In asking “why?” when considering PHP5’s new, Java-like, capabilities the author comes to this “sinister Pinky-and-the-Brain” conclusion;
It probably isn’t putting it too strongly to state that PHP v5 represents a concerted attempt to break away from the role of ‘easy-server-side-scripter’, with competing in the role of an all-purpose, easy-to-program, generalized, cross-platform interpreted language being the ultimate aim. They’re not just borrowing syntax from Java; Long-term, they’re actually going after Java’s market niche, and Perl’s, and Python’s, and dotNET’s, and VB’s…
So what else would it take for PHP to grow wings and become a serious, general purpose language? Some things off the top of my head;
– Built in OPCODE caching (there has to be a better business model for Zend these days e.g. commercial extensions)
– Sterlings Abstract data types extension to mature
– Threads by default
– A wrapper for wxWidgets
– SAFE mode to become safe
– Better garbage collection? (have no evidence here but the anecdotal view is “long running” PHP scripts tend to hog memory – not a typically problem when using PHP with Apache)
– Something like Python’s psyco built in.
So far that’s not out of reach, given some serious manpower (i.e. cash) to get there.