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IBM developerWorks: Introduction to PHP - Finally, the perfect language for dynamic content & database interaction

Dec 25, 2000, 12:05 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Joe Brockmeier)

[ Thanks to Shailendra for this link. ]

"PHP started out as a small open source project that evolved as more and more people found out how useful it was. Rasmus Lerdorf unleashed the first version of PHP way back in 1994. It has been picking up steam ever since and is now at version 4.0.3 with numerous improvements and refinements over the original release."

"PHP is a scripting language that is embedded in HTML and interpreted by the server. It can be used to manage dynamic content, work with databases, handle session tracking, and even build entire e-commerce sites. It works well with a number of popular databases, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, Sybase, Informix, and Microsoft SQL Server."

"What's so hot about dynamic content? Let's say you're managing an e-commerce site with 10 products. It's not that difficult to hand-code ten static product pages with all the requisite information, forms and such, provided your products don't change often and you don't anticipate much growth. However, let's say you add ten more products this month, and then more next month, and occasionally prices change or you want to change the look and feel of your site. Then you're stuck re-coding dozens, maybe hundreds, of static pages by hand."

"On the other hand, let's say you start by creating one page that is called product.php. Instead of holding static information, it's coded to pull information out of your product database and build a page dynamically. You then have one meta page that can serve up one or one hundred or even a hundred thousand unique pages based on information stored in a database. Rather than requiring a Web master to spend an entire day doing nothing but monkey-work updating static Web pages, the information can now be updated at the same time the information is changed in the company database. You eliminate the headache-inducing lag between the time information is changed in the database and the time it makes its way onto the Web site."

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