Everything you need to know about PHP
By Jamie Mercer
Thinking about introducing PHP as a new language in your web development?
Choosing a programming language to create your web applications can be tricky, and it can be an even greater struggle if the developers on your team aren’t familiar with your language of choice.
PHP is the most widely used server-side scripting language in a business environment, and if you want to successfully implement the language, take a look at our detailed FAQs to help put your development team in the know.
What is PHP?
PHP (an acronym of PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is an HTML-embedded scripting language. Predominately used by developers as a server-side scripting language, it helps with the production of dynamic web applications.
Borrowing a lot of its syntax from other well-established languages including Java, Perl, and C, PHP is now one of the most widely used web development languages used in a business environment.
What versions of PHP are available?
In the current PHP ecosystem, there are four branches of the language currently active. Once a branch of the language is released, it will receive full support for two years. At the conclusion of this period, the language will receive additional support to help protect it against critical security issues.
The current branches of PHP available are:
Initial release: 28th August 2014
Security support until 31st December 2018
Initial release: 3rd Dec 2015
Security support until 3rd December 2018
Initial release: 1st December 2017
Active Support until 1st December 2018
Security support until 1st December 2019
Initial Release: 20th November 2017
Active support until 30th November 2019
Security support until 30th November 2020
You can download the latest version of PHP for your business at PHP.net
What is the cost of PHP?
There is zero cost for your business to adopt PHP as its web development language of choice. Released under the PHP license to encourage the widespread uptake of the language, the open-source license also allows for the redistribution of the source code.
What are the system requirements for utilising PHP?
To use PHP within your business, we recommend you have the following operating to create web applications successfully.
To operate PHP 7.0+ requires VC CRT 15 (Visual Studio 2015)
What can PHP do for your business?
The main focus of PHP is server-side scripting, and there are three primary areas in which you can use the scripts in a business setting:
Server-side scripting: This is the most common use for PHP in a business scenario and requires a web server with a connected PHP installation and a PHP parser.
Command line scripting: This allows for the creation of a PHP script with only the use of a parser. When used in a business, this type of PHP can be used for scripts executed using CRON, Task Scheduler or simple text processing tasks.
Writing desktop applications: PHP can be utilized to create desktop applications, and also used to add features to client-side applications. To use this feature, an external PHP-GTK extension can be downloaded here.
Zend PHP Certifications
Zend Certified Engineer
Recognised across the development industry, this certification covers all of the basic techniques needed to use PHP to create web applications successfully.
During the certification, a developer will cover the following list of examination topics:
- PHP Basics
- Data and Format Types
- Web Features
- Object Orientated Programming
- Strings and Patterns
- Databases and SQL
- Error Handling
A full list of certification topics and study guides are available on the official Zend website.
How much does the Zend Certified Engineer certification cost?
The voucher to take the examination costs $170.
Zend Framework 1 Certification
Building on the previous certification, this will allow your development team to become more versed in the basic and advanced techniques needed to use PHP to develop applications.
When taking the examination, developers will cover the following topics:
- Diagnosis and Maintainability
- Filtering and Validation
- Coding Standards
- Authentication and Access
- Web Services
How much does the Zend Framework 1 certification cost?
To receive an exam voucher for the certification, it will cost your business $195 per developer.
Zend Certified Architect
If your business is looking for a developer with extra PHP knowledge and the certification to back it up, then look for this on their CV.
When taking the examination, the topics that are likely to be covered are:
- Service Management
- Authentication and Authorisation
- Web Services
- Module Manager
- Event management
How much does the Zend Certified Architect certification cost?
To receive an exam voucher for the certification, it will cost your business $195 per developer.
Laravel Certification Program
Laravel is probably the most popular framework used in PHP development. This program allows developers to gain a specialized certification in the language by testing their current knowledge of the framework itself and the PHP techniques used to implement it in a business.
When taking the examination, developers will likely cover the following topics:
- URL Generation
- Artisan Console
- File Storage
- Helper Methods
- Package Development
- Task Scheduling
- Eloquent ORM
How much does the Laravel certification cost?
There are two different subscription levels available for the Laravel Certification examination voucher. If a developer requires a personal voucher, it will cost $249. Your business can also buy a certification voucher for a team of developers costing $1,120.
What is a PHP framework?
A PHP framework is a structure chosen by your business to develop a web application. Promoting rapid application development (RAD), it allows for the easy connection with APIs, an environment to build stable apps, and reduced coding time.
What are the most popular frameworks used with PHP?
Laravel is an open-source web framework intended for the development of web applications. Used for the creation of both large and small-scale projects, it allows for developers and businesses to maintain web applications successfully. The current stable version of Laravel is 5.6, with the source code for the framework listed on GitHub and licensed under the terms of the MIT License.
Codeigniter is an open-source rapid development framework used for building dynamic websites in PHP. The libraries needed for common tasks come preinstalled with the framework, and Codeigniter is especially useful for web designers who work on template files. The most recent version (3.1.9) was released in June and is available to download via GitHub.
This framework is used to speed up the development and maintenance of web applications. It offers three different development platforms, complete full stack, brick by brick, or microframework.
The framework currently has four supported release versions and two long-term support versions, which are 2.8 and 3.4. The support for version 2.8 will cease in November, with support for version 4.0 also being dropped in July 2018, following the release of version 4.1.
What is the difference between Zend and Laravel?
It all comes down to the size of the application your business is looking to create. Laravel is used to develop small or medium-sized web applications, whereas Zend is used to develop larger applications and will allow a quicker development process.
Will the language undergo changes?
According to Gartner, current developers and businesses should see this language as a safe and well-established investment for the future of programming.
What are the popular Content Management Systems (CMS) in PHP?
What are the three scope levels of PHP available?
There are three scope levels available when using PHP, and when creating an application, it’s important your development team understands the access level to source code and the privileges other members of the business can be afforded.
Private – Visible only in its own class
Public – Visible to any other code accessing the class
Protected – Visible only to classes parent(s) and classes that extend the current class
What does PEAR stand for?
When used in a business, the PHP Extension and Application Repository (PEAR), can extend the language to provide a higher level of programming capabilities for your development team.
What is an API?
An application programming interface is a set of tools, definitions, and protocols that are used to develop software and web applications.
Which APIs work well with PHP?
There are three APIs that work efficiently with PHP and are available with extensions:
What is MySQLi?
The MySQLi extension is a relational database driver used in the PHP scripting language to provide an interface with a MySQL database.
What is PDO_MySQL?
PDO_MySQL is a database abstraction layer that supports MySQL. Working with PHP Data Objects, it provides a common API for all databases.
What is MySQL?
MySQL is the world’s most popular open-source relational database management system. Driven by Oracle, the performance of the DBMS can be greatly enhanced by adding the extensions above.
What is PHP Parsing?
A parser is a piece of software that converts source code into something that is more easily understandable by a computer.
What are PSRs?
PSRs are PHP Standard Recommendations that aim to standardise the common aspects used within PHP development.
Why should a business use PSRs?
A business should follow a PSR as coding standards differ between developers and companies. This allows costs to be streamlined and the expectations of the development process to be managed, and will also cut down on confusion and syntax errors.
What PSRs are available?
The list of current PSRs can be found on the PHP-Fig website.
What is Magento?
Magento is an open-source e-commerce CMS platform written in PHP.
What does a Magento Developer do?
A Magento developer specialises in building, supporting and improving websites written in the Magento platform. There are two types of developer who specialise in the language, both of whom will perform different development skills.
Front-end developer: These devs will work to build front-end themes and replicate the design of a site in Magento.
Back-end developer: These developers will focus on building the features for your website.
|Magento 1 certified developer and developer plus||$260|
|Magento 1 certified frontend developer||$260|
|Magento 1 certified solutions professional||$260|
|Magento 2 certified professional frontend developer||$260|
|Magento 2 certified professional developer||$260|
|Magento 2 certified solutions specialists||$260|
Full details of all Magento certifications can be found here: https://u.magento.com/certification
What is the difference between PHP and HTML?
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is used to display content in a web browser, whereas PHP deals with the programming of a web page and runs on the server hosting the page.
What is MVC?
MVC, which stands for Model, View, Controller, is used by developers to organise their code. It is normally split into three layers, each having their specific function.
- Model: contains data access and business logic code
- View: contains markup/design code such as HTML or JSON
- Controller: contains little code, but normally whatever is needed to call the model code and render the view code
We hope our guide into the basics and technical aspects of PHP has helped your development team gain a deeper understanding of how the language can be used within your business. The next thing is to get your hands on some skilled PHP developers and start building your application.