I've just learned that the PHP mysql_* functions are all deprecated as of PHP 5.5, and I'm trying to figure out what this means for my life. My library's website is heavily database-driven, hand-coded, and all written using the mysql_* functions. It's currently running PHP 5.4, so presumably code all needs to be updated before the next server upgrade.
So I'm looking for a little advice:
1. Is there a general consensus on what the best long-term alternative to the mysql_* functions is? I see a bunch of references to the PDO extension, which is available on our server. Is that The Answer, or should I be looking other places as well.
2. Does anyone have advice about how to proceed with an enormous overhaul like this? I'm sure I'll be working on a development copy of the server until everything is all worked out. But beyond that, advice would be welcome. Have you employed students to do work like this?
3. I wonder what other broad-sweeping old-fashionednesses may also be about to rear up and bite me. If you imagine that I learned procedural (almost never object-oriented) PHP 4 in about 2000 and am slow to change my ways, can you predict what sort of deprecated foolishness I might still be perpetrating?
Any advice, input, or experience would be appreciated!