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PHPMaster.com: Better Understanding PHP's Garbage Collection

Note: This article was originally published at PHPDeveloper on 13 July 2012.
PHPDeveloper

If you've been working with PHP for any length of time, you probably have wondered what happens to everything you've created when your script's execution ends. Well, in this new post from PHPMaster.com PHP's garbage handling functionality.

It's interesting how just a few years can make a difference in the names that are given to things. If this were to come up today, it would probably be called PHP Recycling Options, because rather than picking things up and throwing them into a landfill where they'll never be seen again, we are really talking about grabbing things whose use has passed and setting them up to be useful again. But, recycling wasn't le petit Cherie of society back when the idea was developed and so this task was given the vulgar name of 'Garbage Collection'. What can we do but follow what history and common usage have given us?

They talk about a few different kinds of data that the garbage collection system cleans up including the program-generated information and the three tiered system the languages for cleanup:

  • First Level - End of Scope
  • Second Level - Reference Counting
  • Third Level - Formal Garbage Collection