PHP 5 Slow Adoption

Nexen has released PHP stats for january 2007. These stats were generated from the survey they’ve made with about 9.2 millions servers hosted on 2.2 millions IP’s around the world.

What a bit shock to me is the adoption of PHP 5 versus older version as shown here,


although it keeps rising, the usage of PHP 5 (14.08%) is still so small compares to PHP 4 (85.25%).

I mean, PHP 5 has been around for quite sometime now. It’s been almost three years since the first PHP 5x series was released. So, there is no way that this is caused by unfamiliarity.

The compatibility issues between PHP 4 and PHP 5 are also not the excuse. PHP 5 core team has been working hard to make the migration painless. As you can see from the talk here, vast majority of PHP 4 code will work fine on PHP 5.

I’m not a security expert, but if you take a minute to look at the open PHP 4 bugs, you’ll see that most of them include notes indicating that it’s been resolved on PHP 5. I’m telling you, PHP 5 is more stable and secure.

I think, the only reason for this slow adoption of PHP 5 is the PHP installation base on server, which most of the time is beyond developer’s will.

From the developer’s perspective, it is much comfortable to build web apps using PHP 5. But when they have to host their apps on shared hosting or to install on client’s server, there is nothing they can do except to suite their apps with it.

Currently i’m working on a project for a cellular market leader company in Indonesia. This company has strong rules to protect their internal network security. No one can install any program on their computer without written permission from certain people. Let alone touch the server. And they’re happen to have PHP 4.3.9 installed on their server.

I have to work my a** really hard just to do certain things which in PHP 5 just a matter of using a single built in function. And they keep complaining about the speed. Why not using PHP 5 then?

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  1. It’s the “Fear Factor” 🙂 people are scared with new things / something they’re not familiar with. Happens all the time everywhere. Especially in corporate environment, where they very much prefer stability over being on th bleeding edge. Even though we’ve told them that PHP5 is alsoabout stability, because the general perception is old = stable, new = bleeding edge.

    A tip to make the migration possible – setup a POC (proof of concept) server in the Testlab. or, if there’sno testlab, it could be on your computer’s VMware.
    Then silently migrate some of the users.

    After it runs like that for a while, reveal the truth to the management.

    When they’ve seen real, solid proof that it indeed “just works”, it’ll be easier to convince themto migrate.

    Good luck !

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