PHP Introduction

PHP stands for “Hypertext Pre-processor.

PHP is an Open Source, Interpreted, and Object-Oriented scripting language, i.e., executed at Server Side. It is used to develop Web Applications (an application, i.e., executed at the server-side and generates dynamic page.)

Learning PHP will be easy and challenging, depending on how you proceed towards learning the language.

What is PHP?

  • PHP stands for “Hypertext Pre-processor.
  • Earlier stood for “Personal Home Pages.
  • It is a server-side scripting language.
  • PHP is used to develop static and dynamic webpages, web applications and is well suitable for web development
  • PHP is Case Sensitive
  • To execute PHP code, we need a Web server on which PHP must be installed.
  • PHP is an interpreted language.
  • PHP is open-source and free.
  • It was designed to work with HTML. It can be added to the HTML code.
<HTML><?php //php code ?></HTML>
  • We can create the PHP files without any HTML tags, and that records are called Pure PHP files.
  • The server processes the PHP code and outputs the result as HTML code to the web browser.

Preconditions for Starting With PHP

Before getting started with PHP, you should have a basic knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

PHP File Extensions

File extensions that are used to identify the PHP files and scripts, we must use the file with the “.phpextension.

The Older PHP file extensions include

  • .phtml
  • .php3
  • .php4
  • .php5
  • .phps

Is PHP the Right Language?

PHP can do anything related to server-side scripting or more popularly known as the back-end of a website. Some of the compelling reasons to work with PHP are listed below.

  1. It is Open Source and Free, so you can freely download, install, and start developing using it.
  2. PHP is straightforward and easy to understand as the learning curve of PHP is smaller as compared to other back-end languages.
  3. It is Cross-Platform as you can quickly develop and deploy your PHP project to all the operating systems like Windows, Linux, Mac, etc.
  4. It is fast compared to other programming languages.
  5. PHP has in-inbuilt support for MySQL, which is one of the most widely used database management systems. That doesn’t mean you can’t use PHP with other database management systems. You can still use PHP with
  • Postgres
  • Oracle
  • MSSQL Server
  • ODBC etc.
  1. With PHP, we can design static and dynamic webpages.
  2. Perform various file handling operations, send emails, access and modify browser cookies, create sessions, can receive data from forms, etc., and almost everything else that you might want to implement in your web project.
  3. You can easily add, delete, and modify elements within your database through PHP.

PHP in Terms of Market Share

As we see PHP in terms of Market Share, there are over a million websites, and applications on the internet developed using PHP.

The below diagram shows some of the famous sites that use PHP.

popular php sites

Flowchart

The flowchart diagram shown below gives the idea about the underlying architecture of a PHP and how the server handles the PHP requests.

Flowchart

Features of PHP

  • Simple and Ease of Use: It is effortless and easy to use compared to other back-end languages.
  • Error Reporting: It has some predefined error reporting constants to generate a warning and error notices.
  • Platform Independent: It can run on any platform like Windows, Linux, Mac Os, etc.
  • Open Source: As mentioned earlier, PHP is open source. Which means we do not need to pay for using PHP. It is free to download and use.
  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: PHP can run on multiple operating systems like Windows, Unix, Mac Os, Linux etc.
  • Fast and Efficient Performance: It is fast compared to other back-end languages.
  • Interpreted: It is an interpreted language; there is no need for compilation.
  • Object-Oriented Features: It supports Object-Oriented features.
  • Flexibility: PHP is known for its versatility and embedded nature.

Difference Between PHP 5 and PHP 7

There’s nothing wrong with PHP5. The developers and users noticed is the speed and performance of the Website.  A lot of discussions about PHP 5.7, PHP 6, or PHP 7: however, PHP 6 has never reached a steady version. So PHP community has chosen to shift from PHP 5.6 to PHP 7. Users take website loading time too seriously as they want everything instant. To get over it, you should upgrade to PHP 7 if you are using an older version of PHP.

Yes, PHP 7 has been running tremendously because of its amazing features. If businesses choose to enhance their websites from PHP 5 to PHP7, it would be beneficial for their business to grow.

Some of the Main Points

Performance: It is evident that later versions are always better than the previous versions. So if you can execute your code in both versions, you will find the performance of PHP 7 is better than PHP 5.

Return type: In PHP 5, the programmer is not permitted to define the kind of return value of a function, which is the drawback of PHP 5. But in PHP 7, this limitation is overcome, and a programmer is to define the return type of function.

Example

public function area (float $r) : float
{
return 3.14*$r*$r;
}

Error Handling: In PHP 5, it is difficult to manage fatal errors, while in PHP 7, the significant errors are replaced by the exceptions, which can be handled easily. In PHP 7, the engine exception objects have been introduced.

64 Bit Support: PHP 5 doesn’t support 64-bit integer, while PHP 7 supports 64-bit integers as well as larger files.

Anonymous Class: It is not present in PHP5 but present in PHP 7. When you need to execute the class only once to increase the execution time, it comes into the picture.

New Operators: Some new Operators have added in PHP 7, such as < = >, which is called a three-way comparison operator. Another operator has added a null coalescing operator, which symbols as ?? and used to find whether something exists or not.

Example: Three way Comparision operator

Earlier

function sort ($a,$b)

{

if ($a>$b)

return 1;

else if ( $a ==$b)

return 0;

else

return -1;

}

In PHP7

function sort ($a,$b)

{       return $a < = > $b;

}

Example: Null coalescing operator

Earlier

if (isset ($_GET [‘name’]))

{

$name = $_GET [‘name’];

}

else

$name = null;

In PHP7

$name = $_GET [‘name’]?? Null;

Read More: Complete PHP Installation Guide

Conclusion

PHP is an excellent tool for writing dynamic web pages. Non-technical users can quickly learn tricks to make their web pages easier to manage and use.

I hope you have a complete understanding of PHP. For more PHP information, please continue our PHP Tutorial.

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