Interview with Michael Akopov

Join us for an interview with Michael Akopov, another returning guest to the podcast.

Topics Covered

  • Working with Laravel, Vapor, Forge, and Livewire.
  • His new book, Beyond Laravel which offers an overview of the ecosystem around the framework.
  • His six rules to keep in mind when building a business, product, or service.
  • Using the community and services around Laravel for your next project or product idea.
  • Remote working when everyone else to all remote.
  • Ruby versus PHP for web applications.

The post Interview with Michael Akopov appeared first on php[architect].

Rolling up, building static sites, and user wants

Jake and Michael discuss rolling up assets in legacy projects, building static sites with Vite and Statamic, and realising the hopes and dreams of your applications' users into actual development work.

This episode is sponsored by Workvivo - the employee communication platform to excite, engage and connect your entire company - and was streamed live.

Show links

224:The UUID Life

I've got to be honest with you, this is a ROUGH CUT of a show. Had issues with recording, the issue is I forgot to start the recording, so I had to grab the audio from the stream. So there are barking dogs and all sorts of issues in the show.

This week on the podcast, Eric, John, and Thomas talk about STILL MORE Crypto Talk, NERDTree in PHPStorm, enums in PHP, and much more

Links from the show:

PHPUgly streams the recording of this podcast live. Typically every Thursday night around 9 PM PT. Come and join us, and subscribe to our Youtube Channel, Twitch, or Periscope. Also, be sure to check out our Patreon Page.

Twitter Account



Powered by Restream

Patreon Page

PHPUgly Anthem by Harry Mack / Harry Mack Youtube Channel

PHP Internals News: Episode 76: Deprecate null, and Array Unpacking

PHP Internals News: Episode 76: Deprecate null, and Array Unpacking

In this episode of "PHP Internals News" I chat with Nikita Popov (Twitter, GitHub, Website) about two RFCs: Deprecate passing null to non-nullable arguments of internal functions, and Array Unpacking with String Keys.

The RSS feed for this podcast is, you can download this episode's MP3 file, and it's available on Spotify and iTunes. There is a dedicated website:


Derick Rethans 0:14

Hi I'm Derick. Welcome to PHP internals news, a podcast dedicated to explain the latest developments in the PHP language. This is Episode 76. In this episode, I'm talking with Nikita Popov about a few more RFCs that he has been working on over the past few months. Nikita, would you please introduce yourself.

Nikita Popov 0:34

Hi, I'm Nikita. I work on PHP core development on behalf of JetBrains.

Derick Rethans 0:39

In the last few PHP releases PHP is handling of types with regards to internal functions and user land functions, has been getting closer and closer, especially with types now. But there's still one case where type mismatches behave differently between internal and user land functions. What is this outstanding difference?

Nikita Popov 0:59

Since PHP 8.0 on the remaining difference is the handling of now. So PHP 7.0 introduced scalar types for user functions. But scalar types already existed for internal functions at that time. Unfortunately, or maybe like pragmatically, we ended up with slightly different behaviour in both cases. The difference is that user functions, don't accept null, unless you explicitly allow it using nullable type or using a null default value. So this is the case for all user types, regardless of where or how they occur as parameter types, return values, property types, and independent if it's an array type or integer type. For internal functions, there is this one exception where if you have a scalar type like Boolean, integer, float, or a string, and you're not using strict types, then these arguments also accept null values silently right now. So if you have a string argument and you pass null to it, then it will simply be converted into an empty string, or for integers into zero value. At least I assume that the reason why we're here is that the internal function behaviour existed for a long time, and the use of that behaviour was chosen to be consistent with the general behaviour of other types at the time. If you have an array type, it also doesn't accept now and just convert it to an empty array or something silly like that. So now we are left with this inconsistency.

Derick Rethans 2:31

Is it also not possible for extensions to check whether null was passed, and then do a different behaviour like picking a default value?

Nikita Popov 2:40

That's right, but that's a different case. The one I'm talking about is where you have a type like string, while the one you have in mind is where you effectively have a type like string or null.

Derick Rethans 2:51


Nikita Popov 2:52

In that case, of course, accepting null is perfectly fine.

Derick Rethans 2:56

Even though it might actually end up being different defaults.

Nikita Popov 3:01

Yeah. Nowadays we would prefer to instead, actually specify a default value. Instead of using null, but using mull as a default and then assigning something else is also fine.

Derick Rethans 3:13

What are you proposing to change here, or what are you trying to propose to change that into?

Nikita Popov 3:18

To make the behaviour of user land and internal functions match, which means that internal functions will no longer accept null for scalar arguments. For now it's just a deprecation in PHP 8.1, and then of course later on that's going to become a type error.

Derick Rethans 3:35

Have you checked, how many open source projects are going to have an issue with this?

Nikita Popov 3:40

No, I haven't. Because it's not really possible to determine this using static analysis, or at least not robustly because usually null will be a runtime value. No one does this like intentionally calling strlen with a null argument, so it's like hard to detect this just through code analysis. I do think that this is actually a fairly high impact change. I remember that when PHP 7.2, I think, introduced to a warning for passing null to count(). That actually affected quite a bit of code, including things like Laravel for example. I do expect that similar things could happen here again so against have like strlen of null is pretty similar to count of null, but yeah that's why it's deprecation for now. So, it should be easy to at least see all the cases where it occurs and find out what should be fixed.

Derick Rethans 4:35

What is the time frame of actually making this a type error?

Nikita Popov 4:38

Unless it turns out that this has a larger impact than expected. Just going to be the next major version as usual so PHP 9.

Derick Rethans 4:45

Which we expect to be about five years from now.

Nikita Popov 4:49

Something like that, at least if we follow the usual cycle.

Derick Rethans 4:52

Yes. Are there any other concerns for this one?

Nikita Popov 4:55

No, not really.

Derick Rethans 4:57

Maybe people don't realize it.

Nikita Popov 4:58

Yeah, possibly. You can't predict these things, I mean like, this is going to have like way more practical impact for legacy code than the damn short tags. But for short tags, we get 200 mails and here we get not a lot.

Derick Rethans 5:14

I think this low impact WordPress a lot.

Nikita Popov 5:17

Possibly but at least the thing they've been complaining about is that something throws error without deprecation, and now they're getting the deprecation so everyone should be happy.

Derick Rethans 5:28

Which is to be fair I think is a valid concern.

Nikita Popov 5:30

Yes, it is. I've actually been thinking if we should like backport some deprecations to PHP 7.4 under an INI flag. Not like my favourite thing to work on, but people did complain?

Derick Rethans 5:47

Which ones would you put in there?

Nikita Popov 5:48

I think generally some cases where things went from no diagnostics to error. I think something that's mentioned this vprintf and round, and possibly the changes to comparison semantics. I did have a patch that like throws a deprecation warning, when that changes and that sort of something that could be included.

Derick Rethans 6:12

I would say that if we were in January 2020 here, when these things popped up, then probably would have made sense to add these warnings and deprecations behind the flag for PHP seven four, but because we've now have done 15 releases of it, I'm not sure how useful this is now to do.

Nikita Popov 6:30

I guess people are going to be upgrading for a long time still. I don't know I actually not sure about how, like distros, for example Ubuntu LTS update PHP seven four. If they actually follow the patch releases, because if they don't, then this is just going to be useless.

Derick Rethans 6:48

Oh there's that. Yeah.

Derick Rethans 6:50

There is one more RFC that I would like to talk to you about, which is the array unpacking with string keys RFC. That's quite a mouthful. What does the background story here?

Nikita Popov 7:00

The background is that we have unpacking in calls. If you have the arguments for the call in an array, then you write the three dots, and the array is unpacked into actual arguments.

Derick Rethans 7:14

I'd love to call it the splat operator.

Nikita Popov 7:16

Yes, it is also lovingly called the splat operator. And I think it has a couple more names. So then, PHP 7.4 added the same support in arrays, in which case it means that you effectively merge, one array to the other one. Both call unpacking and array unpacking, at the time, we're limited to only integer keys, because in that case, are the semantics are fairly clear. We just ignore the keys, and we treat the values as a list. Now with PHP 8.0 for calls, we also support string keys and the meaning there is that the string keys are treated as parameter names. That's how you can like do a dynamic named parameter call. Actually, this probably was one of the larger backwards compatibility breaks in PHP eight. Not for unpacking but for call_user_func_arg, where people expected the keys to be thrown away, and suddenly they had a meaning, but that's just a side note.

Derick Rethans 8:21

It broke some of my code.

Nikita Popov 8:23

Now what this RFC is about is to do same change for array unpacking. So allow you to also use string keys. This is where originally, there was a bit of disagreement about semantics, because there are multiple ways in which you can merge arrays in PHP, because PHP has this weird hybrid structure where arrays are a mix between dictionaries and lists, and you're never quite sure how you should interpret them.

Derick Rethans 8:54

It's a difference between array_merge and plus, but which way around, I can ever remember either.

Nikita Popov 9:00

What array_merge does is for integer keys, it ignores the keys and just appends the elements and for string keys, it overwrites the string keys. So if you have the same string key one time earlier and again later than it takes the later one. Plus always preserves keys, before integer keys. It doesn't just ignore them, but also uses overriding semantics. The same is the other way round. If you have something in the first array, a key in the first array and the key in the second array, then we take the one from the first array, which I personally find fairly confusing and unintuitive, so for example the common use case for using plus is having an array with some defaults, in which case you have to, like, add or plus the default as the second operand, otherwise you're going to overwrite keys that are set with the defaults which you don't want. I don't know why PHP chose this order, probably there is some kind of idea behind it.

Derick Rethans 10:01

It's behaviour that's been there for 20 plus years that might just have organically grown into what it is.

Nikita Popov 10:07

I would hope that 20 years ago at least someone thought about this. But okay, it is what it is. So ultimately choice for the unpacking with string keys is between using the array_merge behaviour, the behaviour of the plus operator, and the third option is to just always ignore the keys and always just append the values. And some people actually argue that we should do the last one, because we already have array_merge and plus for the other behaviours. So this one should implement the one behaviour that we don't support yet.

Derick Rethans 10:40

But that would mean throwing away keys.

Nikita Popov 10:43

Yes. Just like we already throw away integer keys, so it's like not completely out there. So yeah, that is not the popular option, I mean if you want to throw away keys can just call array_values and go that way. So in the end, the semantics it uses is array_merge

Derick Rethans 10:58

The array_merge semantics are..

Nikita Popov 11:01

append, like ignore integer keys just append, and for string keys, use the last occurrence of the key.

Derick Rethans 11:07

So it overwrites.

Nikita Popov 11:08

It overwrites, exactly. Which is actually also the semantics you get if you just write out an array literal where the same key occurs multiple times. Unpacking is like kind of a programmatic way to write a function call or an array literal, so it makes sense that the semantics are consistent.

Derick Rethans 11:26

I think I agree with that actually, yes. Are there any changes that could break existing code here?

Nikita Popov 11:32

Not really because right now we're throwing an exception if you have string keys in array unpacking. So it could only break if you're like explicitly catching that exception and doing something with it, which is not something where we provide any guarantees I think. So generally I think that, removing an exception doesn't count as a backwards compatibility break.

Derick Rethans 11:55

I think that's right. Do you have anything else to add here?

Nikita Popov 11:59

No, I think that's a simple proposal.

Derick Rethans 12:02

Thank you, Nikita for taking the time to explain these several RFCs to me today.

Nikita Popov 12:07

Thanks for having me Derick.

Derick Rethans 12:11

Thank you for listening to this instalment of PHP internals news, a podcast dedicated to demystifying the development of the PHP language. I maintain a Patreon account for supporters of this podcast, as well as the Xdebug debugging tool. You can sign up for Patreon at If you have comments or suggestions, feel free to email them to Thank you for listening, and I'll see you next time.

223:I am Human

This week on the podcast, Eric, John, and Thomas talk about more Crypto, Array Unpacking, Tinker in Vim, and more...

Links from the show:

Twitter Account



Powered by Restream

Patreon Page

PHPUgly Anthem by Harry Mack / Harry Mack Youtube Channel

PHP Internals News: Episode 75: Globals, and Phasing Out Serializable

PHP Internals News: Episode 75: Globals, and Phasing Out Serializable

In this episode of "PHP Internals News" I chat with Nikita Popov (Twitter, GitHub, Website) about two RFCs: Restrict Globals Usage, and Phase Out Serializable.

The RSS feed for this podcast is, you can download this episode's MP3 file, and it's available on Spotify and iTunes. There is a dedicated website:


Derick Rethans 0:14

Hi I'm Derick. Welcome to PHP internals news, a podcast dedicated to explain the latest developments in the PHP language. This is Episode 75. In this episode, I'm talking with Nikita Popov about a few RFCs that he has been working on over the past few months. Nikita, would you please introduce yourself?

Nikita Popov 0:34

Hi, I'm Nikita, I work at JetBrains on PHP core development and as such I get to occasionally, write PHP proposals RFCs and then talk with Derick about them.

Derick Rethans 0:47

The main idea behind you working on RFCs is that PHP gets new features not, you end up talking to me.

Nikita Popov 0:53

I mean that's a side benefit,

Derick Rethans 0:55

In any case we have a few to go this time. The first RFC is titled phasing out Serializable, it's a fairly small RFC. What is it about?

Nikita Popov 1:04

That finishes up a bit of work from PHP 7.4, where we introduced a new serialization mechanism, actually the third one, we have. So we have a bit too many of them, and this removes the most problematic one.

Derick Rethans 1:19

Which three Serializable methods or ways of doing things currently exist?

Nikita Popov 1:24

The first one, which doesn't really count is just what you get if you don't do anything, so just all the Object Properties get serialized, and also unserialized, and then we have a number of hooks, you can use to modify that. The first pair is sleep and wake up. Sleep specifies which properties you want to serialize so you can filter out some of them, and wake up allows you to run some code, after unserialization, so you can do some kind of fix up afterwards.

Derick Rethans 1:52

From what I remember, if you use unserialize, where does the wake up the constructor doesn't get called?

Nikita Popov 1:59

During unserialization the constructor, never gets called.

Derick Rethans 2:03

So wake up a sort of the static factory methods to re rehydrate the objects.

Nikita Popov 2:08


Derick Rethans 2:08

So that's number one,

Nikita Popov 2:10

Then number two is the Serializable interface, which gives you more control. Namely, you have to actually like return the serialized representation of your object. How it looks like is completely unspecified, you could return whatever you want, though, in practice, what people actually do is to recursively call serialize. And then on the other side when unserializing you usually do the same so you call unserialize on the stream you receive, and then populate your properties based on that. The problem with this mechanism is exactly this recursive serialization call, because it has to share state, with the main serialization. And the reason for that is that, well PHP has objects, or object identity. So if you use the same object in two places you really want it to be the same object and not two objects with the same content. Serializable has to be able to preserve that, and that requires that it runs in the middle of the unserialization.

Derick Rethans 3:14

Not sure if I follow that bit.

Nikita Popov 3:16

Well maybe it's not a hard requirement more like an issue with our serialization format that comes into play here. Way PHP implements this, is using back references. So at first unserializes an object and then later you can have like a pointer back to it, that says like, I want to use the same object as at position number, 10, or so. For these back references to work, we have to actually execute the serialization handler while unserializing because otherwise the offsets will no longer match. So we can just run this at the end of unserialization for example because then our offsets would be incorrect. And this is a big problem because it's not really safe to run code, during unserialization because things are partially initialized. To make these back references work, PHP has to actually store pointers to these objects. And if you somehow modify things in specific ways, then these pointers become invalid. They point to a memory that no longer exists, and a possibly exploitable crash. This is why we would like to get rid of this mechanism.

Derick Rethans 4:25

But of course, in order to get rid of things, we had to have a better way of doing things in place first, right, which came with PHP seven four.

Nikita Popov 4:32

That's right.

Derick Rethans 4:32

So that's number three.

Nikita Popov 4:34

That's number three. Number three is actually very similar to number one: two new magic methods, double underscore serialize and double underscore unserialize. Serialize returns an array, usually like an array of properties for example, and then unserialize populates the object from that array. In practice, this works very similar to the Serializable interface, just that you don't manually call serialize and unserialize, but PHP will do so on your behalf. So you just return an array or get an array, and PHP will integrate that into the like main serialization, and because it's left to PHP, PHP can control where these calls occur.

Derick Rethans 5:19

With sleep originally you only return the name of the properties. Whereas with this new interface you return the names of the properties but also their values.

Nikita Popov 5:30

That's right. The new mechanism, this, like, in practice, it serves as a replacement for the Serializable interface. But from a technical side it's really close to sleep and wake up, um, just that, as you said, instead of returning property names you return both names and values.

Derick Rethans 5:51

And this is now the recommended way of doing serialization.

Nikita Popov 5:54

Like the motivation is one problem was, what I mentioned the security problem. Maybe the thing that impacts users more commonly is that things like calling parent::serialize and parent::unserialize with the Serializable interface, usually doesn't do what you want. Again, due to these back references because, like, the calls get out of order, we should do the same thing with the magic methods, with the underscore underscore serialize and unserialize and you can safely call parent methods and compose serialization in that way.

Derick Rethans 6:29

That's our state of serialization right now. We haven't spoken about RFC, what are you proposing to do here?

Nikita Popov 6:34

The RFC proposes to get rid of the Serializable interface. And, like in a way that is a bit more graceful than just deprecating it outright. And the idea is that if you have code that is still compatible with PHP 7.3, where the new mechanism doesn't exist, you probably still want to use Serializable. So if we just deprecated out right that would be fairly annoying to have code that's compatible with PHP 7.3, and 8.1. So instead what we do is we only deprecate the case where you implement Serializable without implementing the new mechanism. If you implement both of them, then you're fine for now.

Derick Rethans 7:15

The new mechanism, the one we're introducing PHP 7.4, would overrides the PHP 7.3 one already anyway.

Nikita Popov 7:22

Exactly. So on PHP 7.3 you would end up using Serializable and PHP seven four and higher, you would be using the new mechanism. And then, at a later point in time we would actually also deprecate Serializable itself and then remove it, though, like based on mailing list response, some people at least didn't like the long timeline. I'm not exactly sure what the alternative is, so either to deprecate Serializable right away, or to later remove it without deprecation of the interface itself.

Derick Rethans 7:57

Yeah, from what I saw the, the long-term-ness of phasing it out. I think had mentioned that it finally got removed in PHP 10, which is potentially 10 years away right. If we following every five years with a new major release. But then in the end, it does have some merit making sure that people can move on without being left in the dark at some point right. What is your own preference?

Nikita Popov 8:22

My own preference is what I proposed. I would also be fine with, like say in PHP 8.1, we call the proposal so you only get a warning if you only implement Serializable without the new mechanism, and the PHP nine we could just drop Serializable entirely. I think that would not be, because then the only problem then would be if you have code that is competitive with PHP 7.3 and PHP 9.0. I am sure that code will exist ... pretty normal version range to have.

Derick Rethans 9:08

Yeah, I probably would agree with you there. When I read the RFC it also mentioned PDO. Why would it mention PDO?

Nikita Popov 9:15

This all is something I only found out while writing it's on there is a PDO fetch serialize flag, which automatically calls unserialize when fetching values. So I will not comment on the really dubious idea of storing serialized data in the database.

Derick Rethans 9:35

I mean, people would currently said that the alternative is to store JSON, in these columns as values.

Nikita Popov 9:40

That would still be better.

Derick Rethans 9:42

But it's still a serialized format?

Nikita Popov 9:44

But at least the way this flag is implemented is effectively broken, because it doesn't just call unserialize, the function; it calls unserialize on the Serializable interface. I have no idea how this was intended to be used in practice, because it's not compatible with, like the normal serialization of the class. In practise like everything I have found about this online is basically just that okay if this functionality is broken, you shouldn't use it.

Derick Rethans 10:15

So you have less concerns just removing that straight away, I suppose.

Nikita Popov 10:19


Derick Rethans 10:20

Do you have anything else out about serialization.

Nikita Popov 10:22

I think this proposal is a very simple one and we have actually talked, way too much about this.

Derick Rethans 10:29

Let's move on to the next RFC, which is titled Restrict Globals Usage. This title almost sounds worse than it is as it might imply that you want to get rid of the globals array altogether. But I bet that's not the case. And I also suspect that restricting the globals array is a lot more technical as a subject as it might seem.

Nikita Popov 10:49

That's right. So this is really, mostly motivated by internal concerns, and has hopefully not a great deal of impact on like practical usage. There are a couple motivations, so some of them are about semantics, so globals is a very magic variable, that does not follow the usual semantics of PHP a number of ways. In particular array are typically by value. In all other cases, they are by value, which means that if you modify, like if you copy an array and modify one copy, then the other one doesn't get modified, I mean it's a copy so obviously it doesn't get modified. For globals if that's not the case. If you make a copy of globals and you modify the copy, then the original array also gets modified.

Derick Rethans 11:36

Which is not the case for other super globals such as underscore get and underscore post.

Nikita Popov 11:41

The other super globals are a bit magic but not that magic. There are a couple of other concerns with edge cases, but I think the real motivation here is the internal concern. And that's how globals is implemented. PHP, normally, manages variables in functions and scripts, using so called compiled variables. And this works by well when the script is compiled we actually see all the variables with the used, at least all the variables that don't go through something like variable variables or globals or something like that. And we reserve a slot for each of these variables, so we can directly access it. We don't have to look up, like the variable by name, we just say this is variable number seven and we can directly access it, which is much much more efficient. The problem is, then if you have something that globals you want to both have this access by index, and access by name, and they do that by storing a pointer inside the globals array to the actual location of the variable. Yeah, so this is a very special concept. So we call this an indirect, a variable of indirect type, and it essentially occurs only inside the globals array, and for object properties. For object properties it happens for the same reason, so object properties are normally accessed by index, but if you do something like variable object dynamic object access, then we also have to look it up by name. There we do the same thing, so we have a like map from property names to values, and if the value is really stored inside an object property slot then we just store a pointer there. The thing with the objects is that this is like really an internal concern that's well encapsulated and doesn't leak into normal PHP code. That's not the case with globals because globals is on the surface just a normal array. So you can do everything with it, you do with a normal array you can pass it to functions. Like in theory, all the functions, need to deal with this special value type that says: okay actually this is not the value itself is just a pointer to the value. The way you do it is every time you access a value you check okay is this an indirect value; if it is, follow the pointer.

Derick Rethans 14:01

I have plenty of code in Xdebug for this.

Nikita Popov 14:04

So it's really a super simple operation to do, but you actually have to do it. And you have to do it absolutely everywhere, if you're being pedantic. In practice that just doesn't happen. In PHP's own code, in the standard library, the array functions are those do consistently handle this edge case. But if you like go further, even most bundled extensions, and certainly most third party extensions, they are not going to do this and if they don't either they just get some, like you know benign misbehaviour where it looks like array elements are missing, or you get a crash, because the type is simply not handled. Yeah, well that's not a great state to be in, because like pushing passing the globals array into something like array pop or something, is very weird operation to do. I don't know if ever, anyone has done that for purposes outside testing PHP. But to support it, we have to like handle this special case everywhere, which is not robust and also has a certain performance impact when it comes to low level operations. So we also have to do this check every time you access an array for example from normal PHP code The idea is to remove the special case. That's the motivation here.

Derick Rethans 15:23

What are you proposing to change?

Nikita Popov 15:26

One is if you just access variable in globals. So you write $GLOBALS[], some variable name. Then we treat that especially and compile it down to an access to this global variable. So it could be a read access, could be a write access, or anything else,

Derick Rethans 15:44

But it is something that happens, when PHP compiles scripts.

Nikita Popov 15:48

That's right. The second part is you can also access the globals array in a read-only way, so you can take the whole array, and for example, do a for each loop over it. And that continues to work. The part that doesn't work is to take the whole globals array and modify it in some way, for example, passing globals to array pop, which requires passing it by reference is going to throw an error.

Derick Rethans 16:13

At which state. Is that going to throw an error?

Nikita Popov 16:15

That's usually during compilation, but specifically for the case of by-reference passing it can't be detected at runtime, because we don't always know if it's a by-reference or by-value pass. But for most of the cases it's a compile time error. Maybe one particular case that's worth mentioning is that you also can do a foreach by-reference over it. So if you like want to loop over globals and modify entries while doing so the way to do it now would be to do by-value loop and then just again access specific elements in it, like access globals key or something. And the reason why this helps us is that we can just return, like when you access globals, we can actually return a copy of the array. We don't have to maintain these like indirect pointers which are only necessary to support modifications, we can just return a copy. That means we no longer have to deal with this edge case in most places, in the engine and in third party extensions,

Derick Rethans 17:15

Talking about third party extensions, the code that implements this RFC has already been merged into PHP eight one, but the moment you did that, tests in Xdebug started failing, because I read the globals array, but it doesn't seem like it exists any more now.

Nikita Popov 17:31

That's actually a good point. Globals, I would know view it as a like, more like a syntax construct, similar to variable variables, or even the $this variable. So this is also not a real variable. Globals is no longer added as an actual variable in the symbol table, which is directly compiled down to either an access to the specific global or returns a copy of the table. So for Xdebug you, I probably filter you you have to access the EG symbol table.

Derick Rethans 18:02

Yes, but it wasn't as simple as it seemed because this is a hash table, and no longer is that a full array, which means that all my logic code doesn't work with that. So I've decided that globals just no longer exists and stuff, which is what it logically is in PHP eight one anyway.

Nikita Popov 18:22

So that might actually be nice. So I know that, like code that does work with globals, like as an array, usually also always skips skips globals itself when iterating over it, because otherwise you usually run into some kind of infinite recursion issue. That's actually another thing, so globals is the one way you can have a recursive array, without references being involved. So I know that the Symfony like variable/cloner dumper. That goes for a lot of effort to detect cycles, like has some extra fun hacks to detect globals correctly for that reason, because usually you just take references but for globals that doesn't work.

Derick Rethans 19:09

Right, how much of an impact is this going to have to existing code?

Nikita Popov 19:12

So I like analysed the top composer packages and found, not a lot of usages. I don't remember the exact number, it was maybe five cases that break. That's not to say that it has no impact. I do know that PHPUnit eight point whatever, had such a globals use, which was fixed already because Sebastian Bergmann now, adds support for new PHP versions to PHPUnit eight and nine both. If you're using PHPUnit seven, then probably, it's no longer going to work for that reason. Of course, it also doesn't work for many other reasons, as well. Depending on which features to use, but I do know that you know sometimes if you're not using mocks, then you can often use old PHPUnit versions, but I think that's no longer going to work in this case.

Derick Rethans 20:04

It's something that users of PHP and PHPUnit, probably should start testing once the alpha and beta releases of PHP eight one start happening.

Nikita Popov 20:16

Right. I mean, I hope that it's not going to be a big issue. After all, this is minor PHP version. So we really shouldn't be introducing bad breaks, but at least the usage I've seen in open source project suggests that it should not be a big problem.

Derick Rethans 20:33

Excellent. As I've mentioned this RFC is already been merged. So I don't really have to ask about feedback, because it's irrelevant right now. It's already there.

Nikita Popov 20:44

Well, you could still have feedback afterwards.

Derick Rethans 20:48

Thank you, Nikita for taking the time to explain these several RFCs to me today.

Nikita Popov 20:52

Thanks for having me Derick.

Derick Rethans 20:57

Thank you for listening to this instalment of PHP internals news, a podcast dedicated to demystifying the development of the PHP language. I maintain a Patreon account for supporters of this podcast, as well as the Xdebug debugging tool. You can sign up for Patreon at If you have comments or suggestions, feel free to email them to Thank you for listening, and I'll see you next time.