Matt Mullenweg on PHP 5, WordPress Versions at Greek Blogger Camp

At the end of May, Matt Mullenweg spoke at the 2008 Greek Blogger Camp. Mullenweg posted some of his pictures from the camp, and you can view a video of his talk here.

I thought he mentioned a number of points of special interest to WordPress users and developers:

  • PHP 5: The PHP developers are discontinuing support of PHP 4 in August, and there is a movement of sorts to get PHP-based applications to force users to upgrade to PHP 5. In what Mullenweg described in the Greek talk as his most controversial blog post of the past year, he basically said that WordPress would not require PHP 5 as a minimum version for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop numerous discussions from spawning on the WordPress mailing lists about requiring the use of PHP version 5 instead of the current minimum requirement of PHP 4.3.

    But here’s what new: in this talk, Mullenweg lays out the criterion for when WordPress will require PHP 5 as a minimum. Automattic monitors the PHP version of WordPress sites checking for plugin updates and using Akismet, and when the number of those using PHP 4.x drops below 10%, then WordPress will up the minimum requirement to PHP 5.

  • WordPress version numbers: Mullenweg offered his thoughts on the WordPress version numbering. He admitted that because of the extensive changes introduced in WordPress 2.5, it would have better been called “3.0″ using the typical software version increments. But Mullenweg then complained about applications that have “version infliction inflation,” or excessive version increases, and said that from now on WordPress would do releases on a point-by-point basis, not according to the amount of feature change.

    More significantly, he said that WordPress will no longer make releases with major changes. From now on the latest stable WordPress version will be backwards-compatible with the prior release.

  • Google Gears: WordPress 2.6 will have support for Gears, with the ultimate goal of allowing all data to be backed-up via Gears.

    In talking about Gears, Mullenweg observed that the Flash uploader introduced in WordPress 2.5 creates numerous compatibility issues with various users’ browsers and operating systems. I thought this was particularly interesting, because Flash is usually touted as being a reliable way to make web experiences uniform. It’s good to know that sometimes proprietary software isn’t better.

  • Mullenweg’s blog: I thought it was interesting that Mullenweg manages his email account through a web interface he’s created that integrates with the WordPress backend. He also has expanded the WordPress taxonomy system beyond tags and categories to classify, for example, people. The latter has some possibilities for social networking development.

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  1. Posted June 5, 2008 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Version inflation, not infliction. :)

  2. Posted June 5, 2008 at 9:35 am | Permalink
    Austin Matzko

    Oops, I guess that would make more sense. :)

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