PHP 101: Key Deets You Must Know

By Shaun Williams
PHP 101: Key Deets You Must Know

PHP, earlier known as Personal Home Page, today stands for Hypertext Preprocessor. PHP is a widely used programming language loved by software developers worldwide. It is ideal for creating websites and web applications. 

PHP programming language powers some of the top websites popular around the world. Microsoft, Wikipedia, WordPress, Pinterest, and Facebook are some of the leading websites written in PHP. As per reports, PHP is used as a server-side programming language in almost 77.4% of online websites today.

With this popularity, PHP boasts a strong community full of professional PHP developers from across the globe.

In this post, we will talk about PHP programming language in more detail. So, let's move forward and learn more about this programming language and why software developers love it. 

A Brief Overview of PHP Programming Language

PHP is a general-purpose scripting language ideal for creating dynamic websites, static websites, and web applications. A survey by Statista found that PHP stands in the 2nd position on the list of top popular programming languages in terms of the software market size worldwide. 

PHP is open-source, hence free to download and use. It is an interpreted language, meaning it needs no compilation, directly resulting in excellent performance. 

The code written in PHP is processed or executed on a web server by a PHP interpreter. This interpreted or, say, processed data forms the HTTP response. The processed data can be of any form, be it in HTML form or binary image data.

Let's move forward and discuss the key features of the PHP programming language in more detail.

Key Features of PHP Language

PHP language is quite a rich language with a unique set of features and a library of elements that make this language easy to learn and loved by everyone. Let's learn some of the most striking features of this language. 

#1 Easy to Learn

PHP is considered to be one of the easiest programming languages to learn. It is a well-organized language with predefined functions that allow programmers to write faster and complete their code in minimal time. 

Another reason behind the simple design of the PHP programming language is the absence of highly complex libraries such as C and C++. Additionally, PHP has quite a syntax similar to C, and hence, as C is one of the primary languages that most programmers know, learning PHP becomes much more effortless. 

#2 Excellent Performance 

When it comes to performance, PHP programs are said to be the fastest. One of the key reasons behind the excellent performance of PHP programs is that they don't need compilation. PHP has its own memory space wherein the complete program execution takes place. Instead of getting executed in the browser, the PHP program is run on the server side.

#3 Supported by All Operating Systems

Almost all major operating systems present today support PHP programs. Be it Linux, Windows, MacOS, or IBM i. This gives top software developers a free hand to use PHP for a wide range of applications without worrying about the operating systems that support the program. 

#4 Thorough Documentation and Community Support

PHP, one of the world's oldest programming languages, boasts a large community consisting of software developers and shareholders. PHP also provides thorough documentation of every aspect of the programming language, from its key features to syntax and predefined functions. The documentation provides the new learners and existing developers with everything they need to use the language.

#5 Syncs With a Large Range of Data Extensions

When it comes to database management, you don't need to hassle when working with PHP programming language. PHP syncs with many database extensions, including leading names such as MySQL, CUBRID, SQLSRV, dBASE, and many more. Hence, when working with PHP, software developers need not worry about data storage restrictions as they can use data extensions of their choice to manage excess data. 

#6 Highly Flexible

PHP is known to be a highly flexible language. One of the primary reasons is that PHP can be easily embedded in any HTML file, and so can HTML codes be written into PHP files. 

Another reason behind the flexibility of the PHP programming language is that the codebase can be easily modified at any stage of software development. Thereby reducing the workload on programmers and saving a considerable amount of time by allowing them to modify files at any stage instead of altering the whole project at the end. 

Some Drawbacks of PHP

Just like every coin has two sides, PHP has a few disadvantages along with many advantages. But none of those drawbacks are too big that can't be solved with careful alterations in the program.

#1 Security Concerns

The open-source nature of the PHP programming language has many benefits, but the same advantage also poses a significant threat. The open-source codebase puts the entire codebase vulnerable to modification as it is visible to all. The whole ASCII text file can be accessible to all, thus putting the complete program at risk of modification. 

Not only can one modify it, but one can also easily spot any loopholes or bugs in the codebase of a software application. And therefore, they can easily take advantage of the bug and attack your software. 

#2 Limited Debugging Tools

One of the significant drawbacks of the PHP programming language is the limited access to sophisticated debugging tools. The types of debugging tools offered by PHP are comparatively very few compared to what other programming languages offer. Due to this, PHP delivers very poor error handling, thereby allowing a significant number of bugs to pass and hence creating a larger security risk for the software owner and the people using it. 

Top Alternatives to PHP 

Why Choose PHP Programming Language?

One of the key reasons you should choose PHP for your next project is because it's old, well-documented, big community, and easy to learn and use for new learners. 

PHP is best suited for projects that need quick fixes and regular maintenance and updates more frequently than standard projects, such as data entry and supply chain management systems. The infographic below lists some of the key reasons businesses must choose PHP as the ideal programing language for their project. 

Suggested Reading: What Does the Future Hold for Software Development in 2023 and Beyond?

Summing Up

PHP is a fascinating language widely popular amongst software developers across the globe. The community support and thorough documentation provided by PHP creators make this language easy to learn and use for new learners. More than three-fourths of the active website on the internet today is built using PHP programming language. 

PHP is a highly organized and sophisticated programming language that allows programmers to write programs faster and easier. In this post, we discussed several features of PHP that make it the most loved programming language. We also checked some of the top alternatives to the PHP programming language.

Be first to respond

Looking for assistance in choosing a company?

We can assist you in swiftly compiling a list of top companies in keeping with your project demands