PHP is a popular opensource scripting language that is works especially well for website development because it can be embedded into HTML code. One thing that differentiates PHP from C or Perl is that PHP pages contain HTML code with embedded scripts, instead of commands that output HTML. The difference between PHP from client-side JavaScript is that PHP code is executed by the server. This means that the client will see the results of the script but not the code which was executed. This allows for the browser to recognize when to execute PHP code. One unique thing you can do is have your web server process all HTML files with PHP and it will still execute the same. One important thing about PHP is it is simple for newcomers but has many advanced features for veteran programmers.

What Can PHP Do?

The three main areas PHP excels at are…

Server-Side Scripting

This is the main reason why lots of people use PHP. Server-side scripts allow for more dynamic and safer web pages. To get this to work you will need the PHP parser, a web browser, and a web server. You can run the web server with PHP connected installations. You then can access the PHP program output results with the web browser which allows you to view PHP page through server. These can be run on your home machine.

Command Line Scritping

If you just have the PHP parser, you can run PHP scripts without any browser or server. These scripts are commonly executed using cron or Task Scheduler. These types of scripts also can be used for simple text processing jobs.

Writing Desktop Applications

PHP can also be used to create desktop applications. However, there are probably better alternatives if the desktop applications involve a graphical user interface.