Taken directly from PHP's home, "PHP is an HTML-embedded scripting language. Much of its syntax is borrowed from C and Perl with a couple of unique PHP-specific features thrown in. The goal of the language is to allow web developers to write dynamically generated pages quickly." This is generally a good definition of PHP. However, it does contain a lot of terms you may not be used to. Another way to think of PHP is a powerful, behind the scenes scripting language that your visitors won't see! When someone visits your PHP webpage, your web server processes the PHP code. It then sees which parts it needs to show to visitors(content and pictures) and hides the other stuff(file operations, math calculations, etc.) then translates your PHP into HTML. After the translation into HTML, it sends the webpage to your visitor's web browser.
It is also helpful to think of PHP in terms of what it can do for you. PHP will allow you to: • Reduce the time to create large websites. • Create a customized user experience for visitors based on information that you have gathered from them. • Open up thousands of possibilities for online tools. Check out PHP - HotScripts for examples of the great things that are possible with PHP. • Allow creation of shopping carts for e-commerce websites.
Apache: Apache acts as your Web server. Its main job is to parse any file requested by a browser and display the correct results according to the code within that file. Apache is quite powerful and can accomplish virtually any task that you, as a Webmaster, require.
PHP: PHP is a server-side scripting language that allows your Web site to be truly dynamic. PHP stands forPHP: Hypertext Preprocessor (and, yes, we’re aware PHP is a “recursive acronym”—probably meant to confuse the masses). Its flexibility and relatively small learning curve (especially for programmers who have a background in C, Java, or Perl) make it one of the most popular scripting languages around. According to Zend Technologies, Ltd., the central source of PHP improvements and designers of the Zend Engine, which supports PHP applications. Mysql: Another open source favorite, MySQL is the database construct that enables PHP and Apache to work together to access and display data in a readable format to a browser. It is a Structured Query Language server designed for heavy loads and processing of complex queries. As a relational database system, MySQL allows many different tables to be joined together for maximum efficiency and speed.
Before starting this tutorial it is important that you have a basic understanding and experience in the following: • HTML - Know the syntax and especially HTML Forms. • Basic programming knowledge - This isn't required, but if you have any traditional programming experience it will make learning PHP a great deal easier.