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Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012, 9:01 am

PHP Sucks on Backward Compatibility (or How ‘Gallery’ and PHP 5.3 Don’t Play Nice)

As a bit of a dinosaur in technology (I still use a Palm PDA and single- or dual-core AMD), backward compatibility and long-term support are important to me. I am not a fan of PHP even though many programs that I like (the latest being Roundcube) use it almost exclusively.

Many problems seem to occur for those who use old versions of Gallery with the latest PHP, which has become notorious for its backward compatibility deficiencies. One bit of software that I use which is not compatible with PHP 5.3 is Gallery 1.x. It’s a version that I hacked a bit to suit my purposes, so upgrading would flush all my customisations away. Whether a sandboxed compatibility mode is available (such that, e.g., PHP 5.2 is run for specified paths) I do not know yet, but based on what people are saying suppressing the warnings and errors should be possible. It’s not a real solution but a cosmetic hack. If your Web host undergoes a PHP upgrade to 5.3 it can lead to lots of issues associated with out-of-date software. “A short time ago,” wrote my host (with which I host about 10 domains), “we emailed you to let you know that we were upgrading all our servers to the latest version of PHP. This is now complete. We therefore recommend you have a quick check of your site and ensure everything is working as it should.”

The bottom line is, from my personal point of view, is that PHP yet again proves that backward compatibility is too much for it to handle and, as such, one oughtn’t rely on long-term usage of programs written in PHP. Other authors pointed this out before. It’s quite the blunder. In Web-based environments in particular, a case of “lose compatibility or get cracked” may become more common if we become dependent on PHP.

3 Responses to “PHP Sucks on Backward Compatibility (or How ‘Gallery’ and PHP 5.3 Don’t Play Nice)”

  1. Needs Sunlight Says:

    PHP has had that problem for over ten years. It’s their process that is wrong, and if they have not solved it by now, they are not going to solve it. If you have a choice stick with Perl or Python. AFAIK perl is still far ahead of PHP in regards to available modules. CPAN rocks.

  2. Roy Schestowitz Says:

    I ended up spending over an hour hacking on old code to suppress warnings or provide what was necessaruy to appease the new version (like explicitly setting a timezone). Some syntax changed, but at least no functionality was broken.

  3. blog urgente Says:

    blog urgente…

    [...]schestowitz.com » Blog Archive » PHP Sucks on Backward Compatibility (or How ‘Gallery’ and PHP 5.3 Don’t Play Nice)[...]…

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