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PHP 8 New Features Tutorial

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  • Post last modified:February 24, 2024

PHP 8 brought several new features and improvements to the language, enhancing performance, introducing new syntax, and adding more consistent and powerful tools for developers. In this tutorial, we’ll explore some of the most notable features of PHP 8 with examples.

1. Just-In-Time Compilation (JIT)

PHP 8 introduces a JIT compiler, which can provide significant performance improvements for certain types of applications.

// To enable JIT, you can use the following in php.ini:
// zend_extension=jit

// Example usage of JIT
function example_sum(int $a, int $b): int {
    return $a + $b;

$start = microtime(true);

for ($i = 0; $i < 1000000; $i++) {
    example_sum(10, 20);

$end = microtime(true);
$execution_time = ($end - $start);
echo "Execution time: $execution_time seconds\n";

2. Union Types

With Union Types, a parameter or return type can accept multiple types of values.

// Union Types example
function displayIntOrString(int|string $value): void {
    echo $value . "\n";

displayIntOrString(42);   // Outputs: 42
displayIntOrString("Hello, PHP 8!");   // Outputs: Hello, PHP 8!

3. Named Arguments

Named Arguments allow you to pass arguments to a function by specifying the parameter name, making the code more readable.

// Named Arguments example
function greet(string $name, string $greeting = "Hello") {
    echo "$greeting, $name!\n";

// Without named arguments
greet("Alice", "Hi");

// With named arguments
greet(name: "Bob", greeting: "Hey");

4. Match Expression

The Match Expression provides a more concise and expressive alternative to the switch statement.

// Match Expression example
function getStatusMessage(int $statusCode): string {
    return match ($statusCode) {
        200 => "OK",
        404 => "Not Found",
        500 => "Internal Server Error",
        default => "Unknown Status Code",

echo getStatusMessage(200);  // Outputs: OK

5. Nullsafe Operator

The Nullsafe Operator (?->) allows you to safely access properties and methods of an object without worrying about null pointer exceptions.

// Nullsafe Operator example
class User {
    public function getName(): ?string {
        return "John Doe";

$user = new User();
echo $user?->getName();  // Outputs: John Doe

6. Constructor Property Promotion

Constructor Property Promotion simplifies the creation of classes by combining property declaration and constructor assignment.

// Constructor Property Promotion example
class Person {
    public function __construct(
        public string $name,
        public int $age,
        public ?string $city = null,
    ) {}

$person = new Person("Alice", 30);
echo $person->name;  // Outputs: Alice
echo $person->age;   // Outputs: 30

7. Attributes

Attributes (also known as Annotations in other languages) allow you to add meta-data to classes, methods, or properties.

// Attribute example
#[Deprecated("Use newMethod() instead")]
function oldMethod() {
    // Function body

// Retrieve and check attributes
$attributes = (new ReflectionFunction('oldMethod'))->getAttributes();
foreach ($attributes as $attribute) {
    echo $attribute->getName();  // Outputs: Deprecated
    echo $attribute->getArguments()[0];  // Outputs: Use newMethod() instead

These are just a few of the many new features and improvements introduced in PHP 8. Experimenting with these features will not only make your code more efficient and readable but also help you stay up-to-date with modern PHP development practices.

Make sure to have PHP 8 installed on your system to run these examples. You can check your PHP version by running php -v in your terminal.

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