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What is PHP?
PHP is a server-side scripting language. It was initially designed for web development, but it is also used as a general-purpose programing language. Over the years, it has grown up to a level to incorporate a command line interface capability and it can be used to develop a client-side Graphical User Interface (GUI) applications as well.
What is PHP Programming Used for?
PHP works on all major operating systems, including Linux and many Unix variants, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and more. It also supports most web servers, including Apache, IIS and others. It gives developers the freedom to choose an operating system and a web server, as well as to choose between procedural or object-oriented programing, or both.
PHP is used in these main areas of development:
Web Pages and Web-based PHP Application
Almost all web pages and web applications use PHP to provide high-degree of customization, high-quality interface, ability to perform online transactions, and integrate with a database system. PHP offers a reliable, three-tiered architecture to achieve these features. Consequently, over 80% of the websites for server side programming are built using PHP.
Web Content Management Systems
PHP is capable of supporting multiple databases, including MySQL, Oracle, and MS Access and it is capable of interacting with other services using protocols such as IMAP, LDAP, POP3, NNTP, SNMP, HTTP, and COM. Therefore, it has been used for creating popular web Content Management Systems (CMS), including WordPress and its plugins, user-facing portion of Facebook, Joomla, Drupal, and more.
With the use of PHP frameworks like CodeIgniter and CakePHP, it allows creation of eCommerce applications. Highly used eCommerce platforms like Magento and OpenCart are based on PHP.
PHP can also be used for creating desktop graphical user interface (GUI) based application. Several tools, like PHP-GTK 2, DevelStudio, and ZZEE PHP GUI allow scripting in PHP and compiling it into a standalone .exe-file later.
Image Processing and Graphic Design
The PHP programing language can also be used for image manipulation. It can integrate with various image processing libraries like GD library, Imagine ,and ImageMagick to manipulate and format images. This feature is essential for building websites and web applications.
The tool Image_Graph makes PHP available for creating graphs, charts, scatter-dot plots, and other means of graphical representations. This feature is used in client-side desktop apps, eCommerce websites, and other applications where data needs to be presented in a graphical manner.
Advantages of Using PHP
The language is supported by numerous frameworks, tools, and libraries which make it very versatile, but it also has other advantages:
Since it was designed to work especially with websites, it has some built-in features that enable php developers to create webpages very fast.
Extensive Support and Extensions
PHP offers extensive library support and it has many extensions that make it flexible and resourceful. It also supports many databases. Projects developed in PHP can be greatly modified and adapted to the customers’ needs.
The PHP platform has several layers of security, making it excellent for supporting online transaction and transfer of sensitive data. It also helps in prevention from attacks. It is very stable, and bugs can be found and eliminated quickly.