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What is PHP?

PHP, which stands for “PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor” is a widely-used Open Source general purpose scripting language that is especially suited for Web development and can be embedded into HTML. Here are some points that define PHP.

  • PHP is a scripting language but not programming language.
  • PHP is server – side scripting language. PHP code is only recognized by web servers. Web Browsers do not recognize PHP and can’t response it.
  • PHP need a web server in order to run its code. It does not need to be compiled like C, C++ or JAVA.
  • PHP is especially designed to use  with HTML. HTML alone can not provides flexibility to a website. PHP helps to create dynamic pages.
  • PHP syntax is very similar to that of C and Perl. Object oriented PHP syntax is similar to JAVA and C++.
  • The extension of PHP file must be .php. If you place PHP code in a file having extension .htm or .html then PHP code can not do anything.
  • PHP can be used on all major operating system like Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS, RICS OS and others. So, with PHP, we are free to choose any kind of operating system you are familiar with.
  • PHP has support for must of the web server like Apache, IIS and many more.
  • With PHP you are not limited to output HTML. PHP’s abilities includes outputting images, PDF files and even Flash movies (using libswf and Ming) generated on the fly. You can also output easily any text, such as XHTML and any other XML file. PHP can auto generated these files, and save them in the file system, instead of printing it out, forming a server-side cache for your dynamic content.
  • PHP has support for wide range of Databases.
  • PHP also has support for talking to other services using protocols such as LDAP, IMAP, SNMP, NNTP, POP3, HTTP, COM (on Windows) and countless others.

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