PHP (originally termed Personal Home Page, and now known as PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is an open source server-side language for web development that was the first open source language created by Rasmus Lerdorf back in 1994.
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Lerdorf originally created this is a direct result of Microsoft’s closed browser platform structure which limited web developers to use MS products at a cost. The PHP language broke the Visual Basic and other languages used to create web apps including early browsers and web pages.
What is PHP?
PHP is a language that works either by embedding it into HTML code or in combination with web languages that have developed over time. PHP uses an interpreter module embedded in the web server or in the CGI (common gateway interface) executable.
The web server interprets and then executes the PHP code that includes all types of data along with the web page. PHP can also be executable in the CLI (Command line interface) which makes it useful for standalone graphical app implementation.
PHP is commonly interpreted by the Zend Engine which is a free software package obtained with a PHP License. PHP works with most if not all web server platforms and operating systems and is a free language and service with a very large global community of developers and libraries.
From 1994, when PHP started out as a simple language for web development, it has evolved into a standard of performance and has been considered a global standard since 2014.
PHP doesn’t use a lot of commands for HTML output, which is a common issue with Perl and C. Essentially, PHP is called upon using HTML embedded codes, where the PHP code is contained in a special start and end instruction for processing, such as Php code ?> this makes going into and out of PHP fast and easy.
What can PHP do?
PHP is not limited to what it can produce on the server side, as such, it can do anything any other CGI program is designed to do, and then a lot more.
PHP has three main scripting areas where it excels:
This is the original intention, and you will need a PHP parser, CGI or server module, a web server and a web browser. To use PHP, you will need to run the have a connected PHP installation to run with the web server. These are lightweight devices that can run on most home-based machines.
Command line scripting.
PHP works unrepentantly of servers and browsers, you only need to use the PHP parser, and most PHP scripts use cron for execution, although you can also use the Windows Task Scheduler too.
Writing desktop applications.
PHP works on all major operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, many Unix variants (including HP-UX, Solaris and OpenBSD), RISC OS, and more.