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Unveiling the Future of PHP: A Look at What's New in PHP 8.4

PHP 8.4, scheduled for release on November 21, 2024, includes a slew of exciting new features aimed at improving the efficiency and functionality of your code. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or just starting out, these enhancements promise to make your development process smoother and more enjoyable.

Key Features in PHP 8.4:

1.DateTime Creation from Timestamps

One of the most notable changes in PHP 8.4 is the new createFromTimestamp() method for the DateTimeImmutable class. This addition makes it easier to create DateTime objects from Unix timestamps, including those with microsecond precision. Previously, developers had to use more complex methods like createFromFormat(), which frequently necessitated extra steps and formatting. You can now create a DateTime instance with a simple, straightforward method call.

$date = DateTimeImmutable::createFromTimestamp(1718337072);
echo $date->format('Y-m-d'); // Outputs: 2024-06-14

$date = DateTimeImmutable::createFromTimestamp (1718337072.432);
echo $date->format('Y-m-d h:i:s.u'); // Outputs: 2024-06-14 03:51:12.432000

2. Property Hooks

PHP 8.4 includes property hooks, a powerful feature that allows developers to define custom getter and setter methods directly within class property declarations. This can be extremely useful for enforcing validation or transformation logic when accessing or changing properties. Here’s an example:

class Product {
    private float $price {
        set {
            if ($value < 0) {
                throw new ValueError("Price cannot be negative");
            $this->price = $value;

    public function __construct(float $price) {
        $this->price = $price;

3. Class Instantiation Without Parentheses

Another notable improvement is the ability to instantiate classes without needing parentheses when no constructor arguments are required. This minor yet impactful change helps write more concise and readable code. For example:

In this example, we have created a simple Cat class that includes a meow() method. Prior to PHP 8.4, you would use parentheses to instantiate the Cat class, even if there were no constructor arguments. PHP 8.4 allows you to omit parentheses for a cleaner, more concise syntax.

// Define the Cat class with a meow method
class Cat {
    public function meow() {
        return "Meow!";

// Before PHP 8.4
$catSound = (new Cat())->meow();
echo $catSound; // Outputs: Meow!

// After PHP 8.4
$catSound = new Cat()->meow();
echo $catSound; // Outputs: Meow!

4. New Array Helper Functions

PHP 8.4 adds some useful new array functions, making working with arrays even easier. Let us look at some code examples to see what these new functions are about.

  •  array_find

The array_find function returns the first element in an array that meets a specific condition. It stops processing once it finds the first match, making it faster than array_filter at finding a single item.

$array = ['apple', 'banana', 'cherry', 'date', 'fig', 'grape'];

Find the first fruit with a name longer than 4 characters.
$result = array_find($array, function ($value) {
    return strlen($value) > 4;

var_dump($result); // Outputs: string(6) "banana"
  •  array_find_key

The array_find_key function is similar to array_find, except that it returns the key of the first element that meets the condition.

$array = ['a' => 'dog', 'b' => 'cat', 'c' => 'cow', 'd' => 'duck', 'e' => 'goose', 'f' => 'elephant'];

Find the key of the first animal with a name longer than 4 characters.
$result = array_find_key($array, function ($value) {
    return strlen($value) > 4;

var_dump($result); // Outputs: string(1) "e"
  •  array_any

The array_any function checks if at least one element in the array satisfies a given condition.

$array = ['apple', 'banana', 'cherry', 'date', 'fig', 'grape'];

Check if any fruit name contains the letter 'a'.
$result = array_any($array, function ($value) {
    return strpos($value, 'a') !== false;

var_dump($result); // Outputs: bool(true)
  •  array_all

The array_all function verifies if all elements in the array meet a specified condition.

$array = ['apple', 'banana', 'cherry', 'date', 'fig', 'grape'];

Check if all fruit names have at least 4 characters.
$result = array_all($array, function ($value) {
    return strlen($value) >= 4;

var_dump($result); // Outputs: bool(true)

5. Enhanced HTML5 Support in PHP 8.4 DOM Extension

PHP 8.4 makes significant improvements to the DOM extension, particularly in its ability to handle HTML5 parsing and serialization seamlessly. This upgrade ensures that developers can use modern HTML standards without encountering compatibility issues.

Example: Parsing and Manipulating an HTML5 Document

In PHP 8.4, we can use the new DOM\HTMLDocument class to parse an HTML5 document. In this example, we will create an HTML document object from a string and perform some fundamental DOM operations:

use DOM\HTMLDocument;

// Example HTML5 content
$htmlContent = <<<HTML
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
    <title>HTML5 Example</title>
        <h1>Welcome to PHP 8.4 DOM Extension</h1>
        <p>This is an example demonstrating HTML5 support in PHP 8.4 DOM extension.</p>
        <p>&copy; 2024 PHP Community</p>

// Create HTML document from the string
$htmlDocument = HTMLDocument::createFromString($htmlContent);

// Access elements and manipulate the DOM
$titleElement = $htmlDocument->getElementsByTagName('title')->item(0);
if ($titleElement) {
    $titleElement->nodeValue = "PHP 8.4 DOM Extension - HTML5 Support";

// Output the modified HTML
echo $htmlDocument->saveHTML();


HTML Content Definition: We define an HTML5 document string ($htmlContent) containing typical HTML5 structure and elements.

Create HTMLDocument: Using HTMLDocument::createFromString, we create an instance of HTMLDocument from the HTML content string.

DOM Manipulation: We retrieve the <title> element from the parsed HTML document using standard DOM methods (getElementsByTagName), modify its content (nodeValue), and update it.

We finally output the modified HTML document using the HTMLDocument object's saveHTML() method.


Simplified HTML Handling: PHP developers can now handle modern HTML5 documents natively within their applications.

Compatibility: Ensures that modern web standards are met, including the ability to parse and manipulate complex HTML structures.

Integration: Allows for the seamless integration of HTML content with PHP-based web applications while ensuring code readability and efficiency.

This enhancement to PHP 8.4's DOM extension not only boosts developer productivity, but it also ensures that PHP remains a viable option for modern web development tasks that require HTML5 content.