PHP – Hypertext Preprocessor

Every computer application, whether latest or old, has been built with the help of programming languages. These languages are kind of instructions that help in accomplishing a specific task they are set for. The main purpose of programming languages is to implement algorithms. There are different types of programming languages that are used for various purposes. One of them is PHP, let us see about it in detail.

What is PHP?

Abbreviated for hypertext preprocessor, PHP is a type of scripting language which is most commonly used for server-side communication i.e. backend. Before diving deep into ‘PHP’ let us see in brief about scripting languages to under better.

A scripting language contains a lot of commands in a file that has the ability to be executed without compilation. These computer languages required to be interpreted. A script is required to automate the execution of tasks plus it also allows users to view & edit if required.

Coming back on the PHP, this computer language was originally designed in the year 1994, by Rasmus Lerdorf who is a Danish-Canadian programmer. The purpose of its creation was web development. Before Rasmus decided to release it as an open-source project, he used PHP to check the activity of visitors on his homepage. The open-source project helped in the development of this language by fixing issues and improvements in the codes. This is the reason what PHP looks now and functions it can perform.

Till now you must have got an idea of what PHP is. Let us see what it is capable of doing.

What PHP can do?

PHP is not limited to work on a single operating system, you can use it in on Windows, macOS, Linux, various UNIX variants, and many more. The main area where PHP is used is server-side scripting.

Server-side scripting- the primary goal of PHP is to run on a web server. It requires PHP code in a file that is executed by the PHP runtime. This is to create dynamic web page content that is used on websites.

Command-line scripting- besides server-side scripting, PHP is also suitable for creating a text interface on your computer. This means with the help of PHP users can access files and folders easily just as we do in Windows or Mac OS. Hence PHP can run without a server or web browser.

This is not done, as PHP is also ideal to be used with a graphical user interface on the client’s side and various relational database management systems (RDBMS). PHP is being used in many social sites, blogs & CMS, e-commerce platforms, and any others. It is popular for its several features and advantages that it offers to the developers.

Advantages of PHP

#1. Cross-platform ability – PHP is known for its cross-platform ability. This means that it can be used on any operating system as discussed above. Besides, the developer will not see any change in its working on different OS.

#2. Open-source – This is one of the key advantages of PHP that it is an open-source programming language. Users can modify it and use it the way they think is best for their work. PHP is also free to use, so why people will not use it?

#3. Easy to learn & use – PHP is known to simple and quick to understand as compared to other programming languages including JSP & ASP. Even a beginner can grab the lessons in a short span of time.

#4. Fast and smooth – Everyone loves to get their work done in a fast-paced manner. This is one of the reasons why PHP is preferred by developers for creating web page content and other things. A website created using PHP scripting language is quick to load and smooth to run. You must know that smartwatches also use a programming language to deliver smooth, quick, and trouble-free performance.

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#5. Keep up with the latest trends – No one wants to stay outdated; PHP has got you covered with this as well. It will let you match with the latest trends in technology; hence you can make updates whenever you need to.

#6. In-built support for MySQL – The features of PHP are not less; it gives you the most out of what a developer desires. With PHP you can work with the structure query language, plus it also supports working with other database management systems including Oracle, ODBC, MS SQL Server, etc.

#7. Stable platform – Last but not least, PHP is considered to be a stable programming language. Being in existence since the year 1994, many developers have worked on it to make it better. This is the reason why we are able to use it smoothly and with speed.

These benefits of PHP might have made it clear in your minds why it is so popular and why it is still in the trend for the development of many applications. As we’ve discussed above, PHP is also used by blogging sites and WordPress is one of the key examples. Those who don’t know PHP much might wonder how it is used in WordPress. You need not worry; we are here to shed some light on this part as well.

How is PHP used in WordPress?

Plugins and themes used in WordPress utilize a lot of .php files that you can see by downloading WordPress and opening up the zip files. In a plugin, everything is managed by PHP code. But don’t worry; you need not be an expert in PHP for using WordPress. For modification of WordPress themes also PHP is required. The server-side code of WordPress is written in PHP programming language.

So, using PHP you can modify, design, or create your website and website themes in the best possible way. Besides, you can display simple text messages on the homepage, load files, check options, validate user permissions, and much more that we will discuss below in brief. PHP is what gives you good control over WordPress.

PHP for Plugins

As discussed above, you will see that any plugins you will install in WordPress will be PHP. Each function & appearance of your webpage is controlled by .php files only.

Let’s say for example, how comment section or footer of your webpage looks like will be dictated by comments.php & footer.php respectively. This means PHP is something most important in WordPress. But, for using WordPress you don’t need to learn PHP. Though it is necessary if you want to create themes or design the webpage.

PHP for other functions in WordPress

The above-mentioned are just a few examples of how PHP is used in WordPress. It does a lot more than what is discussed above. Let us see some of the common functions of PHP in WordPress.

The opening tag <?php and closing tag ?> is what processed by the PHP pre-processor to show what you see on the website. These are the PHP codes and PHP files in WordPress generally have .php extension.

For example, if you see the title of site as ‘ABC’ then its syntax will read <?php bloginfo(‘ABC’); ?>

Similarly, for the specific title of any of the page of website the syntax will be like this <?php wp_title(); ?>

These are also a few examples of how is PHP used in WordPress for various functions. It won’t be wrong to say that WordPress and PHP both go hand in hand. These PHP codes are required by the developers for editing the website, installing plugins, and much more. Another point to consider is that PHP can also be used inside HTML documents.

Working of PHP

For a webpage that employs PHP, the browser first processes the code with the help of a server. The next step will be the processing as an HTML page. That HTML page will then be sent to the browser and you’ll see the content of the site you’ve opened.

This process is similar for every website that employs PHP and is the basic functioning of how is PHP used in WordPress.

Final Words

So, after reading this article you must have got an idea about what PHP is. It is a computer programming language which falls into the category of “Scripting Language”. The ease by which it can be learned & used, its functions, and the liberty it gives made it very popular in a short span of time. Besides, you have also seen how important PHP is for WordPress and how it is used in that content management tool.

There is a .php extension everywhere in WordPress files that you’ll see. Plus, for many things including the sidebar, footer, site title, page title, header, comments, etc. there is a need for PHP. The way these parameters behave, functions, and look will all be managed by PHP.

Thanks for reading. Hope you’ve enjoyed this post and might have got what you were looking for.

Ravi Kumar, a digital marketing professional and writer working as a blogger and upcoming entrepreneur. I loves to make strategies & plans for business and clicks pictures in his free time. His favorite quote is “If you can learn to stand on the shoulders of giants, you can get bigger, faster.”.

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