Newest Review: ... 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 ... more
Best thing I ever learnt!
Member Name: celosia
Date: 07/07/03, updated on 07/07/03 (74 review reads)
Advantages: Extremely powerful!, Free (but if it wasn't it'd be worth every penny!), No compatibility issues as it's all server-side
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.
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!
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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