Announcing a specification for PHP

Posted on July 30, 2014 by

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The PHP language has been around for over 20 years and is clearly one of the most popular programming languages in the world. PHP is definitely the lingua-franca of the internet for server-side web programming.

While there is extensive user-documentation, the PHP language has always been missing a language specification. That is not to say a specification hasn’t been thought about or discussed. It is just that one has never really come to fruition.

The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu stated “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. We are excited to announce the initial draft of a specification for PHP.

The existence of the specification was announced by Sara at OSCON 2014. The feedback to the announcement and the sample chapter was overwhelmingly positive.

And now, the entirety of the initial draft specification has been released to the world. It is hosted on a git repository at php.net and this repo will be mirrored to GitHub. Please have a read through the specification. Provide your pull requests and feedback. We hope and expect that this specification will evolve over time with the help of everyone who cares about the PHP language.

Thank you to the PHP group for taking the mantle and providing the infrastructure for hosting the further development of the specification and helping shepherd this as a truly community-owned and developed project.

Special thanks must be given to Rex Jaeschke, who lead the actual writing of the specification, and Drew Paroski, who was pivotal in the review effort and helped Rex shape the spec into its initial form. Thanks to Paul Tarjan, Sara Golemon, Fred Emmott, Josh Watzman and the rest of the HHVM team for their awesome contributions and feedback. And thank you to Stanislav Malyshev and Nikita Popov, who had an early look at the specification and provided valuable feedback.

Language specifications may not be flashiest things in the world of programming, but, in my humble opinion, this is an exciting day for the PHP language. Read on!!

Posted in Announcement | Leave a reply

46 Responses to “Announcing a specification for PHP”

  1. Radu Murzea says:

    Excellent news ! I’m amazed at how far along the progress already is.

    You guys just made my day :D

  2. PHPUser says:

    Well, that’s good news. But don’t mix up the internet and the web ;)

  3. Well php can get very fast if you are willing to learn how to make php extensions, it’s close to c performance. Take a look into zephir and do benchmarks.
    Still it’s a great thing that php decided to gain up speed since it’s that popular all over the globe.

  4. Jacek Kobus says:

    one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.

  5. […] HHVM 的人決定起草將 PHP 這個程式語言的規格定義出來:「Announcing a specification for PHP」。 […]

  6. Developers says:

    […] Announcing a specification for PHP […]

  7. Good to hear that now there is also a specification! Independently, we developed a formal, executable semantics of PHP (www.phpsemantics.org) to be presented tomorrow at the ECOOP’14 conference. I wish we had this spec two years ago…!

  8. James Dicken says:

    PHP is definitely not the lingua-franca of the internet.

    • Joel Marcey says:

      Yeah, I thought this might cause a little bit of controversy after writing it, but then decided to leave it in. For server-side internet programming, I don’t think there is any doubt. Client-side, yeah, maybe a little more dubious. But all-in-all, PHP is right up there as one of the most used programming languages on the internet as a whole.

  9. Sebs says:

    What about nailing the spec own in a bunch of phpt files? I mean specs are executable these days and php has this phpt thingie. Its not the best but afaik its ok for the job.

  10. Mathieu Arnold says:

    Wait, wait, this is not April 1st!

  11. […] Announcing a specification for PHP The PHP language has been around for over 20 years and is clearly one of the most popular programming languages in the world. PHP is definitely the lingua-franca of the internet. While there is extensive user-documentation, the PHP language has always been missing a language specification. That is not to say a specification hasn’t been thought… […]

  12. Paul Biggar says:

    I wrote a critique on the spec – I thought you guys might find it interesting: http://blog.circleci.com/critiquing-facebooks-new-php-spec/

    • Joel Marcey says:

      Paul, thank you very much for your well thought out piece on the PHP spec. We are super glad you found the spec to be of generally high quality. We knew that it would not be perfect; and that was ok with us. We really want this to be community effort moving forward to make the spec more awesome. We provided the jumping off point to make that happen.

  13. […] HipHop Virtual Machine) technical writer Joel Marcey announced the released PHP spec in a blog post along with PHP core developer Sara Golemon’s announcement. The initial draft of the specification […]

  14. […] developers who oversee the language, including engineers from Facebook, are assembling a document that details how PHP should work, which sets the stage for building additional […]

  15. […] developers who oversee the language, including engineers from Facebook, are assembling a document that details how PHP should work, which sets the stage for building additional […]

  16. […] developers who oversee the language, including engineers from Facebook, are assembling a document that details how PHP should work, which sets the stage for building additional […]

  17. […] developers who oversee the language, including engineers from Facebook, are assembling a document that details how PHP should work, which sets the stage for building additional […]

  18. […] developers who oversee the language, including engineers from Facebook, are assembling a document that details how PHP should work, which sets the stage for building additional […]

  19. […] developers who oversee the language, including engineers from Facebook, are assembling a document that details how PHP should work, which sets the stage for building additional […]

  20. […] developers who oversee the language, including engineers from Facebook, are assembling a document that details how PHP should work, which sets the stage for building additional […]

  21. […] developers who oversee the language, including engineers from Facebook, are assembling a document that details how PHP should work, which sets the stage for building additional […]

  22. […] busy week for Facebook on the open-source front, as the social network announced the release of a language specification for PHP, as well as the sharing of three JavaScript projects: Flux, immutable-js and […]

  23. […] week for Facebook on the open-source front, as the social network announced the release of a language specification for PHP, as well as the sharing of three JavaScript projects: Flux, immutable-js and […]

  24. iwankgb says:

    I can hardly believe my eyes.

  25. […] developers who oversee the language, including engineers from Facebook, are assembling a document that details how PHP should work, which sets the stage for building additional […]

  26. […] busy week for Facebook on the open-source front, as the social network announced the release of a language specification for PHP, as well as the sharing of three JavaScript projects: Flux, immutable-js and […]

  27. […] HipHop Virtual Machine) technical writer Joel Marcey announced the released PHP spec in a blog post along with PHP core developer Sara Golemon’s announcement. The initial draft of the specification […]

  28. […] busy week for Facebook on the open-source front, as the social network announced the release of a language specification for PHP, as well as the sharing of three JavaScript projects: Flux, immutable-js and […]

  29. […] that this specification doesn’t aim to fix any of PHP’s quirks and problems. In announcing the draft, Facebook’s Joel Marcey described PHP as “one of the most popular programming […]

  30. […] PHP community recently announced the release of the initial draft specification for PHP. This is an important step in the development of any open […]

  31. […] while we were attending the conference we heard the news about the release of Facebook’s new PHP specification. We are in the process of reading it and comparing it with our own work and we’ll write a […]

  32. […] week for Facebook on the open-source front, as the social network announced the release of a language specification for PHP, as well as the sharing of three JavaScript projects: Flux, immutable-js and […]

  33. […] developers who oversee the language, including engineers from Facebook, are assembling a document that details how PHP should work, which sets the stage for building additional […]

  34. El nuevo PHP says:

    […] con esto, hace sólo algunos días tuvimos la interesante noticia de que el equipo de HHVM publicó un primer borrador para una especificación de lenguaje para PHP, lo que cobra especial relevancia […]

  35. […] busy week for Facebook on the open-source front, as the social network announced the release of a language specification for PHP, as well as the sharing of three JavaScript projects: Flux, immutable-js and […]

  36. That’s really a great news about PHP specification for us because PHP is one of the most popular language in the world around past 20 years and PHP always missing language specification.

  37. Nadir says:

    Awesome news.
    Someone had to do it, and I am glad to see that a company with the weight of FB did it.

    Others have to react & move.

  38. […] blog is supposed to be about some long-term dreams, and in this case it was the dream come true – Sara Golemon and the excellent Facebook team made a draft PHP spec and with some paint …read […]

  39. […] know I’m late to the game but this is good […]

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