What is PHP? Well according to the PHP Manual:
PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely-used open source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML.
Riiiight, but what does that mean? To put it simply, PHP can be placed inside of HTML web pages, allowing a seamless transition between the two languages. To help clarify, here is an example:
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd"> <html> <head> <title>PHP/MySQLi Tutorials</title> </head> <body> What is PHP, you ask? <?php echo "PHP is a general purpose scripting language!"; ?> </body> </html>
This would output: “What is PHP, you ask? PHP is a general purpose scripting language!” to the browser.
“Ok, ok, I get it! But what can PHP actually do?”
I’m glad you asked. PHP can do just about anything any other language can do. Mind you, you won’t find PHP on the space station (yet…) but you will find it on the majority of web servers today.
PHP is not limited to simply outputting HTML to a browser, it can output images, PDFs, Flash videos. You can output numerous types of text, such as XHTML and XML too!
One of PHP’s biggest attractions is its long list of database extensions. These databases range from the common MySQL, to PostgreSQL, MSSQL and the list goes on.
Combining PHP’s database support, with its ability to output multiple types of text, creates endless possibilities!