For a while now, people around the world have been anticipating the use of PHP 7.0 for Moodle. Without going too far down the rabbit hole, PHP is the server side language Moodle uses to run, access its database, etc. Basically anything you do in Moodle is handled by PHP code. The current stable version of PHP is 5.6 and 7.0 is hotly anticipated.
While a PHP update will likely result in many improvements, Matt Porritt from Catalyst.net has recently written about a nuance of the PHP upgrade topic that many people are interested in: speed improvement. The faster things work, the better the user experience, the more likely people will love and use the LMS.
Here’s the skinny on Matt’s report: Using PHP 7 today, he finds a 12% increase in speed performance. While this is a far cry form the 25-70% (yes, 70%) envisioned by the upgrade, it is noteworthy. It is also worth talking about for the factors that are limiting the ability to achieve the speed improvement paragon: there are tweaks that need to be done in Moodle 2.9 just to get PHP 7 to work correctly. Not a huge deal, but it doesn’t work out of the box.
We know that Moodle is getting ready for PHP 7, it is only a matter of time. But perhaps this is something that Moodle Partners, or the Association can move to the top of the pile for the HQ development team to consider so we can reap the benefits.
What do you think – is PHP 7 worth prioritizing for Moodle development? Let us know in the comments below!