PHP was launched in 1995 and since then it has been used for developing dynamic web pages and robust web applications. It works with HTML to display the dynamic elements on the page. PHP only parses code within its delimiters and anything outside its delimiters is sent directly to the output and not parsed by PHP.
PHP is the fourth popular computer programming language in the world after JAVA, C and VISUAL BASIC. PHP can be used for command-line scripting and client-side GUI applications. It is easy to learn and can be deployed on most web servers, many operating systems and platforms, and can be used with many relational database management systems (RDBMS). PHP is absolutely free of cost as it is open source. It can be embedded with HTML code and is compatible with Apache, IIS, Oracle and Sybase.
PHP strength lies mostly in LAMP. The LAMP architecture has become popular in the Web industry as a way of deploying inexpensive, reliable, scalable, secure web applications. PHP is commonly used as the P in this bundle alongside Linux, Apache and MySQL. It also works with several lesser-known servers, including Alex Belits’ fhttpd, Microsoft’s Personal Web Server, AOLServer, and Omnicentrix’s Omniserver application server.
As a standard CGI program, PHP can be installed on any UNIX machine. With support for the new FastCGI standard, PHP can take advantage of the speed improvements gained through this mechanism. Further, as an Apache module, PHP becomes an extremely powerful and lightning fast alternative to CGI programming.
PHP supports PostgreSQL which is an advanced free RDBMS. PHP supports embedding PostgreSQL “SQL queries” directly in .html files. It can also be used to create customized HTTP-based authentication mechanisms for the Apache web server. PHP supports typed variables, arrays and even Perl-like associative arrays. These can all be passed from one web page to another using either GET or POST method forms.
Moreover, PHP has awesome access logging capabilities and users can maintain their own hit counting and logging. It does not use the system’s central access log files in any way and it provides real-time access monitoring. The Log Viewer Script provides a quick summary of the accesses to a set of pages owned by an individual user. In addition to that, the package can be configured to generate footer on every page which shows access information.
However, PHP also has its own drawbacks also. PHP’s type checking is very loose, potentially causing problems. The variables in PHP are not really considered to have a type. Finally, for some reason big corporations feel that if they’re not paying for something, then it’s not worth buying.