PHP 7.4 is here: Try out the future of PHP on Platform.sh today!

Larry Garfield
Documentation Director
27 Aug 2019

PHP 7.4 is due out late this year and is easily the most anticipated release in four years. With a host of new improvements to developer quality of life (and thus code quality), most PHP developers are champing at the bit to be able to deploy it.

Which is why we’re happy to announce that you can now deploy pre-release versions of PHP 7.4 on Platform.sh.

Woah. How?

As with any other new version release, upgrading is painfully easy. Just update your .platform.app.yaml file like so:

type: php:7.4-rc

The -rc in this case indicates that it’s a Platform.sh release candidate; PHP 7.4 is only up to Beta 4 so far, which is what we’re shipping. As new pre-release versions of PHP 7.4 become available, we’ll periodically update the image to use the latest version.

Give it a try, kick the tires, and see if your project will work in PHP 7.4. If so, great! You can upgrade as soon as it’s released. If not, then you can start fixing it up now so that upgrading will be a non-event in the future.

There are two important caveats:

  1. This is a pre-release container of a pre-release language engine. That means it should not be used for production. We’re making this container image available for users to experiment with early, but it won’t be supported. Please use it only in dev branches for testing.

  2. While the major first-party PHP extensions should work, some third-party extensions are not yet available and will give an error if you try to deploy with those enabled. As PHP 7.4 gets closer to release, more extensions will be updated to be compatible, and we’ll include them as they become available.

What’s cool in PHP 7.4?

What isn’t?

The latest version of PHP continues the trend of improved developer ergonomics, improved typing, performance, and security. Among its most anticipated features are:

  • Typed object properties. Object properties can now be typed just like function parameters can, and the language will enforce that type on assignment.
  • Preloading of code at server start time, which completely bypasses autoload and code-loading overhead at runtime. That works especially well in hosting environments that are reliably read-only in production. (You may have heard of one…)
  • Arrow functions, aka short-lambdas, aka “a compact way to write one-line inline functions, like many languages have.”
  • Argon2 password hashing is now available, making passwords even more secure by default.

And a whole host of other improvements we won’t get into here.

So give it a whirl, and help the PHP team find bugs! If you do, please report them on the PHP bug tracker.