Information about PHP
PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor (or simply PHP) is a server-side scripting language designed for Web development. PHP is widely popular and used on many websites. There are various versions of PHP available and is constantly being improved and updated. The version I've been using on The Big Nickel, provided by my site host, has been version 5.6. This version has been deprecated (i.e., no further security updates will be provided for that version) and as a result I've been forced to update to a later version, 7.1 in our case.
On The Big Nickel, I use PHP to process inputs from the various forms throughout the site (i.e., site registration, reunion surveys and results, etc.) and to display things like the Crew Roster. Using PHP allows me to write applications that interconnect with the MySQL databases on the site server where all the information is stored and maintained. As far as I can determine, the processsing scripts I've written and implemented are not affected by the version of PHP.
However, the forum software product I use is effected by the PHP version. The software product I use for The Big Nickel Forums is from from Simple Machines and the current version of the forum softwared is written in PHP and will work with versions up to and including 7.1. When you fill out the site registration form, you're required to input a username and password. The forum product provides routines to process and store that information in a private and secure manner, which is the primary reason I chose it so that I wouldn't have to figure out and write software to manage and process username/passwords myself (I was too lazy and didn't have enough knowledge at the time anyway).
Simple Machines is working on a complete rewrite of their forum product which will provide the capability to use PHP version 7.2 and beyond, but it is currently in beta (and has been for a couple of years, with no specific release date for the "final" version). The developers at Simple Machines are strictly volunteers and charge nothing for their product, which was another primary reason I chose it because it didn't cost me anything. And since I pay for everything to design, develop and maintain The Big Nickel website, I'm all for anything free.
I've just updated the PHP version I use to version 7.1 and as far as I can ascertain, nothing has been affected by the change. Again, there is a "howerver" involed. After sometime in late 2019, PHP version 7.1 will no longer have security update support and I'll once again have to update to PHP version 7.2 or later. At this point, the current version of the forum software (2.0.15) will not support PHP version beyond 7.1. So I may end up updating the forum software to the beta version, which hopefull won't be a major impact. I've been testing the beta version for the past several months on a local server and will go to an on-line version sometime later this year for further testing. The on-line testing will be on a test website and will not effect you in anyway.