What is PHP?
PHP is a server side scripting language that’s used on nearly 80% of websites. As a server side coding language, it has no competition when it comes to usage.
PHP (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is used primarily for Web Development. You can use it for other purposes like command line scripting, but it’s primary usage is for server side coding.
PHP is cross platform compatible which means it works on Windows, MacOS & Linux Computers.
PHP was created in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf and was originally called Personal Home Page a.k.a PHP.
Why Should You Learn PHP?
As mentioned earlier, PHP is used by almost 80% of websites. The largest CMS and Blogging Platform, WordPress, is coded mostly with PHP. WordPress powers 34% of websites online. Drupal and Joomla are also coded in PHP.
There are also a lot of PHP tutorials to help you get started and PHP will continue to be in high demand for years to come.
What Can You Do with PHP?
You can build small to large websites that either use one web server or a multi-server setup. PHP can scale as big as you need it too.
Here are some PHP use cases:
- Build a Template System
- Process User Submitted form data
- Create a Membership based website
- Create an Ecommerce Website
- Work with a database like MySQL
- Create customized, user-specific experiences
- encrypt data
- and more.
Latest PHP Version
PHP7+ is the latest major version. PHP7+ is extremely fast and secure. That being said, speed and security are relative to the code written by a web developer. It’s the job of a developer to write code logic that’s efficient and secure.
What Will You Learn in these Tutorials?
In this series of PHP Tutorials, I’ll teach you the syntax of PHP along with all the basic terms and how to use them properly.
As we progress, I will demonstrate more advanced functionality that will take your server side coding with PHP to the next level. As they say, walk before you run.
- How to Develop Locally with a Setup for PHP Development
- Basic PHP Syntax
- Data Types
- How to Develop a PHP powered Website – Web Development
How to Get The Most from these PHP Tutorials
In order to get the most out of this series of tutorials, you should copy the code snippets I share and try them in your local web server. You should also breakdown the code and try to make it do something different.
The goal is to build your PHP knowledge with a strong foundation.
How Does PHP Work?
Just for a refresher:
Server side languages like PHP, is used on the server side which means the browser never sees your code. This is perfect for keeping your code logic secret.
For a more in depth breakdown of the various coding languages, checkout this video on Full Stack Web Development.
Browser Developer Tools
Browser developer tools are used to view front end code of a website with features like View Page Source and Inspect Elements. This is a handy feature of web browsers but also means that your front end code is viewable by anyone who knows how to use these tools.
Server side code is not viewable by the web browser so your server side code is hidden.
Web Servers and PHP
A web server is software like Apache or Nginx running on a computer, located in a data center that keeps your files, folders, images and database ready to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and hopefully 365 days a year.
You can also have a web server on your computer for development purposes.
Web servers know a file is a PHP file because of the .php extension. This will signify to a web server to handle that file in a specific way.
What do you need to Get Started with PHP Code?
You already have most of what you need to get started.
- Text Editor or IDE
- Web Browser
Beyond that, you will also need a web server running locally on your computer so you can develop locally without worrying about your beta code running on a production website.
You can use a free web server called MAMP which is compatible with both Windows and MacOS. I highly recommend it and in the video below, I show you how to use MAMP for WordPress Development but it’s also what’s used for regular PHP development as well.
You can also try Local By Flywheel if you’re working with WordPress. I have a video demonstrating how to get started with it.
For a more advanced Local setup for WordPress Development, you might want to try Varying Vagrant Vagrants which I demonstrate in the video below.
For simplicity, I do most of my tutorials with MAMP.
My advice is to always code locally, thoroughly test your code and then once you determine that it’s efficient and secure, that’s when you push it out to your remote web server.
Hopefully you found this Introduction to PHP helpful. Next up, let’s learn some PHP.