PHP is one of the fastest growing web scripting languages on the Internet today, and for good reason. PHP (which stands for Hypertext Preprocessor) was designed explicitly for the web. Designed in 1994 to enable the creation of dynamic web pages quickly and easily, PHP has exploded in growth and has been adopted by major vendors such as Linux that have included the language with their web servers. The language is easy to learn and works with a variety of operating systems. PHP’s strong performance, coupled with its modest learning curve, has made it the language of choice for many businesses wanting a cost-effective rapid application development solution for the web.
One of the main reasons that developers choose PHP is its simplicity and ease of use. PHP competes against a number of other web scripting solutions such as Active Server Pages and PERL, but none of these languages are as easy to learn as PHP. Further, some languages require a moderate amount of programming background before a developer can get up to speed in development. With PHP, however, even non-programmers have been able to develop web-based solutions within a matter of days after going through the basic tutorials on PHP. PHP commands are simply embedded into the same web page with HTML commands, and execute on the server to deliver the web pages to the user.
Another big advantage of PHP is its interoperability with multiple operating systems. A company can use PHP with either Linux, Windows or Macs for example. They can also use PHP with the popular open source Apache server. Compare that with Microsoft’s Active Server Pages, by contrast, which is primarily designed for Microsoft-enabled servers. Portability is becoming a chief concern for businesses that use one or more operating systems in their businesses. Businesses save money by using PHP to leverage their existing I.S. resources rather than investing large sums of money to purchase proprietary products.
PHP is an open source product with a worldwide community of developers. What this means for businesses is that there is a large network of developers who can continually refine PHP to make it a better product. It’s no surprise that since its inception in 1994, developers have created a large library of useful add-ins to make PHP even more powerful than ever. PHP includes support for native databases among numerous other “plug and play” features that enable users to exploit the language to its fullest.
The result of all of this for developers is rapid application development. This is especially important for the web, where businesses must develop web-based applications that can respond to the real-time demands of e-Commerce. PHP enables companies to deploy their web-based solutions quickly, and modify them just as easily when needed. PHP is a stable, reliable language for administrators to use as well. PHP is easily customized to work seamlessly with Open Source databases such as MySQL.
Because of its lightweight design, PHP is fast and performs exceptionally well. Numerous companies have realized that PHP is the best solution for their web server needs. Companies such as Lycos in Europe offer services that are completely written in PHP. The language is well able to handle the voluminous amounts of traffic delivered on a daily basis. Many other major corporations worldwide have used PHP for their enterprise needs as well. These companies include Cisco, Worldcom, Motorola, Air Canada and Deutsche Bank, to name a few.
A number of important statistics mark important milestones in PHP’s growth. According to a Netcraft survey in May 2001, PHP’s popularity grew at a monthly rate of 8-11%. To put this in perspective, the growth of the entire Internet is 4%. At the time the survey was taken, 6.5 million sites were using PHP. As of 2002, PHP leapt beyond Microsoft’s Active Server Pages as the most popular web scripting language in use. PHP is used on 24% of the sites on the Internet.
Clearly the many benefits of PHP have made it the ideal solution for businesses to use in deploying their web-based applications. Companies small and large know that for ease of use, rapid development, superior performance, stability and reliability, and a large worldwide community of users and developers, few languages can come close to delivering what PHP can offer.
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