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Linux Magazine: The Scoop on PHP

Sep 23, 2000, 16:09 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Craig Knudsen)

"So, what is PHP? Right now its developers call it an open source server-side HTML-embedded scripting language, but PHP seems destined to evolve beyond its HTML roots into more advanced services like remote procedure calls (for example, there's already an XML-RPC client and server). PHP can be embedded into an HTML page within XML or even plain text."

"Like JavaServer Pages (JSP) and Microsoft's Active Server Pages (ASP), PHP is, at its heart, a tool for generating dynamic content on Web pages. All three let you embed commands (e.g. "print the latest sales numbers from the database") into an otherwise static HTML page. Other than the fact that PHP is Open Source, the main difference between it, JSP, and ASP has to do with syntax. JSP uses Java as its programming language while ASP allows both VBScript and JScript (Microsoft's version of JavaScript). PHP uses its own programming language, with syntax and features derived mostly from Perl, Java and C."

"The most common way to run the PHP engine -- without which all of those embedded PHP commands simply won't work -- is to run it as an Apache module (PHP has a NASPI version for Netscape servers, as well as an ISAPI version for Microsoft's IIS, but neither are really production-ready). The alternative is to build PHP as a CGI and configure your Web server to handle .php files with the PHP executable, much like Perl can be configured to handle files with the .pl extension. Linux Magazine recommends running PHP as an Apache module as this method gives you the best performance."

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