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It turns out that object-oriented programming is not a relatively modern concept, with historical references going back as far as the 1960s. PHP didn't have object-oriented features until version 3 in 1998, which included basic class and object support. It wasn't complete, but it was a start. Two years later, in 2000, PHP 4 added more support, but suffered from some weirdness coming from variable assignments and references, leading to confusing code and high memory usage. Finally, PHP 5 came out in 2004, including an extensive rewrite of object handling with the introduction of Zend Engine 2, which featured a full feature set and greatly increased performance.
At that point, PHP had a complete object model, which had been missing from prior versions. Since then, most major modern PHP frameworks utilize or are transitioning to an implementation that leverages PHP 5's object support. Throughout this chapter, I've explored some of the fundamentals of object-oriented programming. Starting with the definition of an object, I expanded to describe what classes are, then gave a number of reasons why object-oriented programming was good. I closed with a brief history of PHP's support of objects.
This all looks good on paper, and if you're anything like me, you've probably had enough theory and are ready to start writing code. In the next chapter, I'm going to do just that, starting with creating an object.
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