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PHP For Dummies


Mr Ajaykumar has written this article for those who are interested in learning about PHP as a scripting language, as well how PHP is rife in today's programming industry.

Author Info:
By: G Ajaykumar
Rating: 3 stars3 stars3 stars3 stars3 stars / 101
May 13, 2003
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. · PHP For Dummies
  2. · PHP's FAQs

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PHP For Dummies - PHP's FAQs
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Don’t worry. I am here to tell you, what it is.

What is PHP?

Hi net mates. These days when you surf through some sites, you will find some file extension in the address bar of your browser. Some files extensions like the .htm, .asp, .jsp, .php, and .php3.

You will find this extension .php or the .php3 file extension in some of the popular sites too. Let us see that is this file extension, which language this extension refers to. Let us see what the main high lights of these language.

Hypertext preprocessor is the exact expansion of PHP, tough it doesn’t, fit to the exact spell, and it is adjusted to the word of mouth, called as PHP. PHP is a web scripting language. Let us see some the basic queries, which we come across php.

Who Wrote PHP?

Rasmus wrote PHP. PHP was started off accidentally, Rasmus was designing his web site, and he had planed to put a hit counter for his site. He decided to write a combination of Perl.
       
There were many enquires about the script which he used. Likewise, it slowly improved on and won the hearts of many programmers.

What type of scripting is PHP client or a server side?

PHP is a server side scripting language; server side scripting language is one, which has the capability of executing the script on the server and serving the output as a HTML File, server side script has the main advantage of interacting with the databases and to perform all types of server manipulations directly. Server side scripting language is responsible for manipulating the data which is filled in the entire web forms, any where in the net.

But this is not the case of a client side script. Some of the client side scripting languages is the JavaScript and VB script, but there are exceptions where, client side script can also be used for server side scripting, which is limited to some extent.

Can I use PHP with HTML?

Sure you can very well use HTML with PHP, like the other scripting languages you can do so. It is not a compulsory act for you to use PHP with the HTML. You can very well get the output with PHP alone. But the expected output, which is exhibited by PHP, is not that attractive for display. By attractive, I mean the formatting done by PHP.

Lets us take an example. You have a server side interaction with the database, which is used to manipulate and fetch a certain type of data based on the query, which is given out. Now, if you are going to display these data using PHP, which is fetched by PHP. The quality of output like the font face, font coloring and display areas are all disturbed, as well as being painful to locate and place the data. If HTML is used to present these data, the outlook of the data exhibited is gorgeous.

Can I Run PHP on the Windows Operating System?

You can very well run PHP on a windows machine. PHP is a cross platform support language, which means, PHP can run on various platforms like the Linux, Windows etc.  Your web servers PWS, IIS, Apache can be configured to work PHP.

Is it easy migrating from any other server side scripting languages to PHP?

If you are aware of programming concepts and the application of the logic, then, you will find it ok to code any programming language if you simply understand the syntax. At the same, other scripting languages and PHP, have virtually the same function methodology. The only thing that matters is your requirement, how you are going to apply the logic and code php to your logic.

The main area lies while migrating is the syntax understanding. PHP’s syntax is similar to the C language. People with basic knowledge of C will find it very easy migrating as well as other aspects, an easy task.

I am new to programming, is it easy to learn PHP?

If you are very blind to programming then it is difficult to learn PHP because you may need to learn the programming concepts. This means you require an understanding of the logic, and to be able to troubleshoot the program. If you happen to know at least one programming language, then it is very easy to learn PHP. PHP it is pretty easy compared to other scripting languages.

What are the databases that support PHP?

PHP is very much compatible with MYSQL and POSTGRESQL Databases. PHP also can be programmed to interact with any database right from a simple text file to DB2. It is believed that php interacting with the database has the highest performance, unlike the other scripting languages.

How fast is PHP compared with other scripting languages?

PHP is believed to be fast when compared with other programming languages because of execution speed.  In the case of large interactions with the database PHP really plays a good role of execution in performing the interaction. Now, today’s major web sites have been migrating to PHP because of the performance.

PHP is open source. Will this work properly?

PHP is the only scripting language, which has won the hearts of many web servers, has been moving on enormously day-by-day, The main advantages of the open source is that, if there is a problem that particular problem is shared my millions of programmers across the world. But in the case of a licensed version scripting languages, it is very limited to a set of a small community.

As innovative ideas are studied from all the programmers across the world, new ideas are implemented then and there making the language strong.

There is no problem in using PHP, which is open source.

I shall conclude by saying that, all the scripting languages have its own merits and demerits. So, it is up to you to decide for a partial migration or a full migration.

What are the main Advantages of PHP?

Let us see some of the important advantages of PHP. There are a lot of advantages of PHP. When it is compared with other scripting languages, some of the important highlights are as follows.

Speed

PHP is considered to be the fastest, as stated previously, when compared with other programming languages. You can really feel the speed when you are going to, implement live over the web.

Normally when you try to connect a database and fetch certain data, it usually takes time to connect the database, execute the statement, and get the data across. When these operations are performed by PHP it is really faster when compared with other types of scripting languages. Not only for the speed when connecting the database but also while using over other important applications.

Because of its high performance of speed, PHP is being used for some of the important administrations like the server administration over the web, mail functionalities.

Open Source

PHP is open source, open source is one where the user is given a free license to remodel or recode PHP, according to their wish. You might wonder if you can I do these things without source code. Yes would be the answer. Source code is shipped with PHP. It is open source remember.

Multi Platform

PHP supports various platforms, which mean PHP can be installed on almost every operating system, like the window-x, Linux, etc. You may choose the appropriate version and follow the instructions accordingly given in the Manual.

Easy Syntax

PHP syntax is quite easy to code, all the syntax are similar to the C language syntax, If you are very new to the programming environment then it will be a bit difficult task for you to code the PHP.

What are the main disadvantages of PHP?

Every language or scripting language has its own advantages or the disadvantages. Likewise, PHP has some of its own disadvantages.

But these disadvantages can be overcome using advantage methods.

Some people say it is a direct disadvantage, while some people say an indirect disadvantage.

Disadvantage indirectly means some of the aspects and functionalities in PHP, which are not being able to complete using the direct functionality. This particular disadvantage can be overcome using an advantage method.

Let us take a simple example, say redirection. Writing a piece of code from the client side or the server side - in some of the scripting languages there is a single task to achieve this - a single function will do so. But in the case of PHP it is done indirectly.

One more disadvantage is the Error Handling. It is believed that PHP has very poor handling errors qualities. Even this disadvantage can be over come using a feasible advantage solution.

These are some of the disadvantages. Note again, that this disadvantage can be overcome by using the advantage solution.

It is up to you to decide, whether to migrate or learn PHP.

PHP is great in the terms of performance of speed, which is the main factor, which people expect these days.

Check out my next article soon.

Written by G Ajaykumar and edited by Ben Shepherd - 2003


DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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