A New Era For WordPress
One of the main success of WordPress was its ability to run in almost any web host whether or not the PHP and MySQL version were outdated. This flexibility finally ends here. Yes, WordPress officially announced they will no more support the combo PHP 4 / MySQL 4.
The Last Version Of WordPress Supporting PHP4/MySQL4
Apparently, wordpress would release the version 3.1 somewhere at the end of this year 2010 and this would be the last version to support PHP4/MySQL4.
A New Light With WordPress 3.2
WordPress 3.2 is scheduled to come in the first half of next year 2011.
As of this version, the only supported ‘techno’ versions would be PHP 5.2+ and MySQL 5.0.15+
No Upgrading To WordPress 3.2
Unfortunately, the WordPress team was very clear that no update scheme will be available for you to upgrade to version 3.2. This would mean that any wordpress users (mostly bloggers) will need to revamp their existing wordpress package completely. Issues which I can see coming might be with database migration, themes, plugins..etc But with some careful planning, all these should be minimised.
What Is So Different With PHP 5.2 / MySQL 5 And Hence WordPress 3.2 ?
There’s a big difference in the way you code in PHP 4 and PHP 5.2. Here are some of them:
1) OOP Model – aka Object Oriented Programming Model
PHP 5.2+ has as main objective to make PHP avail of the new OOP features as close as possible to the way it is in Java or C++. The Object model that PHP 4 was really crappy and not really worthy of being called ‘OO’.
The enhancement of OOP in PHP 5 comes with a lot of new features to the language:
– Visibility of properties, e.g: public, protected, private
– Interface, Abstract classes..etc
– One very important aspect of this new OO thing is now objects are passed by reference instead of by value (PHP4), which is a plus performance wise.
2) Autoloading it! The new magic method __autoload() which is really a blessing. The autoload feature allows to eliminate all those ‘lots of require/includes’ within the code.
3) And a lot more stuffs to increase flexibility, efficiency and performance.. You can have a look at the official Migrating from PHP 4 to PHP 5.0.x guide.
Kudos WordPress! Right Step At The Right Time
Obviously, with all those new stuffs which PHP 5.2+, I’m convinced it was the right decision by the wordpress team. And don’t forget that the PHP community itself has stopped any support for PHP4. (I recall that Drupal and Joomla already took that decision long ago..)
PS: If you are having headaches with your wordpress installation, you can hire my services to do your wordpress installation and updates!