Zen Cart Upgrade "Opportunities"


When you upgrade your Zen Cart, it's not enough to upgrade the core Zen Cart files and your database ... you should also take the time to make sure than any add-on/plugin code will continue to operate in a PHP 5.3 or PHP 5.4 environment.  The hosting company that I use, 1and1, sent out an email late last year indicating "From April 1, 2013, the PHP versions 4 and 5.2 will not be supported anymore. As of now, we will use the version PHP 5.4 instead."  They seem to be jumping the gun a bit ... why not just go to PHP 5.3 ... but what the heck.

I upgraded a couple of the websites that I maintain to Zen Cart v1.5.1 last year and they're running fine on PHP 5.2.17, but what about the change to PHP 5.4? In addition to the core changes in PHP 5.3 where parameter defaults changed for the htmlentities and htmlspecialchars functions, the default value for the php.ini setting short_open_tags is now off.  What this means is that coding constructs like <? (shorthand for

It turned out that I had a couple of plugins that used the short-tag constructs; those have been updated so that my sites will continue to operate under PHP 5.4.  I also reviewed all the htmlentities and htmlspecialchars calls in the non-core Zen Cart code to ensure that the proper default values are being passed for the website's character-set.

I've got my local XAMPP installation now using PHP 5.4 so that I can stage my changes before updating my live sites.  Come April, I should be good-to-go!


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