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      18.04.2009 13:13
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      Use PHP and smile.

      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.

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        01.02.2007 10:14
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        PHP is the best sever side language in web coding out there by far !!!!

        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.

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        07.07.2003 04:58
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        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
        res: The great thing about PHP is that there are a ton of features you can add to your website using it, but unlike some programmes you don't have to wade through a load of stuff you're never going to use to get to what you want. And the possibilities are practically endless - whatever server-side function you're after, PHP can almost certainly do it (I won't say definitely in case someone can prove me wrong!). Templates, menu systems, catalogues, counters, chatrooms, message boards, ftp, emails, image manipulation, the list of what it can do is endless! Compatibility: Some people hate flash sites (big gaudy, unnecessary things IMHO, and I hate it when people omit the 'skip intro' button!), some have JavaScript disabled for security or personal reasons... Some people are running older computers or using very streamlined browsers which can't handle flashy scripts... But with PHP, none of this matters, as the scripts are executed on the server and it outputs the page to the browser in plain HTML. You just need to make sure your host is PHP enabled (which most paid hosts are, and there are some very reasonably priced ones out there). I am a 'purist' when it comes to website creation - nowt but notepad for me! And PHP satisfies my desire for complete control over my code but makes it much easier for me to maintain my sites. There is also a lot of pre-written code out there that you can customise to meet your needs so there is really no reason not to jump in and have a go! I would recommend PHPtriad if you can find it, it contains Apache, PHP and MySQL. Also check out php.net and any message boards/newsgroups you can find - they're great for learning from other people and there are so many people out there willing to share their skills and help you learn. Oh, and don't forget when you're checking sites on your own computer, that Apache must be running and the URL must start 'http://localhost/' - I
        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!)

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          23.07.2000 22:49
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          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.

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          18.07.2000 20:35
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          .... 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.

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