In the world of software development, "deprecated" refers to functions or elements that are in the process of being replaced by newer ones. The term comes from the word "deprecate," which means to disapprove of something. While deprecated items may work in the current version of a programming language, they may not function in future updates. Therefore, software developers are advised to replace deprecated items with other options.
As programming languages evolve, functions are sometimes replaced with newer, more efficient options. For example, in PHP, the ereg() function, which is used to search for matching strings was deprecated in favor of the preg_match() function, which is faster and more flexible. While the ereg() function may work with current PHP installations, it may not be supported in future versions of PHP. Therefore, developers are discouraged to rely on the ereg() function and are encouraged to updated their source code to use to preg_match() function instead.
In HTML, elements such as tags and attributes may be deprecated from one version to the next. For example, in HTML 5, several common tags used in HTML 4 have been deprecated. These include <center>, <font>, <tt>, and several others. While modern browsers may still interpret these tags correctly, they are not guaranteed to work, and therefore should be avoided.
The process of deprecating functions and elements in a programming language is called "deprecation." Typically, this process lasts for several versions of the language, which gives developers ample time to update their code. Most software development environments (IDEs) also alert programmers when deprecated items are being used. These warnings help developers remove deprecated items before they cause syntax errors or other problems in a program.
Updated: February 25, 2011