PHP 7 Is Here And ownCloud Is Ready

Today is a big day for the web: the programming language which powers most websites on the internet has released a major new version. ownCloud has been working for months to be ready for this new release as it delivers many benefits to users, not the least of which is vastly improved performance. It is […]

php7-transparentToday is a big day for the web: the programming language which powers most websites on the internet has released a major new version. ownCloud has been working for months to be ready for this new release as it delivers many benefits to users, not the least of which is vastly improved performance. It is out now, and ownCloud Server 8.2 is ready for it. Read on to learn about PHP 7, ownCloud and why you should give them a test run!

ownCloud Server

ownCloud is what you use to get control back over your data. It is a powerful but easy to use web server which can host your files (or access them if you have them in other places, like a FTP server or Dropbox), protect them with powerful encryption and can be extended easily through apps to take care of your notes, calendar, contacts, mail and much more. It allows you to share and collaborate with others both using accounts on your ownCloud and through anonymous share links. It is open source, built on PHP/Javascript/CSS, and awesome!

PHP 7

The current stable PHP release series started its life more than ten years ago on the 13th of July 2004. This release brought the brand new Zend Engine II which gave a large performance boost, as well as completely revamped XML support and extensions for MySQL and SQLite. In the subsequent years, PHP releases brought many new features and performance improvements, with the latest 5.6 release having integrated caching and capabilities PHP 5.0 could only dream off.

Despite the big steps, even bigger progress was waiting. After work on a PHP 6 got ‘stuck’, arguably due to ambitions and emotions both running a little higher than healthy, much of the ideas for 6 were rescued, sanitized and reworked to be part of what was to become PHP 7.

Over the last year we’ve seen increasingly impressive performance tests being published about PHP 7. In particular, a competition arose between its development team and the folks at Facebook, developing the HipHop Virtual Machine, which uses Just-In-Time (JIT) compilation to convert PHP code into machine language for better performance.

Fascinatingly, PHP 7 has shown to be on par with HHVM without using JIT compilation itself, although many changes were made to improve the suitability of PHP for such a compiler. This thus promises even better performance the coming years, as JIT techniques are implemented in the Zend Engine powering PHP.

Here’s a short list of improvements PHP 7 brings over its immediate predecessor:

  • Improved performance: PHP 7 is up to twice as fast as PHP 5.6
  • Consistent 64-bit support
  • Many fatal errors are now Exceptions
  • Removal of old and unsupported SAPIs and extensions
  • The null coalescing operator (??)
  • Combined comparison Operator (<=>)
  • Return Type Declarations
  • Scalar Type Declarations
  • Anonymous Classes

PHP 7 and ownCloud

That ‘up to twice as fast as PHP 5.6‘ is no joke. Our engineers have run performance tests and the results are amazing. Taking the latest major ownCloud Server, version 8.2.0, and comparing the metrics for a series of common ownCloud operations, shows improvements ranging from 20% faster to five-folding execution speed, exceeding the twice-as-fast mark more than once.

ownCloud performance comparison between PHP 5.6 and 7

ownCloud performance comparison between PHP 5.6 and 7

You can imagine we’re quite stoked about this new PHP release and we urge you to give it a run for its money: besides the fact that it is free (talk about price/performance ratio there!), you’ll love its snappy response. Imagine: your ownCloud gives you access to your own data – faster than ever! You can share your files with twice as many people, have twice as many users, or use half the amount of power it used to! Now THAT is taking control back over your data – FAST.

Time to check it out. Start by getting ownCloud Server 8.2, then grab the latest PHP packages from your Linux Distribution and see how things run!

EDIT: For now, not all ownCloud apps work perfectly with PHP 7. Notable are the Calendar and Contacts app which sometimes show issues.