PHP March 23, 2008Posted by echophp in 1.
PHP (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a computer scripting language, originally designed for producing dynamic web pages. It is mainly used in server-side scripting, but can be used from a command line interface or in standalone graphical applications.
While PHP was originally created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994, the main implementation of PHP is now produced by The PHP Group and serves as the de facto standard for PHP as there is no formal specification. Released under the PHP License, the Free Software Foundation considers it to be free software.
PHP is a widely-used general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML. It generally runs on a web server, taking PHP code as its input and creating web pages as output. It can be deployed on most web servers and on almost every operating system and platform free of charge. PHP is installed on more than 20 million websites and 1 million servers, although the number of websites with PHP installed has declined since August 2005. It is also the most popular Apache module among computers using Apache as a web server. The most recent major release of PHP was version 5.2.0 on November 2, 2006.
PHP began as a set of Common Gateway Interface (CGI) binaries written in the C programming language in 1994 by the Danish/Greenlandic programmer Rasmus Lerdorf. Lerdorf initially created these Personal Home Page Tools to replace a small set of Perl scripts he had been using to maintain his personal homepage (such as display his résumé, and record data such as how much traffic his page was receiving). He combined these binaries with his Form Interpreter to create PHP/FI, which had more functionality. It included a larger C implementation which could communicate with databases and helped build simple, dynamic web applications. He released PHP publicly on June 8, 1995 to speed up the finding of bugs and improving the code. This release was named PHP version 2, and already had basic functionality that PHP has today. This includes Perl-like variables, form handling, and the ability to embed HTML. The syntax was similar to Perl but was more limited, simpler and less consistent.
Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans, two Israeli developers at the Technion IIT, rewrote the parser in 1997 and formed the base of PHP 3, changing the language’s name to the recursive initialism PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. The development team officially released PHP/FI 2 in November 1997 after months of beta testing. Public testing of PHP 3 began and the official launch came in June 1998. Suraski and Gutmans then started a new rewrite of PHP’s core, producing the Zend Engine in 1999. They also founded Zend Technologies in Ramat Gan, Israel, which actively manages the development of PHP.
On May 22, 2000, PHP 4, powered by the Zend Engine 1.0, was released. On July 13, 2004, PHP 5 was released powered by the new Zend Engine II. PHP 5 included new features such as: improved support for object-oriented programming; the PHP Data Objects extension (which defines a lightweight and consistent interface for accessing databases); and numerous performance enhancements. The most recent update released by The PHP Group is for the older PHP version 4 code branch. As of January 2008, this branch is up to version 4.4.8. PHP 4 will be supported by security updates until August 8, 2008.
Currently, PHP 5 is the only stable version that is being actively developed; active development on PHP 4 ceased at the end of 2007 (apart from the critical security updates for PHP 4 already mentioned). PHP 6 is currently under development. Many high profile open source projects ceased to support PHP 4 in new code as of February 5, 2008, due to the GoPHP5 initiative, provided by a consortium of PHP developers promoting the transition from PHP 4 to PHP 5.[14