“PHP is an HTML-embedded scripting language. Much of its syntax is borrowed from C, Java and Perl with a couple of unique PHP-specific features thrown in. The goal of the language is to allow web developers to write dynamically generated pages quickly.”
This is generally a good definition of PHP. However, it does contain a lot of terms you may not be used to. Another way to think of PHP is a powerful, behind the scenes scripting language that your visitors won’t see!
When someone visits your PHP webpage, your web server processes the PHP code. It then sees which parts it needs to show to visitors(content and pictures) and hides the other stuff(file operations, math calculations, etc.) then translates your PHP into HTML. After the translation into HTML, it sends the webpage to your visitor’s web browser.
PHP started out as a small open source project that evolved as more and more people found out how useful it was. Rasmus Lerdorf unleashed the first version of PHP way back in 1994.
- PHP is a recursive acronym for “PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor”.
- PHP is a server side scripting language that is embedded in HTML. It is used to manage dynamic content, databases, session tracking, even build entire e-commerce sites.
- It is integrated with a number of popular databases, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, Sybase, Informix, and Microsoft SQL Server.
- PHP is pleasingly zippy in its execution, especially when compiled as an Apache module on the Unix side. The MySQL server, once started, executes even very complex queries with huge result sets in record-setting time.
- PHP supports a large number of major protocols such as POP3, IMAP, and LDAP. PHP4 added support for Java and distributed object architectures (COM and CORBA), making n-tier development a possibility for the first time.
- PHP is forgiving: PHP language tries to be as forgiving as possible.
- PHP Syntax is C-Like.
Common uses of PHP:
- PHP performs system functions, i.e. from files on a system it can create, open, read, write, and close them.
- PHP can handle forms, i.e. gather data from files, save data to a file, thru email you can send data, return data to the user.
- You add, delete, modify elements within your database thru PHP.
- Access cookies variables and set cookies.
- Using PHP, you can restrict users to access some pages of your website.
- It can encrypt data.
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