PHP and Web Applications

When we first started, many of the Web based services we offered were still in their infancy. Today there are many choices for hosting platforms. In order to provide the most stable, secure, and cost competitive hosting, Naples Webmasters utilizes PHP and other server technologies.

Why have we chosen PHP language for future programming?

Simply put, no other development language out there today is as simple, fast and powerful. In addition, the tools produced by the PHP community have really begun to shine and comfortably bring PHP into the mainstream enterprise application space.

A Brief History of PHP

Like most innovations, PHP was born out of necessity. In 1994, programmer
Rasmus Lerdorf created a new web language to maintain his personal homepage. Then, in 1997 Andi Gutmans and Zeev Suraski, working on a university project, joined Rasmus Lerdorf in his PHP efforts and rewrote PHP to greatly enhance its openness and extendability. From those humble beginnings, PHP was released out into the open source community. From there, PHP eventually took on a life of its own, becoming the de facto standard when it comes to developing Web applications. From the beginning, PHP stood out for a number of reasons; namely its intuitive design, ease of use, great speed, portability, and its high interoperability and extensibility. For these reasons, a vibrant community developed around PHP and, as they say, the rest is history.

In addition to being a highly interoperable development language, PHP is also quite intuitive. The language is surprisingly easy to learn and start using.

Simple To Use
But what is perhaps most important about PHP when it comes to building Web applications is that it is simple to use. There is much less coding required to create great user experiences with PHP. Java, for example, tends to take up to five times more lines of code than PHP. Building Web portals, for example, is much easier with PHP than other languages. Web user interfaces in general are easier to build with PHP.

The Speed of PHP
There really is no argument that PHP is fast, both in terms of development and performance. With PHP, there is no need for lengthy manual recompiles
and deployments, a simple refresh of the web page shows the fruits of your labor. This encourages rapid prototyping and development. Since PHP applications are typically deployed as plain files, it is easy to work with the code, track and review changes, and update your code based on others contributions, an important factor for any open source project where community development is critical.
Speed applies to application performance as well. PHP is one of the fastest languages available in terms of execution. It can compile and execute hundreds of thousands of lines of code in less than a second, even on a developer’s laptop. PHP is incredibly good at processing large amounts of text. This makes PHP applications quick to understand requests and produce the appropriate responses, resulting in the user experiencing faster server response times than with web applications developed with other tools. PHP is basically stateless and handles requests using very little memory which boosts the speed and makes it easier to leverage a grid of computers to scale out.

PHP is very good at creating any kind of web page. This makes it a great language to build AJAX applications to take advantage of Ajax technologies to create even faster user experiences. With liberal use of Ajax on top of PHP, users can perform many tasks without having to refresh their browser, which increases productivity as well as creating a more pleasing interaction with the application.

Portability
Another great feature of PHP is that it can run on a variety of platforms. PHP runs great on Linux, as many would assume since PHP is an open source language. PHP is frequently a key component of the ever popular LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP). But PHP also runs very well in a Windows environment – sometimes called the WAMP stack (Windows, Apache, MySQL and PHP). In addition to Windows and Linux, PHP also runs on other popular operating environments such as Solaris, i5/OS, OS X, UNIX, and FreeBSD. The portability of PHP means that we can serve all customer environments, from modern web-based architectures running on open source technology, to legacy systems supported by proprietary operating systems and languages.

High Interoperability
One of the simple facts about building Web applications today is that they must talk to other systems. And PHP is hands down the most interoperable language out there. PHP’s design allows it to easily interoperate with various Web services, XML and even older legacy systems. Of course, with its birth as an open source project PHP operates with lightning speed on Linux. Thanks to work from the community, Microsoft, and from PHP specialists like Zend, applications built on PHP run perfectly in Microsoft Windows environments as well. In addition to Microsoft, both IBM and Oracle have endorsed PHP in the past several years.

PHP has made immense strides in a very short time. Since its invention in the late 1990s, the language has become ubiquitous on the web, with millions of pages and other properties now built on PHP.

With some older development languages available to programmers, cross platform support can be a major issue. But the beauty of PHP is the fact that it is truly a language where developers write code once and it will basically run anywhere.

Extensibility
PHP plays very well in diverse environments, with other programs, and with many protocols. Even with this, one of the best features of PHP is its extensible nature. Many of the best parts of PHP are built as modules. This modular architecture at the language level provides a way to implement
custom code in PHP. All of the accelerators discussed in this document are leveraging the modular architecture of PHP to provided added features in the language. Modules are used for email connectivity, accelerators, caches, bridges, cluster managers, session management, SSL, output compression, and JSON encoding among many other functions.
The modular architecture of PHP also provides the ability to extend the language itself. You can write or leverage existing code that efficiently performs some task (such as translation or encoding) and rapidly make that code available in PHP.

A Strong Community
PHP has a growing and active open source community behind it. There are almost 9,000 developers working actively on modifying and/or extending the PHP language, with hundreds actively contributing back into the core PHP project. And the numbers are growing. Estimates show that the number of PHP developers in the world has increased by 37 percent
over the past two years. Today there are literally tens of millions of Web properties and projects out there based on PHP.
That large community, coupled with the general acceptance of PHP among major software heavyweights like Oracle and IBM, makes PHP an obvious choice in terms of building Web applications. The support and backing of large companies and the PHP community is driving the PHP language to scale to any level. The simple fact that Yahoo! has standardized its Web properties completely on PHP is proof enough that there is strong backing of a strong and scalable product in PHP. Many of the largest Web sites are powered by PHP including: Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Facebook, Viacom, and Charles Schwab.

Conclusions
PHP has come into its own as a development language. The strong community backing, large pool of developers, as well as major companies standardizing their Web front-ends on PHP prove that PHP is the way to go when building Web applications. A scalable, simple language that works well with other systems, PHP can make designing, implementing, and maintaining a Web application or Web site a far more pleasant endeavor.

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