You are already aware that from January 2008, onwards PHP version 4 will not be available for support and instead, PHP 5 will be in place. There is also a community set up in the web, supporting and encouraging all, to go for PHP5. Now the question is if this was indeed a step required for all? The primary question is
First of all, what the problem is with PHP4 so that everybody is supporting PHP5? The answer is, there is really no such problem with PHP4. Since its birth, PHP4 was a rocking success and it was only climbing up, up and up, eliminating all its contenders virtually out of competition. But will you stick to an old programming language when a new better version is available? I know the immediate question is why then we didnâ€™t shift earlier. This is a valid question and there are again two answers to support the cause.
Now, at this moment everybody realized that without a movement this change will not happen. This made the support of PHP4 to stop so that all hosting services can be forced for up-gradation.
When you are developing your application by using a better technology, the obvious and immediate benefits are in terms of features, speed and functionalities. PHP5 has all the weapons needed to combat the advancement of .Net, Java as web scripting technologies. It has a better mysql database handling feature, a full working version of XML parsing techniques and full object oriented features. The full object oriented features gives you better opportunity to reuse your code as well as altering functionalities in much quicker way. The obvious and real benefit I see is catching up with better web development and going parallel with trends. Developers will also be benefited as they will be enabled with better functions, more flexibility in terms of binding logic and using old code to speed up development and delivery. Moreover almost all third party freewares like osCommerce, PEAR, PHPBB are getting converted to PHP5. This will leave with no option but to use PHP5 while integrating and customizing these applications.
It is the time to go for PHP5, rather press for it. And you can only do it by asking your developer to build the application in PHP5 and insisting on PHP5 support when you select your hosting service provider.