PHP 5.4 released

After nearly three years since the release of PHP 5.3, PHP 5.4 is finally released. Although PHP 6.0 was meant to be the next PHP release, several issues, in particular issues with unicode, postponed the release. Instead, work on PHP 5.4 begun, and in this week, we have seen the culmination of that effort.

Some features available in PHP 5.4

  • Shortened array syntax, a’la JavaScript
  • Traits
  • Built-in web-server
  • Session uploads
  • Addition of binary number format
  • Function array dereferencing
  • Some reports exist in the wild of users getting over 25% speed increases
  • A new version of the Zend framwork
  • Default character set is now UTF-8

Built in web-server

Honestly, I am quite happy with Apache, but I still have to evaluate whether I will use the built in web-server. Although it is VERY early days, I am currently not finding any innovators or early adopters of this in commercial hosting setting, hence I am a bit skeptical to jump on the bandwagon regarding this feature, although I may explore this feature shortly. If so, I will post an article about it.

Shortened array syntax

For me, this means nothing, really. I wonder if this holds a performance penalty for using this syntax. Stay tuned for a little benchmark test on this in the near future.

Some pitfalls

As far as my initial investigation of PHP 5.4 indicates, most current PHP code should still work, but there are some possible pitfalls, such as:

  • New keywords that were added that may cause undesirable effects if used on older code
  • No more safemode, register_globals and magic quotes
  • PHP 5.4 is also the last PHP version that will support Windows XP and Windows ┬áserver 2003

Default character set UTF-8

I am particularly excited about this. Having a home language that often has problems with the ISO8859 character set (although mostly due to missing or wrong configuration implementations as well as different character set choices over various platforms and tools), this will help me a lot by knowing at least one of my components used for development will be correctly set and won’t need any additional checking.


Client abuse… what do you do?

It is a well known fact that by conceding in everything a client says is a recipe for disaster. Okay – so you set your price. The client tells you it is too high, and that you will have to come down drastically to get the job. More often than not, especially when your company (or you as a freelancer) is not known well enough to be able to demand the price you want and deserve, you do just that.

A client who mastered this technique often utilizes all their skills in that department to get a huge job done for the least amount of money. As a business manager, that does make sense to do, but some take this too far.

How often do you complain that you are dealing with cheapskate clients? How often do you fume about the amount of effort, work and quality they expect for the paltry amount of money they pay you? If you are falling victim to the practices mentioned above, chances are that you are often in that boat, and are in danger of being dragged away by the current.

So – how do you overcome this? In my opinion, and as corroborated by various sources on the internet, marketing and entrepreneurial magazines, and other publications, it has to do with your ability to stand by your price, deliver value for money at that price, and be open to negotiation in a moderate degree. Be open to be negotiated to a 10% lower price, but more than that, you’re risking becoming a victim of this phenomenon.

Should you succeed in getting your price, and you deliver a good quality product, chances are great that you will build a reputation of strength, and get glowing testimonials from your satisfied clients.