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PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor

PHP is a scripting language designed for the web (but isn't exclusive to the web).

Technically, PHP falls under the umbrella of a scripting language because it is processed by an interpreter, as opposed to a programming language which is executed by a compiler.

In other words, PHP is interpreted, not compiled.

The servers we'll use in this course contain a server module that handles the interpreting.

Background

PHP...

  • Has been around since 1995; one of the most senior web scripting languages.
  • Widely used: Usage of server-side programming languages for websites
  • Low barrier to entry; large community and resources; available on most web hosts.
  • Powers popular frameworks like WordPress and Drupal.
  • Older PHP has a reputation for being sloppy, but it has matured in regards to consistency, practices, speed.

Expectations

As detailed in the course pre-requisites, it is expected that you already have experience with at least one programming language before taking this course and understand the following concepts:

  • Variables
  • Data structures such as arrays, dictionaries, lists, or classes
  • Data types such as strings, integers, floats, etc.
  • Control structures such as conditionals, loops, etc.
  • How to plan, write, and debug code
  • How to effectively use documentation

Thus, the purpose of the lectures on PHP is not to teach you how to program, but to teach you about programming using PHP— to get your comfortable with its features and syntax before moving on to frameworks.

Furthermore, our goal is not to learn everything there is to know about PHP, but instead cover the most frequently used concepts, and continue to learn about the language as we proceed through the semester.

Because of this, it's expected that you will search and utilize the documentation as needed: php.net Documentation