What is PHP? PHP was designed by Rasmus Lerdorf and developed by Zend technologies; W3schools describe the web technology programming language as ‘PHP is a server scripting language, and a powerful tool for making dynamic and interactive Web pages. PHP is a widely-used, free, and efficient alternative to competitors such as Microsoft’s ASP.’ on it’s website. According to the PHP “manual” or it’s primary documentation hub at php.net, the programming language and web technology was created and launched in 1994, and since that time it’s had a few evolving iterations before making it what it is today. In this article I’ll delve deeper into the PHP technology, its uses, its strengths and weaknesses and how it coexists with the LAMP software stack; and also the popular alternative.
Why choose PHP and what are its uses? PHP is considered to be a strong, integratable, low bandwidth, cheap web development solution. PHP is stated to be flexible, dynamic, end-to-end compatible and with syntax and roots affiliated with core software languages such as C and C++. “PHP language has its roots in C and C++. PHP syntax is most similar to C and C++ language syntax. So, programmers find it easy to learn and manipulate. MySQL is used with PHP as back-end tool. MySQL is the popular online database and can be interfaced very well with PHP. Therefore, PHP and MySQL are excellent choice for webmasters looking to automate their web sites. PHP can run on both UNIX and Windows servers. PHP also has powerful output buffering that further increases over the output flow. PHP internally rearranges the buffer so that headers come before contents. PHP is dynamic. PHP works in combination of HTML to display dynamic elements on the page. PHP only parses code within its delimiters, such as. Anything outside its delimiters is sent directly to the output and not parsed by PHP.” touts a web hosting company on it’s relevant blog at eukhost.com. PHP is also bolstered as highly learnable, rapidly evolving, and containing a very large development community.
DigitalOcean describes the Lamp stack as ‘A “LAMP” stack is a group of open source software that is typically installed together to enable a server to host dynamic websites and web apps. This term is actually an acronym which represents the Linux operating system, with the Apache web server. The site data is stored in a MySQL database (using MariaDB), and dynamic content is processed by PHP.’ PHP coexists extremely well with mySQL databases, and it’s because of this that countless CMSs (Content Management Systems) are developed on the LAMP; including WordPress CMS, Drupal CMS, and Magento CMS. So, the LAMP stack essentially contains 4 layers; Linux, Apache, mySQL and PHP; the PHP layer is described as “Sitting on top of them all is our fourth and final layer. The scripting layer consists of PHP and/or other similar web programming languages. Websites and Web Applications run within this layer.” in the article titled ‘What is a LAMP stack?’ on liquidweb.com. Some established pros of the LAMP stack include; security, portability with PHP and mySQL, easy deployment, easier learning curve, and high level of open sourceness due to its popularity and global uses. The LAMP stack; which is essentially an end-to-end software stack environment that PHP exists and integrates with, almost exclusively. Webopedia describes the LAMP software technology stack as ‘Short for Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP, an open-source Web development platform, also called a Web stack, that uses Linux as the operating system, Apache as the Web server, MySQL as the RDBMS and PHP as the object-oriented scripting language. Perl or Python is often substituted for PHP. ‘