Basics of PHP

The PHP Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) is a programming language that allows web developers to create dynamic content that interacts with databases.

PHP is basically used for developing web based software applications. 

PHP started out as a small open source project that evolved as more and more people found out how useful it was. Rasmus Lerdorf unleashed the first version of PHP way back in 1994.

  • PHP is a recursive acronym for "PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor".
  • PHP is a server side scripting language that is embedded in HTML. It is used to manage dynamic content, databases, session tracking, even build entire e-commerce sites.
  • It is integrated with a number of popular databases, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, Sybase, Informix, and Microsoft SQL Server.
  • PHP is pleasingly zippy in its execution, especially when compiled as an Apache module on the Unix side. The MySQL server, once started, executes even very complex queries with huge result sets in record-setting time.
  • PHP supports a large number of major protocols such as POP3, IMAP, and LDAP. PHP4 added support for Java and distributed object architectures (COM and CORBA), making n-tier development a possibility for the first time.
  • PHP is forgiving: PHP language tries to be as forgiving as possible.
  • PHP Syntax is C-Like.

Characteristics / Features of PHP

  • Speed of Development

Because PHP allows you to separate HTML code from scripted elements, you will notice a significant decrease in development time on many projects. In many instances, you will be able to separate the coding stage of a project from the design and build stages. Not only can this make life easier for you as a programmer, but it also can remove obstacles that stand in the way of effective and flexible design.

  • PHP Is Open Source

To many people, open source simply means free, which is, of course, a benefit in itself. Well-maintained open-source projects offer users additional benefits, though. You benefit from an accessible and committed community that offers a wealth of experience in the subject. Chances are that any problem you encounter in your coding can be answered swiftly and easily with a little research. If that fails, a question sent to a mailing list can yield an intelligent, authoritative response.

          You also can be sure that bugs will be addressed as they are found, and that new features will be made available as the need is defined. You will not have to wait for the next commercial release before taking advantage of improvements.

          There is no vested interest in a particular server product or operating system. You are free to make choices that suit your needs or those of your clients, secure that your code will run whatever you decide.

  • Performance

Because of the powerful Zend engine, PHP shows solid performance compared with other server scripting languages, such as ASP, Perl, and Java Servlets, in benchmark tests. To further improve performance, you can acquire a caching tool (Zend Accelerator) from; it stores compiled code in memory, eliminating the overhead of parsing and interpreting source files for every request.

  • Portability

PHP is designed to run on many operating systems and to cooperate with many servers and databases. You can build for a Unix environment and shift your work to NT without a problem. You can test a project with Personal Web Server and install it on a Unix system running on PHP as an Apache module.



  1. What are the features of PHP? Explain. (2 Marks)
  2.  PHP is an Open Source. Justify (2 Marks)
  3. How does PHP support portability? 
  4. Define PHP in short. (2 Marks) 


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