PHP is a reverse acronym for “Hypertext Preprocessor” and is one of the popular and most used server side, cross platform scripting language. The word preprocessor indicates that PHP is executed before the HTML page is loaded. Though PHP was originally designed to create dynamic web pages later it became more famous with the usage in popular CMS like WordPress.
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How PHP Works?
In order to run a PHP page the web server should be enabled with PHP interpreter. When a PHP page is loaded on a browser, the PHP interpreter first communicates with databases, file systems and email servers and then delivers the request to the web server. The processed response from the web server is then returned to the web browser. Below is the simple representation of how PHP works:
This is in contrast with a HTML page loading where the web server sends the HTML data to browser without any interpreter.
PHP is widely used in many software applications like WordPress.
- PHP works closely with a web server, which enables you to build interactive and dynamic web pages.
- Generally used to develop web based applications.
- Used for creating dynamic web content with advanced featured like session id tracking.
- It is also used to build a complete ecommerce websites.
PHP is mainly focused on server-side scripting, so you can do things any other CGI program can do, such as collect form data, generate dynamic page content, or send and receive cookies.
Output with PHP
PHP is a server side, cross platform, HTML embedded scripting language. It can be used in multiple manners to produce the required results. Below are the different methods for using PHP code to display the word “Hello”.
<? echo("<h1>Hello</h>"); ?>
<?php echo("<h1>Hello</h>"); ?>
<script language="php"> echo("<h1>Hello</h>"); </script>
<% echo("<h1>Hello</h>"); %>
How PHP Helps Webmasters?
One of the reason PHP become more popular is because it is very simple, easy to use and have the following advantages:
- Reduces the site creation time especially for complex and larger sites.
- It can be used to offer custom information to different users.
- Webmasters can create powerful shopping cart features for their ecommerce websites using PHP.
PHP also supports both structural and object oriented programming.
Using PHP within HTML
PHP code can be directly placed inside an HTML document to display the required output. Below is an example PHP code placed inside an HTML document:
<html> <head> <title>WebNots</title> </head> <body> <?php echo " Web Consulting Services"; ?> </body> </html>
The output of this file will be: Web Consulting Services.
Where PHP Can be Used?
Besides how to use there are three major areas PHP scripts can be used.
Server Side Scripting
In order to use PHP as a server side scripting language there are three things required – The PHP interpreter or parser, a server and a browser. The server should be connected to a PHP environment and the output can be viewed on a web browser.
In addition to real live server the PHP setup can also be established locally on your computer for testing, development and practice purposes.
Command Line Scripting
Command line scripting allows you to run a PHP script without the need of a web server only with the help of a interpreter or parser. This is generally used on UNIX and Linux platforms for executing scripts using cron.
Writing Desktop Applications
PHP also can be used to develop desktop applications though it is not an ideal option.