PHP is an open-source server-side scripting language designed especially for web development. It is HTML-embedded, which means that PHP is able to generate HTML or to pass information along to HTML instead of using an external file for data processing.
PHP integrates itself across many platforms (Windows, Linux, Unix) and its main purpose is to generate dynamic webpages. It’s one of the most user friendly programs out there and is known for its reliable speed, stability and enhanced level of security. Having been drawn on Java, C and Perl, it is easy to learn by anyone with a decent background in any of these languages.
Being a server-side technology, code is executed as soon as the end-user enters your website, thus eliminating the need of additional browser-plugins. The code is interpreted with the aid of a web server (most users opt for Apache) by the PHP Runtime module and the result is the dynamic webpage.
Together with a database server, such as MySQL, it can produce excellent results in website maintenance. MySQL, being also an open-source application, combined with PHP can generate content that can be run across any platform (for instance, database management systems). A few examples of websites created with the aid of PHP and MySQL are Google, Facebook, YouTube and Yahoo, to name just a few.
Convenient packages that include PHP, MySQL and even Apache are WAMP and XAMPP. They consist of these three major development platforms, plus many other utilities such as phpMyAdmin or SQLiteManager (if you choose WAMP) and Perl (in XAMPP’s case).
In conclusion, PHP is an awesome scripting language that has proven ease of use, stability and still continues to. It is known as the fiercest competitor of Microsoft’s ASP (Active Server Pages), mostly because it can produce open-source content. Another advantage is that PHP developers can rely a great deal on a huge community if in need of help.