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Our plan for ending PHP 5.6 support in SilverStripe 4

PHP 5.6 became End-of-Life in December 2018. In this post, we outline our plan for ending PHP 5.6 support in SilverStripe 4 and provide some guidance for customers.

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We recently shared our thoughts on support timelines for SilverStripe 3.x and 4.x in this blog post, with a clearer definition of End-of-Life (EOL) for minor and major releases in our release process docs. That post also outlined our plan for SilverStripe 5.x.

Apart from our own release timelines, we’re also relying on timelines from dependencies such as libraries and the PHP language. PHP 5.6 became End-of-Life last month (31/12/2018), at which point it stopped receiving security updates. We have already contacted SilverStripe Platform customers about our plans to cease support for PHP 5.x in the platform infrastructure. If you are a customer of the New Zealand Government Common Web Platform (CWP), please refer to our existing communications on cwp.govt.nz.

The following applies to all users of the open source product.

SilverStripe is a widely used system and we appreciate the variety of constraints around upgrading your customers to newer versions of the CMS as well as the underlying infrastructure. In order to support this transition, the core team has decided to extend PHP 5.6 support in SilverStripe and our supported modules for minor releases made before 01/06/2019. Since we’re committing to preannounce EOL on minor releases at least six months in advance, this effectively means PHP 5.6 support in supported 4.x releases until the end of 2019. We will start creating new 4.x releases requiring PHP 7.x in mid 2019.

This extension practice does not automatically apply to newer versions of PHP 7.x. The PHP project is getting more aggressive with ceasing security support on minor releases, with PHP 7.0 already EOL, and PHP 7.1 scheduled to go EOL in Dec 2019. You should aim to upgrade your site to be compatible with PHP versions in active support. SilverStripe is continuously tested with supported PHP versions, including the recently released PHP 7.3.

The SilverStripe 3.x release line is supported until 31/09/2020 (see our support timeline). The current 3.x release (3.7) is compatible up to PHP 7.2 (details here). After ceasing support for PHP 5.6 in SilverStripe 4.x at the end of 2019, it will also be deprecated in SilverStripe 3.x. While we don’t intend to actively break support in this release line, PHP 5.6 specific testing will be on a best effort basis.

About the author
Ingo Schommer

Ingo joined SilverStripe with its 2.0 release, and has since become an integral member of the development team. He's from Germany, but admits that New Zealand beer is often quite tasty as well.

At SilverStripe, Ingo enjoys coming up with robust solutions for real business needs. He builds modern web applications, making sure they work well in browsers and mobile devices, not just on paper. As a core developer on SilverStripe's open source framework, he facilitates community involvement, and helps architect and implement core functionality. Ingo authored the first book about SilverStripe, and is still keen on keeping the documentation fresh.

Ingo graduated as Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Media Production and has several years experience as a freelance PHP and Flash developer.

Away from the keyboard, Ingo is an avid gardener, debugging water flow and performance optimizing root growth instead of PHP.

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