We can define PHP as an HTML-embedded scripting language. PHP has been designed keeping in mind the programmers who have already been working with other popular programming languages like C, Java Perl.Therefore to make the transition easier or rather we can say to make PHP easier to understand it syntax have been kept similar to that of C,Perl,Java.PHP may also be defined as a Rapid application tool (RAD) for Web because it enables web developers to create dynamic web pages quickly.Until recently scripting on Internet was not that popular between web developers.Nobody tried to learn it. But today, more and more people have been building their own websites from scratch and scripting languages have become more and more important. Because of this increasing popularity of scripting languages,they are becoming easier to learn and PHP is one of the easiest and most powerful yet.PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor and is a server-side scripting language. This means that the script is run on your web server, not in the user's browser, so web developers do not need to worry about compatibility issues. PHP is relatively new when you compare it to other similar languages such as Perl (CGI) and Java, but is quickly becoming one of the most popular scripting languages on the Internet.
You may be wondering why you should choose PHP over other languages such as Perl or even why you should learn a scripting language at all,but let me tell you that scripting languages will play a very vital role in the evolutions of future programming language. I will tell you about learning scripting languages first. Learning a scripting language, or even understanding one, can open up huge new possibilities for your website. Although you can download pre-made scripts from sites like Hotscripts, these will often contain built in ads from the author or will not do exactly what you want. With an understanding of a scripting language you can easily edit these scripts to do what you want, or even create your own scripts.
Using scripts on your website allows you to add many new 'interactive' features like feedback forms, counters, message boards, guestbooks and even more advanced features like content management,portal systems , advertising managers etc. With these sort of things on your website you will find that it gives a more professional look. As well as this, anyone wanting to work in the site development industry will find that it is much easier to get a job if they know a scripting language.Knowing a scripting language will always work to your advantage.When someone visits your PHP web page, the PHP code is processed in your server.It then sees which parts it needs to show to visitors(content and pictures) and which part needs to be hidden(file operations, math calculations, etc.) then converts your PHP into HTML. After the processing is completed into HTML, it sends the web page to your visitor's web browser.
What can PHP do for you
PHP will allow you to:
* Create large websites very quickly.
* Create a customized and friendly user experience for visitors based on information that you have gathered from them.
* Create various online tools and gadgets.Check out PHP - HotScripts for examples of the great things that are possible with PHP.
* Allow creation of professional shopping carts for e-commerce websites.
What you should already know before start learning PHP
Before starting to learn PHP there are certain pre requisites. It is important that you have a basic understanding and experience in the following:
* Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) - Know the syntax and especially HTML Forms.
* Basic programming knowledge - This isn't mandatory, but if you have any traditional programming experience it will make learning PHP a great deal easier.
What do you need to start programming with PHP
As mentioned earlier, PHP is a server-side scripting language. This means that, although your users will not need to install new software, your web host will need to have PHP set up on their server. It should be listed as part of your package but if you don't know if it is installed you can find out using the first script in this tutorial. If you server does not support PHP you can ask your web host to install it for you as it is free to download and install.
Writing PHP on your computer is actually very simple. You don't need any special software, except for a text editor (like Notepad in Windows). Run this and you are ready to write your first PHP script.
How to Save Your PHP Pages
If you have PHP inserted into your HTML and want the web browser to interpret it correctly, then you must save the file with a .php extension, instead of the standard .html extension. So be sure to check that you are saving your files correctly. Instead of index.html, it should be index.php if there is PHP code in the file.
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