“There are only two kinds of languages: the ones people complain about and the ones nobody uses.”- Bjarne Stroustrup
Today, PHP is used by over a million amateurs and professionals. The scripting language, which was created in the 1990s, is far from being one that nobody uses.
Despite it’s foibles, learning PHP for developing web apps, creating dynamic websites or web applications, or a personal project, is a good thing to have on your CV.
Server-side command lines, strings, HTML pages, PHP files, developments tools, managing databases, etc., the functionality of this programming language can be very useful.
But before you become a professional web developer, we’re going to have a quick look at what PHP does. In this article, we're going to look some of the terminology, the history of PHP, what the programming language is for, and why you should use it.
PHP: Definitions and Explanations
The term “PHP” might frighten those who are completely new to computers. The first thing you need to know about it is that it’s a programming language.
A programming language is a code written with letters, numbers, and symbols that allows us to create things using computers. It also allows us to configure websites.
PHP stands for “Hypertext Preprocessor”. This is an open-source programming language which means anyone can use it.
Anyone can learn to use PHP and everyone can use it. The language is mainly used in creating web pages. PHP uses HTTP servers which are used for most web pages.
PHP tends to make programming pages easier. Web engineers and developers can put in just a few lines of HTML and you’re ready to go. When it comes to PHP, it’s also quite simple. You’ll need to start with tags:
- <?php: for the beginning.
- ?>: for the end of the code.
Thanks to these tags, the server will understand that it has PHP code to work with.
PHP is a dynamic language that’s read by the server. If an engineer codes in PHP, the users won’t see the PHP code as it’ll be interpreted by the server.
PHP can be used with various operating systems. Whether you’re using Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac, or Unix, PHP can be read. This is a huge advantage for web developers working with different customers who need a universal language. Web servers work with PHP.
PHP is a programming language that’s free and used to create web pages on any server or any operating system. You can create all types of web pages, blogs, and databases, etc.
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The History of PHP
PHP was created in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf. He wanted to create a language that allowed him to see how many people were looking at his CV on his website. A bit like what LinkedIn does now.
Before creating PHP (which stood for “Personal Home Page tools”), Rasmus Lerforf used C and Perl. He developed PHP and shared the source code in 1996. This was great for computer enthusiasts.
In 1997, two students, Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans, created the Zend Engine, the heart of PHP coding.
Since then, PHP has continued to evolve. People have jumped on the opportunity to adapt the language to their needs.
Nowadays, there’s a whole team of developers regularly creating new functions for PHP and making it more accessible for users. We’re now up to version 7 of PHP.
PHP is primarily a programming language created by and for its users. It’s constantly evolving and changing as passionate developers continue to use it.
What’s PHP For?
PHP is a programming language that’s principally used for making websites. As we said earlier, PHP allows you to create dynamic web pages and not static ones (like you can do with HTML and CSS).
So what is a dynamic web page?
A dynamic web page adapts to the user. The page displayed will be different depending on who’s viewing it. This is good for member areas, for example. The page will display according to who’s signed in. Each page is, therefore, personal. Static pages will be the same for everyone.
PHP is very useful for improving the user experience online. You need to use a web server as well as a browser in order to correctly code what displays on the screen.
PHP is known for being quite simple. You don’t need to have a degree in web development to learn how to code in PHP. However, it can take some getting used to. You need to follow each step and start off with some easy things.
Once you start getting the hang of it, PHP can be used to develop websites and make them interactive and attractive. Learning to code in PHP is worth it!
Websites aren’t the only thing you can do with PHP. In addition to being used in HTML code, PHP can display images, PDF, text, and animation. There are plenty of things you can do with PHP.
Reasons to Use PHP
As you’ll have understood, the first reason to start using PHP is because it’s good for beginners. Anyone can access it. To create a basic website or a professional website, PHP adapts to the user.
PHP also has a large community around it that develops and tests new features and functions. As an open-source language, plenty of enthusiastic developers are involved.
You can find all the information you’ll need about the language and it’s available for free. You can interact with the community and get advice and tips on how to use it.
Most documents on PHP are available in many different languages. Additionally, there are several CMS (content management systems) that use PHP. These CMS can be used to create web pages without knowing how to code. WordPress and Joomla are among the most famous ones. Furthermore, PHP is good for databases. It can be used with MySQL, for example.
Using PHP saves developers a lot of time. Instead of long lines of code, PHP allows simple functions for files, images, calculations, and databases. As you’ll have understood, the main goal of PHP is to help in web development through the functions developed by a community of users.
It’s also a powerful language that can deal with millions of visits each day. This is one of the key features for many users. A lot of big businesses use it for their websites. This is a great test of its reliability.
Managing databases, development environments, HTML, syntax, script, etc., learning to programme isn’t as difficult as you might have thought. You just need to get some training in PHP and start towards becoming a web developer, programmer, etc.
If you want to learn more about the PHP programming language, object-oriented programming, server-side scripting, web programming, etc., have a look at some of the tutors on Superprof and you'll soon be making your own dynamic website thanks to tutorials.
There are three types of tutorials offered by the tutors on Superprof: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials. There are a number of reasons why to pick one type of tutorial over another.
Face-to-face tutorials offer tailored tutoring and you'll be the tutor's focus for the entire class. Of course, this means that you'll pay a premium for a premium service. However, this is the most cost-effective type of tuition.
Online tutorials are similar but they're conducted over video conferencing software such as Skype. Since the tutor doesn't have travel costs, they can charge less for their tutorials. While these types of tutorials wouldn't be great for a sculpture class, they can be really effective for subjects like IT and computing.
Group tutorials are usually the cheapest option for the student as they're sharing the cost of the tutor's time with the other students in the class. This also means that you won't get as much attention from the tutor as they have a number of students to worry about. That said, if you and a group of friends want to learn more about PHP, this could be a great way to do it without spending a fortune.
Don't forget that most of the tutors on Superprof offer the first hour of tutoring for free. Use this time to discuss what you're after and work out whether or not a particular tutor is the right one for you.