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PHP is a server side scripting language used to create dynamic, interactive functionality on web pages. When PHP was first created, the acronym meant Personal Home Page. In 1998 this was retroactively changed to Hypertext PreProcessor.

PHP is the most popular server side scripting language in the world. The 3 most popular content management systems are written in PHP. The codebase of Facebook and Wikipedia is written in PHP. It is our server side scripting language of choice.

PHP is open source software, meaning it is free for anyone to use and anyone can contribute to it’s codebase. Other advantages of PHP include

  • It was designed from scratch to build websites and web applications.
  • Easy to get started with, which includes being very easy to deploy onto a server.
  • It is extremely flexible with lots of frameworks and extensions.
  • Good documentation.
  • It has a lot of inertia over other programming languages having been released in the early days of the internet.

On the other hand, PHP has some flaws, but they are not enough to stop developers flocking to the language.

At present, the latest version is PHP 7.1. PHP 7 introduced a new execution engine which doubled the speed of code execution from previous versions.

Base PHP has many extensions to add functionality or provide APIs to allow PHP to interact with other software. This allows the base PHP to stay lightweight and avoid bloat, while allowing users who need extra features to add them.

Some alternatives programming languages to PHP include ASP, Java, and Perl.

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