What is PHP, and why is it used?

PHP explained.

The short acronym PHP is for Hypertext Preprocessor. So, yes, the unusual is that it doesn’t follow the name. Simply, it is a server-side, open-source scripting language. Its primary use is for the development of web applications. It is a scripting language because it is a program that is based on a script, lines of code. The purpose of which they are written is to automate tasks.

It is an open-source language, which means you have full access to the source code of the language itself. So, in the case of PHP, you can visit the PHP website, and view how it was written.

The web pages are designed with HTML. When we are talking about HTML, the code implementation is performed on the user’s browser. That is the client-side. In the case of PHP server-side scripting language, the code is implemented on the server. That is before it goes to the web browser of the user.

It is possible to embed PHP in HTML. It suits very well for web development and building a dynamic web page for web applications, database applications, and e-commerce. In addition, it is rated as a friendly language. It has the ability to connect with Oracle, MySQL, and other databases easily.

What does Scripting Language mean?

A script is a collection of instructions for programming that are constructed at runtime. A scripting language is a language that construes scripts at runtime.

Usually, scripts are embedded in another software.

When scripts are used, the goal is to improve the performance or to make regular tasks for an application. 

As we mentioned, Hypertext Preprocessor is a server-side script, which is interpreted on the server. On the other hand, JavaScript, for example, is a client-side script interpreted by the client browser. Both JavaScript and PHP can be set into HTML pages.

Cases to use PHP. 

There are three main areas where Hypertext Preprocessor is usually used:

  • Command-line scripting – It is perfect for scripts made applying Task Scheduler or cron. Plus, it is excellent for simple text processing.
  • Server-side scripting – This is PHP’s principal field. If you are just starting and practicing at home, this is the perfect form to do it. 
  • Formulating desktop applications – If you have experience using PHP and would be interested in trying some of the advanced PHP features, you can additionally try PHP-GTK to develop such programs.

Why use PHP?

There are various programming languages out there. If you are still wondering why you should use PHP, here are some unbeatable reasons to do so.

  • It is free and open-source.
  • Extensive community document
  • Quick learning compared to another language such as ASP, JSP, etc.
  • Unlike other languages, most web hosting servers support PHP by default. For example, languages such as ASP need IIS. So, it is a more efficient choice.
  • Another advantage that you receive with it is that it’s a server-side scripting language. That indicates you only have to install it on the server. Also, customer computers asking for resources from the server are not required to have PHP installed. Just a web browser is going to be enough.
  • It is updated frequently. Thus, it keeps up-to-date with the latest technology tendencies.
  • It holds inbuilt assistance for operating with MySQL. That doesn’t mean you can’t apply PHP with other database management systems. You can yet apply it with the following:
    • Oracle
    • Postgres
    • MS SQL Server
    • ODBC
  • It is cross-platform. You can use your application on several OS, like Windows, macOS, Linux, etc.

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