The innumerous web projects using PHP can testify that this is one of the most popular programming languages. It was the idea of Rasmus Lerdorf to develop a set of tools to simplify the process of creating dynamic web pages. Although modern PHP is a general-purpose language, it is most often used as a server-side tool to generate HTML code, which is then interpreted by a web browser.
What is PHP? It is an open-source programming language developed by enthusiastic programmers from all over the world. It has a simple syntax, somewhat similar to Java and C++. This is a constantly developing project: to date, the 7th version of the language is relevant. PHP development services are always in high demand.
Today, there are three main areas of using PHP:
- For writing scripts and full-fledged web applications that run on the server-side. This is the most popular use, because the language was originally created specifically for web development. For a web application written in PHP to work properly, you need a server, a parser (CGI application), and client software (web browser) that shows the result of the code performance.
- For creating scripts to run on the command line. These mini apps can run on any PC, with only a parser required to run them. Since PHP contains powerful string manipulation tools, such scripts are most often written to process textual data.
- For writing graphical interfaces. PHP has many branches designed for different purposes. One such appliance is PHP-GTK. It is suitable for programmers who are used to PHP syntax.
What Are the Advantages of PHP?
PHP is so popular due to several benefits:
- Simple and intuitive syntax. Even beginner programmers quickly learn PHP. It received all the best features of popular languages such as C, Java, and Perl. PHP code is easy to read regardless of the way it is used (for writing small scripts or building powerful applications using an object-oriented approach to program implementation).
- Cross-platform availability and flexibility. PHP web development projects are compatible with all popular platforms (Linux, Windows, MacOS). Applications written in it successfully run on various server software (IIS, Nginx, Apache, and many others).
- Excellent scalability. With the growth of hardware resources, PHP allows maximizing the performance of applications written in it. Web applications distributed over multiple servers are capable of handling significant loads (high traffic).
- Embeddability into HTML documents. You can easily add dynamically changing content to a simple HTML page by inserting PHP code blocks. They are added like HTML tags and don’t break the document structure.
- Active development and improvement. The developer community is constantly working to introduce additional functionality that expands the capabilities of the language, simplifies the syntax, and improves protection against possible attacks.
- A simple search for solutions to emerging problems. There are a huge number of PHP programming forums on the internet.
- Broad prospects for further development. Most CMS were built in pure PHP and frameworks like Laravel and Symfony. Besides, it is not a problem to hire PHP developer.
Development History and the Introduction of Object-Oriented Programming
PHP was originally a Perl/CGI script used to process HTML templates. Over time, its creator Rasmus Lerdorf completely redesigned the interpreter, replacing Perl with the C language. In this way he managed to achieve performance improvements. In 1998, Israeli programmers introduced the third version of the language. Its main advantage was the support of additional modules that extend the capabilities of the core.
In 2000, PHP version 4 was released with a completely redesigned engine called Zend Engine. Applications written in PHP 4.0 became much faster, their security and stability increased. Besides, they introduced support for sessions, added new language constructions, and introduced output buffering.
- The fifth version of PHP was based on the updated Zend Engine 2. The main innovations were as follows:
- Object-oriented programming is implemented like Java;
- Performance boost;
- Added namespace;
- Interfaces for working with databases available;
- Garbage collector enabled.
The 6th version was considered a failure due to problems with Unicode support. In 2014, it was decided to start developing an updated version of the language called PHP 7. It was introduced in 2015. Significant changes in the engine allowed achieving significant performance gains and lower memory consumption. Control of data types, the ability to explicitly specify the type of value returned by a method, and some new language constructions were added to the language.
The future of PHP in 2020 is the release of the eighth version, scheduled for November 2020.
Current Facts, Figures and Web Projects Using PHP
According to W3Tech, in June 2019, 60% of all engine sites were powered by WordPress. The share of Joomla! and Drupal is 5.1% and 3.3%, respectively. These CMS are written in PHP.
The total market share of the three most popular engines is 70%. Add to that less popular CMS written in PHP, as well as sites on frameworks, for example, Laravel or Yii2.
Facebook, Wikipedia, Yahoo!, Baidu, Tumblr, Badoo, Mailchimp, Flickr are among the most famous web projects using PHP.
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