PHP (a recursive acronym for Hypertext Preprocessor) draws from programming languages Java and Perl, and was one of the first programming languages built for the express purpose of creating dynamic web pages. The language provides the developers with a range of library functions, such as support functions for databases and data encryption, reducing development time. Some large and well-known websites and content management systems that make use of PHP include Facebook, Wikipedia, Flicker, Drupal, WordPress and many more.
How does it work? When a user opens a PHP file, the server sends a request for the file. The server decrypts the file code using a PHP engine (decoder) installed within the server, creating an HTML output, which is then sent to the browser. The PHP code is never revealed to the user: only the HTML output. This has advantages for protecting and maintaining code written in PHP. Since the software generates the HTML page upon request of the user, PHP-based websites are dynamic.
Israeli PHP The language was originally developed in 1994-1995 by Rasmus Lerdorf. Lerdorf launched the first two versions of the language, known as Personal Home Page, but it was considered cumbersome and was difficult to work with. PHP underwent a fundamental change for its third version, and this version is the programming language we know today. This third version was developed by two Israeli programmers at the Technion in Haifa: Zeev Suraski and Andy Gutmans, who launched the first full version of the language, with an expanded database and protocol support. Today, Suraski and Gutmans continue to develop the language at the company they established: Zend Technologies. The fourth version of PHP included a first release of the Zend engine: an additional PHP decoder.
Benefits of PHP
- PHP is optimized for developing websites. This makes programming with PHP very convenient and provides a variety of options, for example in comparison with using C or Perl for website development.
- Considered a powerful and leading programming language in comparison with parallel languages on the market (JSP, ASP).
- Allows working with many databases and different protocols.
- Open source code – i.e. accessible to all language programmers, and distributed free of charge.
- Provides a very high level of security.
- Language engine runs on a wide variety of operating systems and servers.
- Considered to be an easy and simple programming language. For C language programmers, learning the language is even faster.