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Internet & World Wide Web How to Program, 3/e
Internet & World Wide Web How to Program, 3/e

© 2004
pages: 1420

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This tutorial provides a brief history of PHP and overviews our PHP chapter in Internet & World Wide Web How to Program, 3/e. We've posted three other tutorials from this chapter that introduce various aspects of PHP programming:
[Note: This tutorial is an excerpt (Section 26.1) of Chapter 26, PHP, from our textbook Internet & World Wide Web How to Program, 3/e. This tutorial may refer to other chapters or sections of the book that are not included here. Permission Information: Deitel, Harvey M. and Paul J., INTERNET & WORLD WIDE WEB HOW TO PROGRAM, 3/E, 2004, pp.899–900. Electronically reproduced by permission of Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.]
26.1 Introduction
PHP, or PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, is one of the most popular server-side scripting languages for creating dynamic Web pages. PHP was created in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf (who currently works for Linuxcare, Inc. as a senior open-source researcher) to track users at his Web site.1 In 1995, Lerdorf released it as a package called the "Personal Home Page Tools." PHP 2 featured built-in database support and form handling. In 1997, PHP 3 was released, featuring a rewritten parser, which substantially increased performance and led to an explosion in PHP use. It is estimated that over 13 million domains now use PHP. The release of PHP 4, which features the new Zend Engine and is considerably faster and more powerful than its predecessor, has further increased PHP's popularity.2 PHP 5 is currently in beta and features the Zend Engine 2, which provides further increases in speed and functionality. More information about the Zend Engine can be found at
PHP is an open-source technology that is supported by a large community of users and developers. Open-source software provides developers with access to the software's source code and free redistribution rights. PHP is platform independent; implementations exist for all major UNIX, Linux and Windows operating systems. PHP also supports a large number of databases, including MySQL.
After introducing the basics of the scripting language, we discuss viewing environment variables. Knowing information about a client's execution environment allows dynamic content to be sent to the client. We then discuss form processing and business logic, which are vital to e-commerce applications. We provide an example of implementing a private Web site through username and password verification. Next, we build a three-tier Web-based application that queries a MySQL database. We also show how Web sites use cookies to store information on the client that will be retrieved during a client's subsequent visits to a Web site. Finally, we revisit the form-processing example to demonstrate some of PHP's more dynamic capabilities.
1. S.S. Bakken, et al., "Introduction to PHP," 17 April 2000

2. S.S. Bakken, et al., "A Brief History of PHP," January 2001
Other PHP Tutorials
PHP Tutorial 1: Introduction to PHP (You are here)
PHP Tutorial 2: Creating Simple PHP Programs
PHP Tutorial 3: String Processing and Regular Expressions
PHP Tutorial 4: Form Processing and Business Logic