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New to Coding? Introduction to PHP for Web Development
New to Coding? Introduction to PHP for Web Development

Kickstart your journey into web development with this beginner-friendly introduction to PHP.

Rapyd Team avatar
Written by Rapyd Team
Updated over a week ago

PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is a popular open-source programming language primarily used for web development. With its large community of developers, the language is constantly being refined and improved, making it a top choice for creating dynamic websites and web applications.

Why Choose PHP for Web Development?

PHP is widely adopted due to its simplicity, versatility, and ease of learning. Some of the many capabilities of PHP include:

  • Creating contact forms

  • Building dynamic websites

  • Developing content management systems

  • And much more

Understanding How PHP Works

Understanding How PHP Works

As a server-side scripting language, PHP runs on the server rather than the user's computer. When a user requests a webpage containing PHP code, the server processes the code and delivers the resulting HTML to the user's browser. Consequently, the user views the webpage complete with dynamic content generated by the PHP code.

Getting Started with PHP

To begin using PHP, you need a web server with PHP support. Many web hosting companies provide PHP support, or you can set up a local server on your computer for testing purposes. Once your server is ready, you can write PHP code using a simple text editor like Notepad or Sublime Text. Alternatively, you can use one of the numerous integrated development environments (IDEs) available to simplify coding in PHP.

Basic PHP Syntax

PHP code is enclosed within <?php and ?> tags, as demonstrated in the following example:

php

<?php
echo "Hello, world!";
?>

This code will display "Hello, world!" on the screen.

Some Common terms in PHP Programming

Some Common terms in PHP Programming
  • Syntax: The rules and structure governing the writing of PHP code.

  • Integer: A data type representing whole numbers without decimal points.

  • String: A data type representing a sequence of characters, such as text.

  • Arrays: Data structures that store multiple values in a single variable, allowing for convenient manipulation and access.

  • Method calls: Invoking functions or methods to perform specific actions or operations.

  • Input values: The data provided to a PHP program or function as an input or parameter.

  • Callables: A term referring to entities that can be called like functions, including functions themselves, methods, and certain types of objects.

  • JIT (Just-In-Time): A compilation technique where code is compiled and executed at runtime, potentially improving PHP application performance.

  • Type Variance: The ability to specify the relationship between different types, such as covariance, contravariance, or invariance, when working with generic types.

  • Deprecations: Features or functions in PHP that are marked as outdated or discouraged, often due to better alternatives being available.

  • Variables: Named containers used to store data values that can be manipulated and accessed throughout the program.

  • Functions: Blocks of reusable code that perform specific tasks and can be called multiple times.

  • Conditional Statements: Structures that allow for different paths of execution based on specified conditions, such as if-else statements.

  • Loops: Control structures that repeat a block of code until a certain condition is met, such as for loops and while loops.

  • Classes: Blueprint or template for creating objects, encapsulating related data and behaviors into a single entity.

  • Objects: Instances of classes that contain both data (properties) and functionality (methods).

  • Inheritance: The ability of a class to inherit properties and methods from a parent class, promoting code reuse and hierarchical relationships.

  • Exception Handling: Mechanism for dealing with runtime errors or exceptional situations, allowing for graceful error handling and program flow control.

  • Namespaces: A way to organize code by grouping related classes, functions, and constants under a specific namespace to avoid naming conflicts.

  • File Handling: Operations related to reading from and writing to files, including opening, closing, reading, and writing data.

  • Database Connectivity: Interacting with databases, including establishing connections, executing queries, and retrieving or modifying data.

Please keep in mind that this list is still not exhaustive, as PHP encompasses a wide range of concepts and features.

Conclusion

As a powerful programming language, PHP is widely used in web development projects. Its simplicity and versatility make it an excellent choice for both beginners and experienced developers. Whether you're crafting a basic contact form or designing a sophisticated dynamic site, PHP offers the necessary tools to complete the task effectively.

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