PHP is probably the most popular scripting language on the web. It is used to enhance web pages. With PHP, you can do things like create username and password login pages, check details from a form, create forums, picture galleries, surveys, and a whole lot more. If you've come across a web page that ends in PHP, then the author has written some programming code to liven up the plain, old HTML.
PHP is known as a server-sided language. That's because the PHP doesn't get executed on your computer, but on the computer you requested the page from. The results are then handed over to you, and displayed in your browser. Other scripting languages you may have heard of are ASP, Python and Perl. (You don't need to know any of these to make a start on PHP. In fact, these tutorials assume that you have no programming experience at all.)
The most popular explanation of just what PHP stands for is "Hypertext Pre-processor". But that would make it HPP, surely? An alternative explanation is that the initials come from the earliest version of the program, which was called Personal Home Page Tools. At least you get the letters "PHP" in the right order!
But PHP is so popular that if you're looking for a career in the web design/web scripting industry then you just have to know it! In these tutorials, we'll get you up and running. And, hopefully, it will be a lot easier than you think.
Before you can write and test your PHP scripts, there's one thing you'll need - a server! Fortunately, you don't need to go out and buy one. In fact, you won't be spending any extra money. That's why PHP is so popular! But because PHP is a server-sided scripting language, you either have to get some web space with a hosting company that supports PHP, or make your computer pretend that it has a server installed. This is because PHP is not run on your PC - it's executed on the server. The results are then sent back to the client PC (your computer).
Don't worry if this all sounds a little daunting - we've come across an easier way to get you up and running. We're going to be using some software called Wampserver. This allows you to test your PHP scripts on your own computer. It installs everything you need, if you have a Windows PC. We'll explain how to get it installed in a moment, and where to get it from. But just a word for non-windows users.
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.
Characteristics of PHP
Five important characteristics make PHP's practical nature possible −
Try it Option Online
We have set up the PHP Programming environment on-line, so that you can compile and execute all the available examples on line. It gives you confidence in what you are reading and enables you to verify the programs with different options. Feel free to modify any example and execute it on-line.
For most of the examples given in this tutorial, you will find a Try it option in our website code sections at the top right corner that will take you to the online compiler. So just make use of it and enjoy your learning.
In order to develop and run PHP Web pages three vital components need to be installed on your computer system.
Web Server :PHP will work with virtually all Web Server software, including Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS) but then most often used is freely available Apache Server.
Database : PHP will work with virtually all database software, including Oracle and Sybase but most commonly used is freely available MySQL database.
PHP Parser :In order to process PHP script instructions a parser must be installed to generate HTML output that can be sent to the Web Browser. This tutorial will guide you how to install PHP parser on your computer.