Introduction to PHP

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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.

This recursive acronym comes from the fact that it takes PHP code as input and produces HTML as output.

What distinguishes PHP from something like client-side JavaScript is that the code is executed on the server, generating HTML which is then sent to the client.

Some key points about PHP:

  • The acronym PHP originally stood for Personal Home Page, but as its functionality grew, this was changed to PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. 
  • PHP Syntax and Functions are C-Like.
  • PHP development began in 1994 when Rasmus Lerdorf wrote several Common Gateway Interface (CGI) programs in C, which he used to maintain his personal homepage. The first version of PHP was released in 1995.
  • The most recent version is PHP 8 which is release by The PHP Group on November 26, 2020.
  • PHP is a server scripting language, and a powerful tool for making dynamic and interactive Web pages.
  • PHP is a widely-used, free, and efficient alternative to competitors such as ASP and JSP. It holds a growing 80% market share when compared with other server-side technologies, such as ASP.NET, JSP, Ruby, and Perl.
  • PHP is extremely simple for a newcomer, but offers many advanced features for a professional programmer. The users do not need to install any software to view PHP-generated web pages. All that is required is that the web server has PHP installed to interpret the script.
  • Examples of free PHP-based CMS solutions include WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and Modx, with WordPress being the most popular and accounting for more than half of the CMS market.
  • It is integrated with a number of popular databases, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, Sybase, Informix, and Microsoft SQL Server.