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Migrating from WSC 5.3 - PHP#

Minimum requirements#

The minimum requirements have been increased to the following:

  • PHP: 7.2.24
  • MySQL: 5.7.31 or 8.0.19
  • MariaDB: 10.1.44

Most notably PHP 7.2 contains usable support for scalar types by the addition of nullable types in PHP 7.1 and parameter type widening in PHP 7.2.

It is recommended to make use of scalar types and other newly introduced features whereever possible. Please refer to the PHP documentation for details.

Flood Control#

To prevent users from creating massive amounts of contents in short periods of time, i.e., spam, existing systems already use flood control mechanisms to limit the amount of contents created within a certain period of time. With WoltLab Suite 5.4, we have added a general API that manages such rate limiting. Leveraging this API is easily done.

  1. Register an object type for the definition com.woltlab.wcf.floodControl:
  2. Whenever the active user creates content of this type, call
    You should only call this method if the user creates the content themselves. If the content is automatically created by the system, for example when copying / duplicating existing content, no activity should be registered.
  3. To check the last time when the active user created content of the relevant type, use

    If you want to limit the number of content items created within a certain period of time, for example within one day, use
    $data = FloodControl::getInstance()->countContent('', new \DateInterval('P1D'));
    // number of content items created within the last day
    $count = $data['count'];
    // timestamp when the earliest content item was created within the last day
    $earliestTime = $data['earliestTime'];
    The method also returns earliestTime so that you can tell the user in the error message when they are able again to create new content of the relevant type.

    Flood control entries are only stored for 31 days and older entries are cleaned up daily.

The previously mentioned methods of FloodControl use the active user and the current timestamp as reference point. FloodControl also provides methods to register content or check flood control for other registered users or for guests via their IP address. For further details on these methods, please refer to the documentation in the FloodControl class.

Do not interact directly with the flood control database table but only via the FloodControl class!


DatabasePackageInstallationPlugin is a new idempotent package installation plugin (thus it is available in the sync function in the devtools) to update the database schema using the PHP-based database API. DatabasePackageInstallationPlugin is similar to ScriptPackageInstallationPlugin by requiring a PHP script that is included during the execution of the script. The script is expected to return an array of DatabaseTable objects representing the schema changes so that in contrast to using ScriptPackageInstallationPlugin, no DatabaseTableChangeProcessor object has to be created. The PHP file must be located in the acp/database/ directory for the devtools sync function to recognize the file.

PHP Database API#

The PHP API to add and change database tables during package installations and updates in the wcf\system\database\table namespace now also supports renaming existing table columns with the new IDatabaseTableColumn::renameTo() method:


Like with every change to existing database tables, packages can only rename columns that they installed.


The reCAPTCHA v1 implementation was completely removed. This includes the \wcf\system\recaptcha\RecaptchaHandler class (not to be confused with the one in the captcha namespace).

The reCAPTCHA v1 endpoints have already been turned off by Google and always return a HTTP 404. Thus the implementation was completely non-functional even before this change.

See WoltLab/WCF#3781 for details.

The generic implementation in the AbstractSearchEngine::parseSearchQuery() method was dangerous, because it did not have knowledge about the search engine’s specifics. The implementation was completely removed: AbstractSearchEngine::parseSearchQuery() now always throws a \BadMethodCallException.

If you implemented a custom search engine and relied on this method, you can inline the previous implementation to preserve existing behavior. You should take the time to verify the rewritten queries against the manual of the search engine to make sure it cannot generate malformed queries or security issues.

See WoltLab/WCF#3815 for details.


The StyleCompiler class is marked final now. The internal SCSS compiler object being stored in the $compiler property was a design issue that leaked compiler state across multiple compiled styles, possibly causing misgenerated stylesheets. As the removal of the $compiler property effectively broke compatibility within the StyleCompiler and as the StyleCompiler never was meant to be extended, it was marked final.

See WoltLab/WCF#3929 for details.


Use of the wcf1_tag_to_object.languageID column is deprecated. The languageID column is redundant, because its value can be derived from the tagID. With WoltLab Suite 5.4, it will no longer be part of any indices, allowing more efficient index usage in the general case.

If you need to filter the contents of wcf1_tag_to_object by language, you should perform an INNER JOIN wcf1_tag tag ON tag.tagID = tag_to_object.tagID and filter on wcf1_tag.languageID.

See WoltLab/WCF#3904 for details.


The ISafeFormatAvatar interface was added to properly support fallback image types for use in emails. If your custom IUserAvatar implementation supports image types without broad support (i.e. anything other than PNG, JPEG, and GIF), then you should implement the ISafeFormatAvatar interface to return a fallback PNG, JPEG, or GIF image.

See WoltLab/WCF#4001 for details.

lineBreakSeparatedText Option Type#

Currently, several of the (user group) options installed by our packages use the textarea option type and split its value by linebreaks to get a list of items, for example for allowed file extensions. To improve the user interface when setting up the value of such options, we have added the lineBreakSeparatedText option type as a drop-in replacement where the individual items are explicitly represented as distinct items in the user interface.

Ignoring of Users#

WoltLab Suite 5.4 distinguishes between blocking direct contact only and hiding all contents when ignoring users. To allow for detecting the difference, the UserProfile::getIgnoredUsers() and UserProfile::isIgnoredUser() methods received a new $type parameter. Pass either UserIgnore::TYPE_BLOCK_DIRECT_CONTACT or UserIgnore::TYPE_HIDE_MESSAGES depending on whether the check refers to a non-directed usage or content.

See WoltLab/WCF#4064 and WoltLab/WCF#3981 for details.


Database::prepare(string $statement, int $limit = 0, int $offset = 0): PreparedStatement works the same way as Database::prepareStatement() but additionally also replaces all occurences of app1_ with app{WCF_N}_ for all installed apps. This new method makes it superfluous to use WCF_N when building queries.

Last update: 2021-07-27