Builds will stop with version 8.0 and beyond, and support for PHP 7.2 will end in November.
Microsoft will stop contributing Windows builds of the popular PHP scripting language 8.0 and beyond. Program Manager Dale Hirt made the announcement last week, saying that support for PHP 7.2 will end in November and PHP 7.3 will go into security fix mode only that same month.
PHP 7.4 will continue to have another year of bug fix and then one year of security fixes, Hirt wrote. "We are committed to maintaining development and building of PHP on Windows for 7.2, 7.3 and 7.4 as long as they are officially supported. We are not, however, going to be supporting PHP for Windows in any capacity for version 8.0 and beyond."
But PHP core developer Sara MG issued a clarification that PHP 8 will still be supported–even though Microsoft is ending its support for the language.
"This message means Microsoft aren't going to produce official builds for PHP 8 onwards," she wrote in a Reddit post. "This message does NOT mean that nobody will."
"Most likely the project will dust off a machine somewhere in the cloud running Windows (likely using a free license generously provided by Microsoft, btw) and set up some automated build processes to make these 'inhouse,'" she said.
"We're still in initial reaction phase here, but the bottom line is there will likely be very little change for Windows users."
No reason was given for the decision, but developers were mixed in their reactions and offered their own theories.
Some PHP developers are interpreting the move as a suggestion from Microsoft that developers use Windows Subsystem for Linux 2. "PHP is a first-class citizen of Azure, they're simply going to force it to be run on Linux, though," wrote one on Twitter.
"I have a tough time believing Microsoft wasn't intending their special builds of Windows PHP for IIS," wrote a developer on Hacker News.
Another writer posted: "That makes a lot more sense. And really just feels like Microsoft's current trend continuing: Dropping human-curated in-house QA and assistance in favor of automation and community contribution."
One contributor suggested that someone would likely pick up continued support. "Or maybe it ends up being something like Apache where you have to find other places in the ecosystem, which provide binaries for Windows. Or just compile the thing yourself."
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It might make sense for Microsoft to drop build support for PHP because of changes to Azure, noted Liam Tung, writing in ZDNet. "As one Hacker News reader pointed out, Microsoft's original managed PHP offering on Azure App Service was running only on Windows, but Azure App Service now also supports Linux, so there's not as much need for PHP any longer," Tung wrote.
PHP is used to create dynamic interactive websites. When a user requests a web page that contains PHP code, the code is processed by the PHP module installed on that web server. The PHP pre-processor then generates HTML output to be displayed on the user's browser screen.
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