PHP Basics

PHP is a scripting language that runs on a web server. When a user requests a PHP page, the server executes the PHP script to generate an HTML document before sending the HTML document to the user. The user never actually views the original PHP script, only the results of the script execution.

PHP is useful for providing custom pages based on user input or delivering content wrapped in a standard HTML template. A handful of PHP scripts can serve an entire web site that would otherwise consist of hundreds of HTML documents.

PHP offers a number of attractive features:

  • support for multiple platforms including Linux, Mac OS X, and Novell Netware
  • extensive library of functions
  • support for a variety of databases
  • detailed online documentation
  • free!

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