PHP is one of the most popular dynamic web programming languages which you see in most of the websites which require you to sign in with your username to a site, vote in a poll, download or upload something or even while you are using the shopping cart of an online shop. It is the main language for most of the sites that are professionally written for commercial purposes.
Unlike HTML, PHP is much closer to the basic programming languages like C or even like JAVA. However, calling PHP a programming language would be a huge mistake because it was originally written in C and then developed into a server technology by a college student called Rasmus Lerdorf. Actually, his first intention was just to create a small script to track hits on his “Home Page” and yet, it became the most popular open source in the Internet world. Furthermore, the name PHP comes from HP of “Home Page” and P of “Personal” and “Portable”.
With PHP, users can also do variety of programming; from a simple “Hello World” script to a very detailed shopping system. Its great simplicity and maintainability separates this code from its competitors; JSP (Java Server Pages) and ASP of Microsoft. Knowing this fact, most of the Internet web space suppliers can build their servers with Apache (Linux) so that their clients can be able to work with PHP instead of Windows based ASP. PHP being a derivative of C is associated with Linux which does also supply the user with another useful companion of PHP; MySQL database server.
Some people can say that PHP is just the “free” version of ASP (Microsoft’s Active Server Pages); so in other words, ASP for the poor but this is not the case. ASP, as most of the products of Microsoft Hegemony, doesn’t let the user do any further setting then it is allowed in the installation software. Everything is done automatically and almost nothing is left to the initiative of the user. Whereas most of the things are manual in PHP, in order to install the PHP/Apache/Linux triplets you really have to know what you are doing and also have to work on them.
Apart from the flexibility of this technology, it is also extremely stable because it uses Linux which is a modular operating system which means that it opens a new module for each and every function that you try to use. In the end, you really don’t want to have a server which cannot support you for 24/7. The most intriguing feature of PHP is that it can connect to MySQL database or SQL 2000 server using its own open source libraries developed for the users and by the users. These connections also function without using ODBC which is slow because it is a mediator between your code and the database. PHP directly interacts with the database bypassing this middle burden therefore giving you tremendous clock enhancements.
PHP is the basic tool for you to follow the path towards becoming a web programmer and create your own, sophisticated, nicely coded, interactive internet pages. Use PHP if you want to be in total control of your server and really want to know what is going on.
Martin Redford is contributing editor at WebDesignArticles.net. This article may be reproduced provided that its complete content, links and author byline are kept intact and unchanged. No additional links permitted. Hyperlinks and/or URLs must remain both human clickable and search engine spiderable.