PHP 8 Horde (Maintaina)

Over the next few days, all Horde libraries and apps in the maintaina-com organization will be whitelisted for PHP 8x. in their FRAMEWORK_6_0 branch development versions. One next step will be a flavour of the OpenSUSE based containers and deployments which runs off PHP 8.0. While some few libraries have been enabled for PHP 8, it is almost certain that horde as a whole will not run correctly. Main culprits are the horde/rpc and horde/form packages and their user code, but there are some other ugly places that need attention.

Development Baseline at 7.4

Code in the maintaina-com repo will stay compatible with PHP 7.4 – at least for the time being. Decisions at Horde LLC may override that at some point or time may just march on. PHP 7.4 has been released two years ago, has ended active support 20 days ago and will be EOLed for upstream security support on November 28th 2022 – roughly 11 months to go. Linux distributions have a tradition to follow their own schedules and backport security fixes. OpenSUSE LEAP 15.3 ships with PHP 7.4 while openSUSE Tumbleweed has switched to PHP 8.0.13 – with PHP 8.1 versions becoming available from official repos soon.

This is a tough decision as PHP 8 and 8.1 have some really interesting features which would allow us to develop more elegant, more readable and more efficient code. For software that is not intended for this audience, I will immediately allow using 8.x-only features as soon as we are confident with Horde’s compatibility. This is going to be a major theme of January and possibly February.

No need to switch right now

If you are running Horde as of horde.org master branches or maintaina-com FRAMEWORK_6_0 branches off PHP 7.4, you should NOT switch right now. We will announce once we think any leftover issues are minor enough for an acceptable early adopter experience.

No particular love for 8.0.x

There is no guarantee our runtime will stay fixed at 8.0. PHP 8.1 offers a lot of new features and a considerable performance boost for some relevant scenarios. While making Maintaina Horde work with 8.x on a 7.4 feature baseline is the first step, the logical next step is upgrading feature baseline to 8.1 or higher. This will be much less of a problem if we get an official Horde 6 release in the meantime and users can choose between a properly conservative release version and a more adventurous Maintaina version. This is not something I have under control though. Horde LLC do as they find appropriate and sustainable and for many users, there is little reason to choose Maintaina over the official releases once we have a Horde 6 version that properly runs on recent PHP and supports Composer out of the box. I am perfectly fine with that and looking forward to it. I will always assist with a migration path as far as I can afford to.

Time is Money, Money buys Time

If you have an urgent commercial interest in a PHP 8-ready Horde version, you really do not want to rely on Maintaina’s timelines and priorities which may be subject to change. You will need to spend money. Approach somebody to do it for you, either Horde LLC or the company I work for, B1 Systems GmbH – both are formidable places to look for Horde-experienced development resources.

Update 2021-12-18 21:00 CET

I just ran the update to the metadata as a mass operation for everything which contains a .horde.yml file – the rest will have to wait until I stumble across it. I leveraged an edited version of horde/git-tools, some bash magic, some mass editing in vscode using their regex tool and some manual fixing.

  • All packages now formally require “php”: “^7.4 || ^8”
  • If horde-installer-plugin is required, I now go for “^2 || dev-FRAMEWORK_6_0” – however in maintaina-com/Core, I have a job that rebuilds composer.json on commit and this job showed me that the components tool needs an update in this aspect.
  • SPDX license code warnings for LGPL and GPL versions have been remedied to LGPL-2.0-only, LGPL-3.0-only, GPL-3.0-only each
  • Added the CI workflow where missing. Mostly it will fail until further editing. This is intentional.
  • I did NOT unify all versions of CI workflow as some deviations are intentional. I did however unify PHP versions for the unit tests to “7.4”, “8.0” and “latest” and I did unify phpunit versions to “9.5” and “latest”.
  • Unified/added the phpdoc workflow and the update-satis workflow as we had multiple versions for no good reason. I have settled for a version of the phpdoc job that will scan lib/, src/ and app/ if they exist
  • Cleaned up a lot of metadata mess in the Kolab related packages.
  • Removed some version: tags from composer.json files
  • Removed the optional pear dependency of imp for the ASN1 implementation from phpseclib – need to look for a proper composer-ready and less outdated replacement.

While the mass changes themselves seem to have gone right, the resulting avalanche of CI jobs showed some issues:

  • phpdoc job and update-satis job fail if they run in parallel and the satis repo content has changed since checkout. Either give the push commands in the loop a minute to wait each time or make the job smarter about handling these clashes. Still, failing is better than silently overwriting content
  • Having so many versions of the CI job is not maintainable. Need to factor out the boilerplate into an action, make version requirements a config variable with a builtin default and have some mechanism for there rare cases where extra software is needed for meaningful QA, i.e. database and storage related items.
  • After getting this migration done, upgrading the git-tools utility may be an interesting exercise in PHP 8 and PHPStan.
  • I may have created unnecessary conflicts with some open pull requests. Sorry, contributors. I will improve.

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