PHP 5.3, the minimum version for OpenCart 2.0-dev, reached end of life on August 14, 2014. This means it will no longer receive security updates. Migrating OpenCart to PHP 5.4 allows users to receive security updates through 2015 while providing developers new tools. (The current PHP version as of this RFC is 5.6.)
Powerful New Developer Features Have Been Added
As OpenCart now supports a built-in modification system adding PHP 5.4 support would allow developers to take advantage of the features that were added or improved from PHP 5.3. They include:
- Array shorthand
- Array dereferencing
- Closures/anonymous functions
No Core Code Changes Are Required
OpenCart 2.0 is already compatible with PHP 5.4. No additional code modification is needed beyond updating version_compare() in startup.php.
Support For PHP 5.3 Has Been Removed From Developer Tools
PHP 5.3 is no longer available in many popular AMP stacks including XAMPP, WAMP, MAMP, and AMPPS. Developers who use those solutions will not be able to detect backward compatibility breaks in their code.
Many Projects Have Migrated or Are Migrating To PHP 5.4
Popular software such as Magento, Joomla, Drupal 8, and Laravel already use PHP 5.4. More projects are switching every day. By requiring PHP 5.4 OpenCart would signal its commitment to modern web development.
PHP 5.4 Is Common On Many Hosts
Some of the largest shared hosts like GoDaddy, Hostgator, Bluehost, 1 & 1, and Dreamhost already come with PHP 5.4 as default or available for use. It's also distributed through web control panels like WHM/cPanel and Plesk.
OpenCart 2.0 Provides A Good "Break" Point
OpenCart 2.0 is an opportune time to introduce this change as several other backwards compatibility breaks are already being introduced.
Some Hosts May Lag
Low end hosts can be very slow to upgrade software. It may be best to encourage users to migrate away from these hosts as they generally lack in security and adequate resources to host an OpenCart site.