PHP is a server-side scripting language. that is used to develop Static websites or Dynamic websites or Web applications. PHP stands for Hypertext Pre-processor, which earlier stood for Personal Home Pages. PHP scripts can only be interpreted on a server that has PHP installed. The client computers accessing the PHP scripts require a web browser only.
A PHP file contains PHP tags and ends with the extension “.php”.
What can PHP do? Well, anything; but there are three main areas where it is used:
– Server-side scripting – the main field for PHP. If you are an amateur practicing at home, this is the way to do it.
-Command-line scripting – ideal for scripts made using Cron or Task Scheduler. Also great for simple text processing.
-Writing desktop applications – PHP is probably not the best language to use to create desktop applications but for the advanced web developer, it provides you with many more options than its competitors.
Why use PHP?
You have obviously heard of a number of programming languages out there; you may be wondering why we would want to use PHP as our poison for web programming. Below are some of the compelling reasons.
– PHP is open-source and free.
-Short learning curve compared to other languages such as JSP, ASP etc.
-Large community document
-Most web hosting servers support PHP by default unlike other languages such as ASP that need IIS. This makes PHP a cost-effective choice.
-PHP is regular updated to keep abreast with the latest technology trends.
-Another benefit that you get with PHP is that it’s a server-side scripting language; this means you only need to install it on the server and client computers requesting resources from the server do not need to have PHP installed; only a web browser would be enough.
– PHP has inbuilt support for working hand in hand with MySQL; this doesn’t mean you can’t use PHP with other database management systems. You can still use PHP with
Postgres – Oracle – MS SQL Server – ODBC etc.
– PHP is cross-platform; this means you can deploy your application on a number of different operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Mac OS etc.
What you need for PHP will generally be on your desktop. It can be used on all major operating systems (Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X to name a few). PHP also supports many of the most widely used servers, meaning you’ll have the luxury of choice if you decide to use it. Undoubtedly, the best thing about PHP is the fact that it’s easy to pick up for complete novices while having all of the advanced features that a seasoned professional could ask for. PHP’s abilities are not restricted to HTML either – you can produce anything from an image to flash movies.