What is PHP
PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely-used open source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML.
Instead of lots of commands to output HTML (as seen in C or Perl), PHP pages contain HTML with embedded code that does "something" (in this case, output "Hi, I'm a PHP script!"). The PHP code is enclosed in special start and end processing instructions that allow you to jump into and out of "PHP mode."
The best things in using PHP are that it is extremely simple for a newcomer, but offers many advanced features for a professional programmer. Don't be afraid reading the long list of PHP's features. You can jump in, in a short time, and start writing simple scripts in a few hours.
Although PHP's development is focused on server-side scripting, you can do much more with it. Read on, and see more in the What can PHP do? section, or go right to the introductory tutorial if you are only interested in web programming.
What You Should Already Know
Before you continue you should have a basic understanding of the following:
What is PHP?
- PHP is an acronym for "PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor"
- PHP is a widely-used, open source scripting language
- PHP scripts are executed on the server
- PHP is free to download and use
It is powerful enough to be at the core of the biggest blogging system on the web (WordPress)! It is deep enough to run large social networks!
It is also easy enough to be a beginner's first server side language!
What is PHP File?
- PHP code is executed on the server, and the result is returned to the browser as plain HTML
- PHP files have extension ".php"
What Can PHP Do?
- PHP can generate dynamic page content
- PHP can create, open, read, write, delete, and close files on the server
- PHP can collect form data
- PHP can send and receive cookies
- PHP can add, delete, modify data in your database
- PHP can be used to control user-access
- PHP can encrypt data
- PHP runs on various platforms (Windows, Linux, Unix, Mac OS X, etc.)
- PHP is compatible with almost all servers used today (Apache, IIS, etc.)
- PHP supports a wide range of databases
- PHP is free. Download it from the official PHP resource: www.php.net
- PHP is easy to learn and runs efficiently on the server side
To start using PHP, you can:
What Do I Need?
- Find a web host with PHP and MySQL support
- Install a web server on your own PC, and then install PHP and MySQL
If your server has activated support for PHP you do not need to do anything.
Use a Web Host With PHP Support
Just create some .php files, place them in your web directory, and the server will automatically parse them for you.
You do not need to compile anything or install any extra tools.
Because PHP is free, most web hosts offer PHP support.
However, if your server does not support PHP, you must:
Set Up PHP on Your Own PC
- install a web server
- install PHP
- install a database, such as MySQL