What is PHP Programming? Main Benefits

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What is PHP

As a web developer, you have probably come across PHP at least once. Today, nearly 75% to 80% of all written web pages were created using PHP. But what is PHP? How did it come to light, and what are the upsides of this programming language? In this article, we will discuss the fundamentals of PHP and get the answers to the above questions. 

What is PHP?

Before getting deeper into the topic, let’s quickly understand what PHP stands for and how it was created. The abbreviation originally meant Personal Homepage. But now, it stands as an acronym for Hypertext Preprocessor. PHP is a scripting language used for web development that currently dominates most of the Web, but can also be implemented in HTLM. Aside from that, you can create other projects with the language, such as Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs).

The first version of PHP was launched back in 1994 and has had eight updates since then. However, the most widely used one as of today is version 7. It runs on a Zend engine and is used for developing web servers. The language is very adaptable and understandable for beginners; however, it offers many advantages for professionals.

A significant differentiating factor of PHP over competitors is the code put on the server. With HTML, the code is generated and sent to the client. With PHP, while the receiver would get the results of running that script, it would not have data on the underlying code. Basically, PHP is harder to track. 

General overview of PHP

Many popular databases, like MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL and others can integrate PHP. Its Synthax is C-like. When compiled as an Apache module on the Unix side, PHP can be pleasingly zippy in its execution. Once started, the MySQL server executes even very complex queries with massive result sets in record-setting time. PHP supports many major protocols, such as POP3, IMAP, and LDAP.

What is PHP used for?

PHP can perform basic functions, like creating, opening, reading, writing, and closing files on a system. Everyday use of PHP is client-side desktop (or any other kind) applications creation. Desktop applications are usually treated with a graphic user interface. PHP is not the best choice for creating desktop applications, however, if you possess the data on how to use PHP’s advanced features, like PHP-GTK (it is a PHP extension and is not offered in the PHP main distribution), these applications can be created and developed. This not being enough, you can create cross-cultural applications.

What is good about PHP is that it can run dynamic content, session tracking, databases, or build e-commerce sites. You can erase, add, or modify elements in your database with its help. Also, data encryption is possible with PHP. Another everyday use is restricting some users from accessing certain pages of your web page. Finally, it allows you to set cookies and access cookies variables.

What are the advantages of PHP?

Okay. But what is so great about PHP that keeps it relevant for 26 years already? Here is a list of advantages that might provide an answer to this question.

1.     Open-source

It means that the original code upon which everything is built is available to everyone. Also, the software can be downloaded and run at no cost, which is a great benefit especially for beginner programmers. 

2.     Fast-adaptable

PHP is not hard for beginners to adapt to. If you have some programming knowledge, you will get the hang of it very soon. The command functions are easy to catch, and the syntax is simple. So even if you are a beginner, PHP will not be that hard to understand. 

3.     Supportive online community

While the official documentation is excellent for providing guidelines for any problem you have, the online community base is supportive. In case issues while programming with PHP, you are provided with fast and helpful support.

4.     Platform independence

Perhaps one of the most incredible things about PHP is that it is platform-independent and can operate on different platforms. This means that you must not have a specific type of operating system to use it; it works on Mac, Windows, or Linux.

5.    Syncs with all Databases

As mentioned before, PHP can connect to different databases. It is convenient for the programmers since they get to use whatever database is best for the application or Web being built.

6.     More time, more testing

Since the language has been in use for over 26 years, it has been experimented with and tested in different contexts. Its long history of existence implies PHP has undergone many improvements. This makes it more convenient and trustworthy.

Is PHP Dying, or is it still relevant?

There have been debates among the programmers on whether PHP is still relevant or phasing out slowly from the frame. The reason is the rising popularity of the “rival” languages like Python, JavaScript, or Golang. 

The answer is yes; it is still relevant. A huge number of companies who use this language will prove that, among which are Facebook and Wikipedia. 

A large number of Product based companies and multinational companies operate on PHP-based frameworks or CRMS. It is also widespread amongst content management systems as well as Web Hosting platforms. 

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