What is happening with PHP 5.6 End-of-Life?
ARK v1 only supports running on PHP 5.6. PHP 5.6 is approaching end-of-life: active support ended January 2017 with security support currently planned to end 31 December 2018. After this time it may be less secure to run ARK v1. Many operating systems have already dropped support for PHP 5.6 in their most recent releases and so may not support running ARK v1 at all.
Why hasn’t ARK v1 been updated to support PHP 7?
Upgrading ARK v1 to PHP 7 would require considerable effort that we feel would not be worth doing. We did start an upgrade, but found many of the libraries ARK v1 used were no longer supported and so had not been upgraded to support PHP 7. In particular the security and user library had not been supported for at least 5 years. To replace all these libraries would already require a significant rewrite and we felt that the effort was best spent to building a new version based on modern standards to better meet modern needs. This will be ARK v2.
When will ARK v2 be ready?
ARK v2 is under active development but does not currently have a release date for a stable version. We would like to have a public beta release before PHP 5.6 support ends but are unable to commit to this at this time. Much of the backend of the system is complete and stable with development effort now focussed on the API layer and web front end. The ARK v2 backend is currently being used to power a couple of projects that have contributed significantly to its development and could be used in other custom sites if required. If you would like to help ARK v2 to be released earlier, either though coding or funding, then please contact the development team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I still run my ARK v1 until ARK v2 is ready?
Yes you can, there are a few options available for doing so safely. Many operating systems have Long-Term-Support versions that still officially support PHP 5.6 and you can continue to use these either directly on your server or isolated in a Virtual Machine. Other operating systems (such as Debian) while no longer shipping PHP 5.6 in their main distribution still offer support through community channels. LP currently runs Debian Stable servers with both PHP 5.6 and PHP 7.1 running securely in parallel and hosting both ARK v1 sites and ARK v2 development sites from a single server. If you require any advice on how best to support your current setup then please contact the ARK support group at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/arkusers.
Why should I wait for ARK v2?
ARK v2 has been rewritten using modern frameworks to modern standards. It will provide a stable, fast, modern database in a familiar environment for existing users while adding powerful new Workflow, API and Linked Data features. ARK v2 also offers an automated migration script that will import your old ARK v1 sites and create a new ARK v2 site with a minimum of effort. You will also be able to host multiple websites from a single ARK install. For more information on the ARK v2 design, see the wiki at https://ark.lparchaeology.com/wiki/index.php/ARK2.