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Introduction to PHP for beginners


The most popular explanation of just what PHP stands for is "Hypertext Pre-processor". But that would make it HPP, surely? An alternative explanation is that the initials come from the earliest version of the program, which was called Personal Home Page Tools created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994. At least you get the letters "PHP" in the right order!

PHP is probably the most popular scripting language on the web. It is used to enhance web pages. With PHP, you can do things like create username and password login pages, check details from a form, create forums, picture galleries, surveys, and a whole lot more.


It's an open source, server-side, scripting language used for the development of web applications. By scripting language, we mean a program that is script-based (lines of code) written for the automation of tasks.

What does open source mean? Think of a car manufacturer making the secret to its design models and technology innovations available to anyone interested. These design and technology details can be redistributed, modified, and adopted without the fear of any legal repercussions. The world today might have developed an amazing supercar!

By server-sided language, it means PHP doesn't get executed on your computer, but on the computer you requested the page from(The W.W.W). The results are then handed over to you, and displayed in your browser.

Web pages can be designed using HTML. With HTML, code execution is done on the user's browser (client-side). On the other hand, with PHP server-side scripting language, it's executed on the server before it gets to the web browser of the user.

PHP can be embedded in HTML, and it's well suited for web development and the creation of dynamic web pages for web applications, e-commerce applications, and database applications. It's considered a friendly language with abilities to easily connect with MySQL, Oracle, and other databases.

There are other scripting languages such as ASP, Python and Perl. But PHP is preferred for some reasons like;

  1. PHP runs on various platforms such as Windows, Linux, Unix, Mac OS X etc.
  2. PHP is free. It can be downloaded from the official PHP resource:
  3. PHP is easy to learn and runs efficiently on the server side.

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