PHP is an acronym for Hypertext Preprocessor. It is a server-side scripting language and the engine behind most of the dynamic websites online. PHP codes contain HTML with an embedded code that executes the instructions given by the customer on the server end of the website. PHP scripts can only run where PHP has been installed. However, customers accessing a website running on PHP just requires having a browser.

What is a scripting language?

A script is a set of instructions written in a programming language and are interpreted during runtime. The scripting language interprets these instructions at runtime. Scripts are run on software environments and perform the routine tasks of the application.

The PHP script differs from JavaScript in that the PHP script is interpreted on the server side while JavaScript interprets codes on the customer’s browser. Both of these scripting languages are usually embedded into HTML pages.

HTML is the backbone of all web applications and many technologies such as PHP and JavaScript are built on HTML. PHP, in this case, manipulates the data on the server and gives an output that is based on the input of the user. This makes the dynamic websites possible.

PHP scripting language became popular in 1995 as the choice scripting language for web developers. Over the years, it has become the de factor server-side scripting language after it became the choice scripting language for content management systems such as Drupal, Joomla and WordPress. PHP can be used in any size of a website whether a small blog or a dynamic e-commerce website with tens of pages.

PHP scripts are sometimes linked to form HTML files. These scripts form the foundation for the particular website. In such a case the P is referred to as P in the LAMP software pack.

What is PHP an ideal programming language?

PHP is one among many programming languages in the market. However, there are several advantages that make PHP the choice programming language for web development. Here are some of the reasons.

· It has a short learning curve compared to other leading languages such as CFML, ASP and JSP

· PHP is supported by almost any kind of server and thereby lowers the cost of getting a dedicated server for hosting purposes

· PHP is an open source programming language. It can be used both privately and commercially without additional licenses

· It comes with built-in web services support, and therefore, you would not have to incur any other cost

· It is easily integrated with HTML and therefore easy to use

· It does not require third-party drivers to work on MySQL as it is natively built to work with MySQL

You can extend the capability of PHP by using other languages

The most popular PHP sites include social sites such as Digg and Facebook, CMS and blog platforms such as Joomla and WordPress. It also supports E-commerce sites such as PrestaShop, Magento, and OpenCart. In addition, it supports Wikipedia and Yahoo!.