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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why Choose PHP?

Why Choose PHP?

There are some compelling reasons to work with PHP4. For many projects you will
find that the production process is significantly faster than you might expect if you
are used to working with other scripting languages. As an open source product,
PHP4 is well supported by a talented production team and a committed user
community. Furthermore, PHP can be run on all the major operating systems with
most servers.

Speed of Development

Because PHP allows you to separate HTML code from scripted elements, you will
notice a significant decrease in development time on many projects. In many
instances, you will be able to separate the coding stage of a project from the design
and build stages. Not only can this make life easier for you as a programmer, it also
can remove obstacles that stand in the way of effective and flexible design.

PHP Is Open Source
To many people, "open source" simply means free, which is, of course, a benefit in
itself. To quote from the official PHP site at
This may sound a little foreign to all you folks coming from a non-UNIX
background, but PHP doesn't cost anything. You can use it for commercial and/or
non-commercial use all you want. You can give it to your friends, print it out and
hang it on your wall or eat it for lunch. Welcome to the world of Open Source
software! Smile, be happy, the world is good. For the full legalese, see the official
Well-maintained open source projects offer users additional benefits, though. You
benefit from an accessible and committed community who offer a wealth of
experience in the subject. Chances are that any problem you encounter in your
coding can be answered swiftly and easily with a little research. If that fails, a
question sent to a mailing list can yield an intelligent, authoritative response.
You also can be sure that bugs will be addressed as they are found, and that new
features will be made available as the need is defined. You will not have to wait for
the next commercial release before taking advantage of improvements.
There is no vested interest in a particular server product or operating system. You
are free to make choices that suit your needs or those of your clients, secure that
your code will run whatever you decide.

Because of the powerful Zend engine, PHP4 compares well with ASP in benchmark
tests, beating it in some tests. Compiled PHP leaves ASP far behind.


PHP is designed to run on many operating systems and to cooperate with many
servers and databases. You can build for a UNIX environment and shift your work to
NT without a problem. You can test a project with Personal Web Server and install it
on a UNIX system running on PHP as an Apache module.

In this hour, we introduced PHP. You learned the history of PHP from a simple set of
macros to the powerful scripting environment it has become. You found out about
PHP4 and the Zend scripting engine, and how they incorporate new features and
more efficiency. Finally, you discovered some of the features that make PHP a
compelling choice as a Web programming language.

Q Is PHP an easy language to learn?

In short, yes! You really can learn the basics of PHP in 24 hours. PHP provides an
enormous wealth of functions that allow you to do things for which you would have
to write custom code in other languages. PHP also handles data types and memory
issues for you (much like Perl).
Understanding the syntax and structures of a programming language is only the
beginning of the journey, however. Ultimately, you will only really learn by building
your own projects and by making mistakes. You should see this book as a starting


The Workshop provides quiz questions to help you solidify your understanding of the
material covered. Try to understand the quiz answers before continuing to the next
hour's lesson. Quiz answers are provided in Appendix A.
What did the initials PHP originally stand for?
Who created the original version of PHP?
What is the name of the new scripting engine that powers PHP?
Name a new feature introduced with PHP4.

Flick through this book to get an idea of its structure. Think about the topics
covered and how they might help you with any future projects.


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