Getting Started With PHP Programming – What You Need

PHP is the current "hottest" programming language, and many people are learning it each day. PHP is mainly used to develop and enhance web pages, and with the world running on the internet today, it is essential that your web presence be out of the ordinary and something special. While everyone knows HTML and how to make a website look decently presentable, it is the extra touch that matters. Companies want customers to return to their websites, writers want readers to come back, and to do this, they have to make their web sites look, feel and work in the best possible way. PHP goes beyond regular HTML, and makes web pages dynamic. In terms of use, however, PHP is just as simple as HTML is, it just has a family of new tags that HTML does not. HTML and PHP are so similar, that prior knowledge of HTML is an added advantage for a beginner who wants to learn PHP programming.

Now that you're here and interested in PHP, we will tell you what you need to get started with PHP programming. Before that, one of the few things to remember is that PHP is free software that is released and maintained by the php group. Coming back, PHP is called a server side programming language because it does not get executed on the client's (your) computer. Instead, the code is executed at the server (the computer you requested information from). So let's look at what you need to get started with PHP programming. First, of course, you need a computer. Second, you need what you also need for HTML – a text editor. Any basic one will do, like Notepad and TextEdit. Once you've written your code, you will need a website to test it on. Since PHP is a server side programming language, you will also need a server to execute your code. Additionally, if you do not already have a website, you may need one, or simply some space on the internet to actually test your PHP script. So, to summarize, here's what you need:

A computer, a text editor, a server, a website or some internet space

Now the computer and text editor part are pretty simple, so it comes to the server. As stated earlier, PHP code is executed on the server side and then sent to the client. You thus need a server, so you can run the script and see the output. You do not have to buy a separate server for this, though. There are many virtual servers, ie software that makes your computer think it's a server in itself. One of the more popular ones is XAMPP, which is based on the Apache web server. There are many distributions of Apache servers, but XAMPP is the most user-friendly. It is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

Finally, to actually test your web pages, you need a website with a hosting provider who supports PHP. Most hosts support PHP by default. This is where you will see the actual web page that you have dynamically created using PHP. For this to be possible, you need either an already existing web site or a new one. Or you could just use one of the many free hosting services present online if you just want to test your web pages and be done with it. These are all the things you need to get started with PHP programming.

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