PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor is the language scripted by Rasmus Lerdorf to assist with developing web pages. Initially defined personal home page, PHP started in 1994 as Common Gateway Interface Binaries written in C programming language. The idea for PHP came together when Lerdorf merged the binaries he was using to maintain his personal website which Form Interpreter to give birth to PHP/FI.
With the creation of PHP came the possibility of communicating with databases and the construction of web applications. Since the early days PHP has gone through consistent changes since its inception in 1995. In using PHP, it may be embedded into HTML and usually runs on a configured web server designed to process and produce web content. Also built in was the ability to find “bugs” in the system and enhance coding. The aformentioned additional features were PHP version 2.
Two years later two Israeli developers Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans upgraded the PHP 2 by changing the text to PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. Thereafter, PHP/ FI was subjected to beta testing and later version 3 was tested and released. The essential components of PHP 3 were then rewritten by the same gentleman to give the Zend Engine in 1999. In continued improvements, PHP 4 supported by Zend Engine 1.0 was launched and is the latest version up to August of 2008.
Version 5 was released and is supported by Zend Engine II with added bonus of better support for object oriented programming, enhanced performance. Due to constant changes in the development of the carious versions PHP has proven to be very dynamic and each version developed is aimed to being better than its predecessor. Though PHP was designated as a web page creator its development has now been focused on addressing server side scripting. It is correspondent with such type programs as Client, Active Server Pages and Javaserver Pages. PHP has also encouraged the creation of Rapid application development which offers features similar to web application frameworks.
Distributing PHP is free of cost to any web server and almost every operating system or platform and freely distributed under the PHP License. Currently over 2O million internet sites and over 1 million web servers have PHP loaded onto them. PHP has command line interface ability and may be used in stand alone graphical applications. The PHP Group is responsible for rolling out PHP as the de facto standard because it has no formal specification. Noteworthy are the following websites that utilize PHP scripting: Face book, Youtube, Word Press and Tagged to name a few. However, due to security risks associated with using PHP, it is recommended that when storing it on a server, vigilance is maintained by employing protection patches for added security.