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What Is PHP For?

By Yann, published on 11/09/2019 We Love Prof > Academia > Information Technology > Why Use PHP?

“There are only two kinds of languages: the ones people complain about and the ones nobody uses.”- Bjarne Stroustrup

Today, PHP is used by over a million amateurs and professionals. The scripting language, which was created in the 1990s, is far from being one that nobody uses.

Despite it’s foibles, learning PHP for developing web apps, creating dynamic websites or web applications, or a personal project, is a good thing to have on your CV.

Server-side command lines, strings, HTML pages, PHP files, developments tools, managing databases, etc., the functionality of this programming language can be very useful.

But before you become a professional web developer, we’re going to have a quick look at what PHP does. In this article, we’re going to look some of the terminology, the history of PHP, what the programming language is for, and why you should use it.

PHP: Definitions and Explanations

The term “PHP” might frighten those who are completely new to computers. The first thing you need to know about it is that it’s a programming language.

What is PHP? Programming languages use letters, numbers, and characters to tell computers what to do. (Source: 3844328)

A programming language is a code written with letters, numbers, and symbols that allows us to create things using computers. It also allows us to configure websites.

There are many different programming languages that are used for different tasks such as creating web pages, programmes, video games, etc. Common languages include Java, C++, JavaScript, Python, HTML, etc. There’s also PHP.

PHP stands for “Hypertext Preprocessor”. This is an open-source programming language which means anyone can use it.

Anyone can learn to use PHP and everyone can use it. The language is mainly used in creating web pages. PHP uses HTTP servers which are used for most web pages.

PHP tends to make programming pages easier. Web engineers and developers can put in just a few lines of HTML and you’re ready to go. When it comes to PHP, it’s also quite simple. You’ll need to start with tags:

  • <?php: for the beginning.
  • ?>: for the end of the code.

Thanks to these tags, the server will understand that it has PHP code to work with.

PHP is a dynamic language that’s read by the server. If an engineer codes in PHP, the users won’t see the PHP code as it’ll be interpreted by the server.

PHP can be used with various operating systems. Whether you’re using Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac, or Unix, PHP can be read. This is a huge advantage for web developers working with different customers who need a universal language. Web servers work with PHP.

PHP is a programming language that’s free and used to create web pages on any server or any operating system. You can create all types of web pages, blogs, and databases, etc.

The History of PHP

PHP was created in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf. He wanted to create a language that allowed him to see how many people were looking at his CV on his website. A bit like what LinkedIn does now.

Before creating PHP (which stood for “Personal Home Page tools”), Rasmus Lerforf used C and Perl. He developed PHP and shared the source code in 1996. This was great for computer enthusiasts.

When was PHP invented? PHP was invented way back in 1994! (Source: simplu27)

In 1997, two students, Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans, created the Zend Engine, the heart of PHP coding.

Since then, PHP has continued to evolve. People have jumped on the opportunity to adapt the language to their needs.

Nowadays, there’s a whole team of developers regularly creating new functions for PHP and making it more accessible for users. We’re now up to version 7 of PHP.

PHP is primarily a programming language created by and for its users. It’s constantly evolving and changing as passionate developers continue to use it.

What’s PHP For?

PHP is a programming language that’s principally used for making websites. As we said earlier, PHP allows you to create dynamic web pages and not static ones (like you can do with HTML and CSS).

How do you create a dynamic website? Are you thinking about using PHP for your next website? (Source: fancycrave1)

So what is a dynamic web page?

A dynamic web page adapts to the user. The page displayed will be different depending on who’s viewing it. This is good for member areas, for example. The page will display according to who’s signed in. Each page is, therefore, personal. Static pages will be the same for everyone.

PHP is very useful for improving the user experience online. You need to use a web server as well as a browser in order to correctly code what displays on the screen.

PHP is known for being quite simple. You don’t need to have a degree in web development to learn how to code in PHP. However, it can take some getting used to. You need to follow each step and start off with some easy things.

Once you start getting the hang of it, PHP can be used to develop websites and make them interactive and attractive. Learning to code in PHP is worth it!

Websites aren’t the only thing you can do with PHP. In addition to being used in HTML code, PHP can display images, PDF, text, and animation. There are plenty of things you can do with PHP.

Reasons to Use PHP

As you’ll have understood, the first reason to start using PHP is because it’s good for beginners. Anyone can access it. To create a basic website or a professional website, PHP adapts to the user.

Why should you use PHP? PHP can save you time! (Source: Bru-nO)

PHP also has a large community around it that develops and tests new features and functions. As an open-source language, plenty of enthusiastic developers are involved.

You can find all the information you’ll need about the language and it’s available for free. You can interact with the community and get advice and tips on how to use it.

Most documents on PHP are available in many different languages. Additionally, there are several CMS (content management systems) that use PHP. These CMS can be used to create web pages without knowing how to code. WordPress and Joomla are among the most famous ones. Furthermore, PHP is good for databases. It can be used with MySQL, for example.

Using PHP saves developers a lot of time. Instead of long lines of code, PHP allows simple functions for files, images, calculations, and databases. As you’ll have understood, the main goal of PHP is to help in web development through the functions developed by a community of users.

It’s also a powerful language that can deal with millions of visits each day. This is one of the key features for many users. A lot of big businesses use it for their websites. This is a great test of its reliability.

Managing databases, development environments, HTML, syntax, script, etc., learning to programme isn’t as difficult as you might have thought. You just need to get some training in PHP and start towards becoming a web developer, programmer, etc.

If you want to learn more about the PHP programming language, object-oriented programming, server-side scripting, web programming, etc., have a look at some of the tutors on Superprof and you’ll soon be making your own dynamic website thanks to tutorials.

There are three types of tutorials offered by the tutors on Superprof: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials. There are a number of reasons why to pick one type of tutorial over another.

Face-to-face tutorials offer tailored tutoring and you’ll be the tutor’s focus for the entire class. Of course, this means that you’ll pay a premium for a premium service. However, this is the most cost-effective type of tuition.

Online tutorials are similar but they’re conducted over video conferencing software such as Skype. Since the tutor doesn’t have travel costs, they can charge less for their tutorials. While these types of tutorials wouldn’t be great for a sculpture class, they can be really effective for subjects like IT and computing.

Group tutorials are usually the cheapest option for the student as they’re sharing the cost of the tutor’s time with the other students in the class. This also means that you won’t get as much attention from the tutor as they have a number of students to worry about. That said, if you and a group of friends want to learn more about PHP, this could be a great way to do it without spending a fortune.

Don’t forget that most of the tutors on Superprof offer the first hour of tutoring for free. Use this time to discuss what you’re after and work out whether or not a particular tutor is the right one for you.

How To Learn PHP

If you are new to PHP, then there are various ways you can learn about using the language. Online courses, informative websites, one to one tuition – the (virtual) world is your oyster!

If you are wondering how such a complicated subject can be taught without someone explaining it face to face, then you may be surprised when you follow our advice and check out these online resources because they really are descriptive and self-explanatory. No questions needed!

Of course, if you do have questions though or if you simply prefer the human to human contact then you can easily find a tutor who can work with you either face to face or via Skype/email.

Code Academy

Code Academy Pro is one of the principal avenues for learning to code online. You can access their premium service which includes: quizzes, portfolio-building projects, and customized paths— it is your blueprint for learning new skills.

Monthly payments for pro members cost £31.99 amounting to £383.88 however you can cut down this price to just £191.88 – a saving of £192.00 – by paying upfront for the year and getting instant access to all the website’s great features.

Take a look at the Learn PHP syllabus offered by Code Academy, a 20-hour long course.

Overview

Why Learn PHP?

PHP is a widely used server-side programming language that’s become increasingly fast and powerful over the years. PHP works well with HTML and databases, making it a great language for anyone interested in building dynamic web applications.

Take-Away Skills

In this course, you’ll be exposed to fundamental programming concepts in PHP.

Upcoming Releases

We’re building new and exciting content for this course, keep an eye out for this fresh content coming soon!

Note on Prerequisites:

Some basic HTML is helpful before taking this course.

Syllabus

1 Getting Started with PHP
Introduction to PHP
Interactive Lesson
PRO
Introduction to PHP
Multiple Choice Quiz

2 Learn PHP Variables

3 Introduction to Functions in PHP

4 PHP Built-in Functions

5 Learn PHP Arrays

6 HTML Form Handling in PHP

7 Conditionals and Logic in PHP

8 Loops in PHP”

Guru 99

Guru 99 is another site which offers PHP language lessons – this time it’s “PHP Tutorial for Beginners: Learn in 7 Days”. So, if learning a new language (as it were) in just one week sounds like an idea, then go and visit their website and check out all the details and terms and conditions.

For now, here is a brief overview of the course on offer.

Training Summary

PHP is the most popular scripting language on the web. Without PHP Facebook, Yahoo, Google wouldn’t have exist. The course is geared to make you a PHP pro. Once you digest all basics, the course will help you create your very own Opinion Poll application.
What should I know?
Just a full form of PHP would be enough to learn this course. This tutorial is designed for beginners with little or no PHP experience.

Training Syllabus

PHP Fundamentals

  • Tutorial What is PHP? Write your first PHP Program
  • Tutorial XAMPP & Netbeans installation
  • Tutorial Data Types, Variables and Operators
  • Tutorial Comments, Include & Require
  • Tutorial Arrays in PHP

Lets introduce some Logic!

  • Tutorial PHP Control Structures: If else, Switch Case
  • Tutorial PHP Loop: For, ForEach, While, Do While
  • Tutorial How to create PHP strings and why to use strings?
  • Tutorial Functions in PHP
  • Tutorial PHP Forms
  • Tutorial Cookies & Sessions
  • Tutorial File Processing
  • Tutorial Error Handling
  • Tutorial Regular expression

Advance Stuff

  • Tutorial MAIL
  • Tutorial Database Access
  • Tutorial OOPS in PHP
  • Tutorial Using Date
  • Tutorial Security functions
  • Tutorial XML,DOM, Parsers with PHP

Your First PHP project!

  • Tutorial Create an Opinion Poll Application using PHP
  • Tutorial How to create Ajax based PHP application
  • Tutorial MVC Framework Tutorial: CodeIgniter Example
  • Tutorial CakePHP Framework Tutorial for Beginners

Check!

  • Tutorial PHP vs JavaScript: Must Know Differences
  • Join PHP Live Project Training
  • Check PHP Interview Questions and Answers”

Greater Brighton Metropolitan College – MET

While the above online courses are great for those who want flexible learning and something that’s conveniently available to them from the comfort of their home, some of you might want a more conventional learning experience by learning from a teacher. You may also be looking to enrol on a course that is recognised nationally, like those offered by UK universities and colleges.

MET College in Brighton offers a specialised PHP course, which looks like the following:

“PHP and MYSQL

Course overview

Course Type: Adult qualifications and professional, Adult leisure and hobby, Open to international students Campus: Central Brighton Campus Entry requirements: You must be competent using folders, editing text and navigating around the C:drive.

Why this course?

This IT course aims to provide a practical introduction to programming server side applications with PHP and MySQL.

Server-side processing is at the core of many major websites whether you’re shopping online, booking a plane ticket online, or simply leaving a message on your favourite social media site.”

City London

Furthermore, City London University is a highly ranked institution offering courses on Information Technology subjects. Its Web Programming using PHP/MySQL Part 1 Short Course is constructed as follows:

Key information

Duration:10 weekly classes
Time:18:30 – 20:30
Fees:£430.00
Course Code:CS1559
Location:Northampton Square

Why choose this course?

This short course will enable those already familiar with HTML to build more powerful web solutions and advance to dynamic, database-enabled, website/intranet programming and applications using the open-source PHP scripting language and MySQL database.

The Web Programming using PHP and MySQL short course is aimed at those who have successfully completed the Building Websites with HTML5 and CSS3 or have a good understanding of HTML and how web pages work.

This practical course takes place over ten weekly evenings in our central London location.

Course overview

The short course broadly comprises the fundamentals of programming with PHP, relational database design and operations with MySQL, and web solutions using PHP and MySQL.

By the end of the short course, you will be able to:

  • Understand the basics of programming in PHP
  • Write and debug procedural PHP scripts
  • Understand fundamental relational database concepts
  • Design a relational database suitable for a blog
  • Code a simple content management system
  • Understand the importance of web application security.

Teaching & assessment

What will I learn?

PHP, MySQL, LAMP: what they are and what they do. Static vs dynamic pages. Client-side vs server-side scripting. Obtaining PHP and MySQL software. Resources and tools e.g. manuals, books, websites, and development environments. Using XAMPP as a development environment.

Basics of programming with PHP – variables, constants, data types, operators, expressions, control structures & decision making, functions, type-casting, program flow. Documenting your code. Simple templating with PHP. Organising your application. Finding and fixing bugs in your code. HTTP client-server communication: HTTP headers, server response codes.

MySQL: What is SQL. Relational databases vs spreadsheets. MySQL in the terminal. Relational database design. MySQL’s data types. CRUD operations: create, read, update and delete data. Primary, foreign and unique keys. Getting results from more than one table: joins. One-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-many relationships. Column and table aliases. Changing table structure. Table types. Aggregate queries.

PHP, MySQL and Apache admin: php.ini, my.ini & httpd.conf. Understanding PHP errors.

PHP and MySQL on the web: Connecting to MySQL using PHP. Querying the database and using the results. Dynamic templating. Single and multi-article templates. PHP’s superglobals. Accepting user input through the URL and forms. Forms: validation and giving user feedback. Database CRUD operations through a web front end. Defensive programming. Security considerations. Working as a web developer. What to learn next.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Understand the basics of programming in PHP
  • Write and debug procedural PHP scripts
  • Understand fundamental relational database concepts
  • Design a simple relational database
  • Code a simple content management system
  • Understand the importance of web application security”

Learning PHP With Superprof

Looking for a tutor who can teach you in your own home around your existing commitments? Or someone to work with you remotely when you get in from school/work in the evening?

Superprof lets you search through a wide database of tutors. All you need to do is enter your postcode and the subject you’re looking for a tutor for, and you’ll be shown all the available tutors in your area, as well as those offering remote tuition.

Websites such as Superprof don’t solely specialise in the provision of physics or maths tutors, so if you’re looking for multiple tutors – for example, one for PHP, and one for another distantly-related subject – then you can also find the best tutors for you for those subjects on the site.

This makes it a great one-stop-shop for all your tuition needs!

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