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PHP, at last, brings the touch of elegance to webpage design. No, I'm not talking about making the front end of your page look pretty - loads of people are already a dab hand at that (Just look at the Ciao.Com page layout) - I'm talking about the guts of the page. I am talking about the unseen wizardry that will either sink or float your page.
PHP has style. It is a real programming language but it does not get into the dots, blobs and squiggles that some of the older (Perl, for example) languages can descend into. On the same token, PHP is not just a set of extra tabs that closely mimic HTML (Some would say that ColdFusion is just that). You can do a lot with PHP. You can do a lot more with PHP4. Array handling is a dream, your PHP scripting can take clumps of information that a Posting Form might be able to churn out and then sculpt it into anything it needs to be.
Ah yes, SQL. SQL is the King of all Database Languages (I could and I should write an entire opinion on SQL alone). PHP supports connections to such little gems as mSQL and MySQL. MySQL is wonderfully free now. If you are starting up a company then you can get your Linux OS for free, your PHP for free, Apache for free and then your SQL for free. Lovely. PHP supports a range of darling commands and queries to the SQL database. For example, with PHP you can find out the name of a SQL column, the type of data it holds (Ints, Chars, etc) and the maximum size for that field... what a perfect way to build a generic validation function.
PHP supports some powerful encryption tools. It is possible to configure your copy of PHP to use the deep and libraries. With the twin tools of Public and Secret Keys you need never worry about data privacy again. Well, not as far as code breaking goes... if your password is still "ITgod" then it will still be the first password the hacker tries :)
Also under Manx on ciao! thanks for reading.
I agree with other reviews this is definently the best server side script that there is, the syntax is easy and you can get a lot off support for it online. Including php's website which has a library off extensive knowlage on the functions which is more then i can say for microsofts asp language, its completely free which i love and i can sit there for hours writting a website with no problems, also easy to install, i recommend this language by far comparing it to the rest off the server side languages.
I honestly can't think of anything computer related that has been more valuable to me than PHP. Price: A major factor in what I choose to use, being on benefits. And the best price, in my oh-so-humble opinion, is free! Costs naff-all but a little time and effort to set up and is *so* worth it. If you had to pay for PHP, and the price was sensible and affordable I would probably pay, and I don't pay if I can get something free that does the job. Installation/setup: Takes a little time and effort, you need to read the readme files carefully and follow the instructions, but I managed without too much trouble and have never needed to wade in and faff about with settings to fix it, unlike some applications/services. Once you have it set up you're set for (the) life (of the computer/server). I recommend installing it on your web server (if it isn't already) and your own hard drive (so you can preview without uploading) Ease of learning/use: There are so many tutorials out there that it is easy to find out what you want. There are also books available (try Waterstones etc) packed with information and exercises to do (and the publisher's site has a download of all of the example source code to save you typing it out by hand). It's pretty easy, in my opinion, to look at the source code and work out what does what, then you can experiment with changing values and seeing what happens. And whereas with HTML if you get it wrong it just doesn't show, PHP can display an error message so you can pinpoint the problem and sort it out (though a text editor with a line counter does come in handy here!) Power: Loads of it! PHP has made my (many) sites so much easier to maintain, and that's just with a handful of simple scripts. To be honest I have only explored a fraction of PHP's capabilities! I've not yet used it with databases, for example, though I hope to sometime soon when I have learnt how. Featu
was stressing that something had gone wrong until I remembered I'd forgotten that! (I had taken a complete break from website creation for several months though!)
I'm still fairly new to PHP having only been using it for 4 the last 4 months, but I've gained a lot of respect for the language. My experience with it is on unix machines using the Apache server as part of a large professional Web Site. Though we aren't using too much of it yet in our live pages it's fast becoming the first language we consider when we need a light weight, simple solution for some dynamic pages. PHP is also available for Windows based servers and a number of servers other than apache. It's comparable with ASP on the Windows platform, but from my limited experience of ASP I find PHP easier and more stable. PHP 3 has a lot in comman with PERL, but is a lot simpler to use than the later. PHP 4 makes the language more similar and introduces some much need language constructs that are lacking from 3. My experience with PHP has been building dynamic forms which mix PHP and HTML in the page to generate a final HTML page on the server side. PHP has greatly sped up the rate I can prduce these pages, but if there's any cost it comes in the structure of the programs I've produced. I foudn it initially a bit unnerving writing in PHP where HTML and PHP are merged round each other. I was more familiar with the PERL model of web programming where the HTML and code were separate. By mixing with HTML PHP makes it easier to build dynamic pages, but makes it much harder to produce a well structured code. Even now I find it hard to produce something that I consider to hold good code structure whilst still maintaining a simple tie with HTML. PHP provides good database connectivity, particularly with the free MySQL database system. Though I recently found connecting it to Oracle databases harder than I'd hoped for, mainly due to a lack of documentation on the matter. For my devlopments I've been relying on online documentation, which is generally good, but yet to rival PERL in terms of quantity. PHP is highly recommend it. Compiling it into Apache doesn't add much to the cost of starting and running Apache and it provides a light wieght way to build a dynamic web site. It has something to offer both small sites and very large sites. It's fast becoming an essential web development tool.
.... and no mistaking. I've been using PHP for quite some time now and every single project I run on a web server uses it to some degree. Even for something as simple as dynamic page generation it makes the whole process a breeze. Databse connectivity is ample and no doubt you'll be complaining about support it has that you don't need. The product itself is freeware and runs on WIN32 as well as many UNIX variants. It integrates superbly with the Apache web server and can provide some excellent extensions to what is already a very stable platform. Class support is provided and with sites such as phpclasses out there you're bound to find what you need in terms of pre-generated code with minimum hassle. PHP can run as both a CGI app and as a compiled apache module, which is significantly faster. I'd suggest checking out the website to see exactly what's happening with features, the new version 4 is excellent as well. If you've got an INTRANET site then dont even think, just go get it. If you've got a website or are thinking of it and your server either has support for or can have PHP installed then I'd highly recommend it over ASP, etc any day.