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What’s new Features in PHP 7

Author : Anurag Kushwaha ,

What’s new Features in PHP 7? Are you a website developer or a website administrator? Do your sites run on PHP-enabled CMS such as Word Press, Drupal, Joomla or Magento? Then I have good news for you: the feature-complete and almost final version of the new PHP 7 was recently released. The 7.0.0 major release contains so many great and essential features that we decided to dedicate a whole post to it. But before, trace want to keep you alive you few points about new in PHP 7


Keep in mind that PHP 7 is still in the development box so don’t use it in project until November (For final release date, visit PHP official site)
PHP7 is the advance version PHP 5.6 of the language to hit the server side in 2016. This well established and much loved language is providing significant performance improvements, providing new features and improving security Lot of us asking continues about, What’s new Features in PHP 7 of new addition keywords  in PHP 7.

Instead of factual that latest major edition PHP 7.0, efforts have been made to complete migration as easy as possible.

Newly Php 7 release target mainly on vanishing functionality deprecated in previous versions and improving language consistency.

There are a few incompatibilities and new features that should be measured, and code should be verified before swapping PHP forms in manufacture environments.

See also the migration guides for PHP versions 5.0.x5.1.x5.2.x5.3.x5.4.x5.5.x and 5.6.x.

Let me off the curtain form this trending topic of PHP.


Here is the features list of PHP 7.1

  • Improved performance
  • Consistent 64-bit support
  • The null coalescing operator (??)
  • Combined comparison Operator (<=>)
  • Scalar Type Declarations
  • Return Type Declarations
  • Anonymous Class Support
  • UVS (Unified variable syntax)
  • Removal of old and unsupported APIs and extensions
  • AST (Abstract Syntax Tree)
  • error_clear_last () function
  • Array in define () function
  • Many fatal errors will be considered as exception

PHP 7.1, the new minor version of PHP is finally here, with a number of new features, changes, and bug fixes. In this article, let’s look at some of the awesome features in PHP 7.1. Like,

  • iterable pseudo type
  • Closure from callable
  • Square bracket syntax for list()
  • Support for keys in list
  • Class constant visibility
  • Nullable types
  • Void functions
  • Catching Multiple Exception Types
  • Too few arguments exception

I will also link to the corresponding RFCs for your reference.

Before we start: Would you like to try out PHP 7.1 without messing up the existing environment? Docker is your best friend! PHP 7.1 can be easily set up using Docker

To start a php 7.1 container:

docker run -v /Users/apple/Workplace/php/:/php -it php:7.1-rc bash

This will download (if not locally existing) the docker image for php:7.1-rc, start the container and take you inside the container using bash prompt. -v /Users/apple/Workplace/php/:/php option maps /Users/apple/Workplace/php directory of the host machine to /php directory inside the docker container. So everything inside /Users/apple/Workplace/php will be available in /php directory of the container.

Now we will move inside the /php directory.

cd /php

Cool! We are now ready to try out the new features in PHP 7.1.

1. iterable pseudo type

Let’s say we have a function getUserNames, which accepts a list of users and returns their names as a list.

function getUserNames($users)
    return nikic\map(function($user){
        return $user->name;
    }, $users); 


The parameter $users could be an array or an object that implements Traversable. Till PHP 7, it was not possible to type hint this function as there is no common type that represents both array and Traversable.

To solve this problem, PHP 7.1 is introducing a new iterable pseudo type, which we can use to type hint anything that can be iterated using foreach.

function getUserNames(iterable $users): iterable
    return nikic\map(function($user){
        return $user->name;
    }, $users); 

Now this function can accept arrays, iterable objects, and generators.

Read RFC

2. Closure from callable

This feature allows us to create a closure from any callable function. Let’s look at an example to understand this.

class MyClass
  public function getCallback() {
    return Closure::fromCallable([$this, 'callback']);

  public function callback($value) {
    echo $value . PHP_EOL;

$callback = (new MyClass)->getCallback();
$callback('Hello World');

This is probably not a great example to explain why we need this feature but shows how we can use it. There are a couple of advantages of using Closure::fromCallable over the traditional way.

Better error handling – When using Closure::fromCallable, it shows errors in the right place instead of showing it where we are using the callable. This makes debugging a lot easier.

Wrapping scopes – The above example will work fine even if the callback is a private/protectedmethod of MyClass.

Performance – This can also improve the performance by avoiding the overhead of checking if the given callable is actually a callable.

3. Square bracket syntax for list() aka Symmetric array destructuring

Short array syntax was one of the awesome feature introduced in PHP 5.4, which made working with arrays so much easier. Now, short list syntax enables us to use square brackets instead of list(), a construct to assign variables from an array.

//prior to php 7.1
list($firstName, $lastName) = ["John", "Doe"];
// php 7.1
[$firstName, $lastName] = ["John", "Doe"];

4. Support for keys in list

Until PHP7, list() only supported numerically indexed arrays with index starting from zero. We were not able to use it with associative arrays.

Now, this feature allows us to specify keys when destructuring arrays.

$user = [ "first_name" => "John", "last_name" => "Doe"];
["first_name" => $firstName, "last_name" => $lastName]= $user;

As an interesting side effect, now we can assign only the required keys from the array.

["last_name" => $lastName] = $user;

It’s also possible to destructure multidimensional arrays by using lists inside list.

$users = [
    ["name" => "John Doe", "age" => 29],
    ["name" => "Sam", "age" => 36]
[["name" => $name1, "age" => $age1],["name" => $name2, "age" => $age2]] = $users;


5. Class constant visibility

Class constants can help us to provide a meaningful name for a value used in the class. These constants were always public and could be accessed from outside the class. But sometimes we may not want to expose them to the outside world.

In PHP7.1, we can specify the visibility modifiers to class constants, just as we do it for methods and properties.

class PostValidator
    protected const MAX_LENGTH = 100;

    public function validateTitle($title)
        if(strlen($title) > self::MAX_LENGTH) {
            throw new \Exception("Title is too long");
        return true;

Here MAX_LENGHT constant is something internal to the PostValidator class and we don’t want the outside world access this value.


6. Nullable types

This feature allows us to type hint a function, but still allow null value as parameters or returns. We can make a parameter or return value Nullable by prepending a question mark(?) to the type hint.

function sayHello(?string $name) {
    echo "Hello " . $name . PHP_EOL;
sayHello(null); // Hello
sayHello("John"); //Hello John

Similarly, for nullable return type

class Cookie

    protected $jar;

    public function get(string $key) : ?string
        if(isset($this->jar[$key])) {
            return $this->jar[$key];
        return null;



7. Void functions

From PHP 7, we can specify the type of value a function should return. Sometimes we may want to specify that the function should not return any value.

class Cookie

    protected $jar;

    public function set(string $key, $value) : void
        $this->jar[$key] = $value;

When the return type is void, either the function should omit the return statement or can have an empty return statement. It should not return any other value.


8. Catching Multiple Exception Types

When handling exceptions, sometimes we may want to handle multiple exceptions in the same way. Normally we will have multiple catch blocks to handle different types of exceptions.

  // somthing
} catch(MissingParameterException $e) {
  throw new \InvalidArgumentException($e->getMessage());
} catch(IllegalOptionException $e) {
  throw new \InvalidArgumentException($e->getMessage());

In PHP 7.1, we can handle multiple exceptions in single catch block

try {
  // something
} catch (MissingParameterException | IllegalOptionException $e) {
  throw new \InvalidArgumentException($e->getMessage());

Multiple exceptions are separated using a single ‘pipe’ symbol. This way we can avoid duplicating same code to handle multiple exception types.


9. Too few arguments exception.

As of PHP 7, we can call a function with lesser arguments than what it is actually required. In which case, it will just show a warning about the argument(s) missing, but will continue the function execution. Sometimes this can cause strange or unexpected behavior of the function.

In PHP 7.1, calling a function without required parameters will trigger an Error exception, ArgumentCountError.

function sayHello($name) {
    echo "Hello " . $name;
// Fatal error: Uncaught ArgumentCountError: Too few arguments to function sayHello(), 0 passed in...

Throwing an exception will help us to handle these cases immediately and avoid any unexpected behavior. But this is a backward incompatible change and can break your existing applications. So make sure everything is fine before upgrading in production.

Changes to error and exception handling

A complete report of how errors function in PHP 7 can be found on the PHP 7 errors page. This relocation guide will just count the changes that affect regressive compatibility.

set_exception_handler() is no longer guaranteed to receive Exception objects ¶


// PHP 5 era code that will break.
function handler(Exception $e) { … }

// PHP 5 and 7 compatible.
function handler($e) { … }

// PHP 7 only.
function handler(Throwable $e) { … }

E_STRICT notices severity changes ¶

All of the E_STRICT notices have been reclassified to other levels. E_STRICT constant is retained, so calls likeerror_reporting(E_ALL|E_STRICT) will not cause an error


So what makes PHP 7 so special? What does this mean for you as a developer?


  • Speed
  • Type Declarations
  • Error Handling
  • New Operators
  • Easy User-land CSPRNG
  • “True” Object-Oriented Programming


This is the topic which we will cover in next our next blog.

  • What Is $this in PHP?
  • What An Object Is An Instance Of
  • “True” Object-Oriented Programming (PHP 7)



If you have any question regarding PHP or PHP 7, please comment below. We will reply you soon.

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