The PHP language was created by Rasmus Lerdorf in autumn 1994 exclusively for personal purposes – Rasmus wanted to keep traffic statistics of his site (the abbreviation is Personal Home Page). At that time, this language had less capability, but in 1995, it learned to take data of HTML-forms and to work with databases. Since then, it has developed all the time, and today is a convenient tool to create dynamic HTML-pages. The meaning of the abbreviation was also changed: it is now Hypertext Preprocessor.
So what does it mean “PHP”? PHP – is a script language, interpreted by the server side. After running the server script browser receives the results of its work as HTML-page.
You can even configure your server so that the HTML-files can process PHP, so that customers can not even find out whether they receive normal HTML-file or output of a script. This programming language allows you to create high-quality Web-based applications within a very short period of time, getting products, easily modifiable and supported in the future. PHP is simple to learn, and yet is able to meet the needs of professional programmers.
PHP’s abilities are great. Essentially range of the language application is focused on writing of scripts, working on the server side; so, PHP is able to do everything that does any other CGI program. For example, to process data forms, generate dynamic page content, send and receive cookies.
There are three main fields, where you can use PHP.
• Creation of PHP classifieds scripts for run on the server side. The language is most widely used in this way. All, what you need is a PHP parser (as CGI program or server module), web server and browser. To overview the results of the PHP-script in browser, you need a working web server and installed this programming language.
• Creation of scripts for run in the command line. You can create a PHP-script which can run without any server or browser. All you need – is a PHP parser.
• Creation of GUI application, running on the client side. Perhaps, PHP is not the best language for creating such applications, but if you know PHP is very well and would like to use some features in your client applications, you can use PHP-GTK to create such applications.
PHP is available for most operating systems, including Linux, many modifications of Unix (such as HP-UX, Solaris and Open BSD), Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, RISC OS, and many others. PHP also includes support for most modern web servers. For most of the servers PHP has a module, for the others supporting the CGI standard PHP can work as CGI processor.