, the full list of changes is recorded in the ChangeLog here. Check out the official release announcement for all the details. You can jump right into the source downloads of PHP 8 by visiting the downloads page. Windows binaries can be found on the PHP for Windows site.