As you can see from the example in this article, the Unix operating system is very powerful, and PHP was designed from scratch to allow developers to execute external programs as independent threads, via a script. The example described in this article is very elementary. With a bit of work, however, you could create a C++ application that would update a MySQL database, run another system command, or do something with the files/directory structure of your web server. Always make sure that your security settings are correct, and never give open-access to your internal applications via any sort of script.
If you’re after more information on anything mentioned in this article, take a look at the links and books shown below.
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