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PHP History

PHPLearn basics of PHP

PHP is one of the most popular server-side scripting programming languages. It is primarily designed for web development. The open source nature of PHP ensures that it is used in big projects, for example WordPress. Watch PHP engineers from San Francisco, London, New York, Moscow, Beijing and Sao Paolo write production-level code, and compare coding processes and workflows. Now, you can learn and improve your coding with PHP tutorials and resources here on Livecoding!


Introduction to PHP Programming Language

PHP is the most popular server-side scripting language. It is designed for web development and general purpose programming in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf. With over two decades of development, PHP has seen both the highs and lows. Now, PHP is managed by The PHP Group and is in continuous development. PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor which was changed from an initial name of “Personal Home Page”.

PHP is mainly used in conjunction with HTML code, web content management system, web template systems, and other popular web frameworks. The PHP language is processed by the server or the Common Gateway Interface(CGI). Either way, it can be used to create an amazing web application where the PHP code is always executed on the server side. You can also execute PHP code with the help of command-line interface(CLI). Furthermore, it can also be used to implement a graphical application that is standalone in nature.

History of PHP

PHP history is unique in its own way. It all started when Rasmus Lerdorf started experimenting and working on Command Gateway Interface(CGI) with a focus on creating his personal homepage. He wanted to extend the functionality of CGI to forms and ensure that the forms can communicate with the database for transferring and storing information. He succeeded in his attempts and named the solution as PHP/FI or "Personal Home Page/Forms Interpreter". The name has been changed later to "Hypertext Preprocessor".

His work has been done mostly with Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutman. Both of them worked on the parser which was used in PHP 3.

It was initially used for creating simple, but dynamic web application. To ensure proper growth and core development of PHP, Lerdorf released PHP on the Usenet discussion group on June 8, 1995, under the version PHP 1.0. The initial release was strong and PHP release of 2013 did carry the basic features from the first version. Later on, new features are added including Per-like variables, HTML embedding, form handling. On the syntax part, it does have similarities with Perl but is simpler compared to it.

PHP/FI could be used to build simple, a dynamic web applications. To accelerate bug reporting and improve the code, Lerdorf initially announced the release of PHP/FI as "Personal Home Page Tools (PHP Tools) version 1.0" on the Usenet discussion group comp.infosystems.www.authoring.cgi on June 8, 1995. This release already had the basic functionality that PHP has as of 2013. This included Perl-like variables, form handling, and the ability to embed HTML. The syntax resembled that of Perl but was simpler, more limited and less consistent.

As we all know that PHP was never meant to be a programming language, but it has already caught the attention of the audience, and organic traffic was growing slowly. To ensure that PHP grows in the right direction, a new development team is set up in mid-1997. In November 1997, a working version of PHP programming language was released and was known as PHP/FI 2.

As we all know that PHP was never meant to be a programming language, but it has already caught the attention of the audience, and organic traffic was growing slowly. To ensure that PHP grows in the right direction, a new development team is set up in mid-1997. In November 1997, a working version of PHP programming language was released and was known as PHP/FI 2.

Is PHP dying? That’s one of the most asked questions on the internet. Even though many people believe that nothing is going to happen to PHP, but the bad initial design is what makes PHP so bad and disliked by the community. There are many low-level libraries that don’t fit the naming convention and it can become confusion for the developers to maintain and develop using PHP.


PHP 7 is now released bringing new changes to the platform. The new changes ensures old flaws are somewhat fixed and new features can help it bring the most out of the programming language. The naming convention has also been an issue among the community.

PHP 7 brings many new features include performance improvement.

PHP Tools

PHP is the most popular programming web language right now. The huge popularity also means that there are hundreds and thousands of PHP tools to choose from. The tools help you to handle all the important part of your workflow and enable you to be as much productive as possible. Let’s check out some of the best PHP tools that you can use in your work.

  • DebugBar If you are thinking of using a debug tool, DebugBar is all you need. It is a very simple tool that lets you arrange and collect all the profiling data. Furthermore, it is not dependent on any other tool or plugin and can easily process generic data collectors, Ajax requests and another form of information. The information bar is kept at the footer to enable easy access.
  • Monsta FTP Monsta FTP is an open source PHP/Ajax cloudware that puts FTP file management right in your browser, anywhere, any time. You can drag & drop files into your browser and watch them upload, like magic. It supports on-screen file editing. There is multi-language support as well. It has been tested on Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari. It is released under GNU General Public License. You can download for free and install it on your own server.
  • Phalcon PHP Phalcon PHP is a web framework delivered as a C extension providing high performance and lower resource consumption. Phalcon PHP is written in C with platform independence in mind. As a result, Phalcon PHP is available on Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, You can either download a binary package for the system of your choice or build it from sources.
  • Pinba Pinba is a clever piece of software that provide real-time PHP server statistics. It utilizes MySQL as a read-only interface.
  • CaseBox CaseBox is a simple open-source application that lets you manage tasks, records, and files. It is built using PHP/MySQL. Furthermore, it has a desktop-like interface that lets you work with ease. It can also be used to create tasks with deadlines. Other key features include client information storage, quick search and much more.
  • Munee Munne is a multi-purpose PHP library that lets you do a lot of things. It can be used for website assets manipulation and app optimization. All this can be done thanks to the powerful caching mechanism used on both the server and client-side. Furthermore, it can be used for image manipulation and optimization as well. Other optimization tasks that it can handle well are SCSS, LESS, CoffeeScript, and other programming language minification. You can also use the plugin for combining CSS + JS file, reducing the size of the assets.
  • PHPImageWorkshop PHPImageWorkshop is an image processing library that lets you handle all the image processing. It is so powerful that it can work similar to GIMP and Photoshop. For example, you can work with image layers and other features such as cropping, rotating, etc. The library is open source and can be used for free.
  • Sylius Sylius is yet another open source tool for PHP. It is an e-Commerce solution which offers complex product management, category management, etc.It also supports shipping methods, tax rates, and payment gateways.
  • Pico Pico is a small CMS application that lets you do limited things. And, that’s why it is popular among the users. It utilizes flat-files database and stored data in .md format files. If you love markdown, you will also like Pico.
  • phpMyFAQ Our last entry is the phpMyFAQ. It is yet another open source tool that you can use in your PHP F.A.Q application development. It can be used to create nice F.A.Q systems. Furthermore, you can create admin interface and work on relatively easy ways to work with. It also offers advanced search system and front-end technologies such as HTML-CSS can be used for customizing the platform. You can also export PDF format if needed.

PHP Best Books

PHP books can help you learn the craft of writing clean and effective PHP code. If you want to learn PHP, you can go through the three categories of books mentioned below. More importantly, you can also learn PHP online and work towards PHP expertise. PHP language can also help you to create excellent web applications capable of doing complex tasks. To ensure that you write high quality PHP application, we recommend you to read the below mentioned books.

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    A Learning PHP, MySQL & JavaScript: With jQuery, CSS & HTML5

    by Robin Nixon

    Build interactive, data-driven websites with the potent combination of open-source technologies and web standards, even if you have only basic HTML knowledge. With this popular hands-on guide, you’ll tackle dynamic web programming with the help of today’s core technologies: PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, jQuery, CSS, and HTML5.

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    The Joy of PHP: A Beginner's Guide to Programming Interactive Web Applications with PHP and mySQL

    by Alan Forbes

    Have you ever wanted to design your own website or browser application but thought it would be too difficult or just didn't know where to start? Have you found the amount of information on the Internet either too daunting or not geared for your skill set or worse-- just plain boring? Are you interested in learning to program.

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    Beginning PHP 5 and MySQL: From Novice to Professional

    by W Jason Gilmore

    Beginning PHP 5 and MySQL: From Novice to Professional offers a comprehensive introduction to two of the most popular open-source technologies on the planet: the PHP scripting language and the MySQL database server. You are not only exposed to the core features of both technologies, but will also gain valuable insight into how they are used in unison to create dynamic data-driven web applications, not to mention learn about many of the undocumented features of the most recent versions.

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    Modern PHP: New Features and Good Practices

    by Josh Lockhart

    PHP is experiencing a renaissance, though it may be difficult to tell with all of the outdated PHP tutorials online. With this practical guide, you’ll learn how PHP has become a full-featured, mature language with object-orientation, namespaces, and a growing collection of reusable component libraries.

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    PHP Cookbook: Solutions & Examples for PHP Programmers

    by Brett Slatkin

    Want to understand a certain PHP programming technique? Or learn how to accomplish a particular task? This cookbook is the first place to look. With more than 350 code-rich recipes revised for PHP 5.4 and 5.5, this third edition provides updated solutions for generating dynamic web content—everything from using basic data types to querying databases, and from calling RESTful APIs to testing and securing your site.

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    PHP Objects, Patterns, and Practice

    by Matt Harrison

    The book begins by covering PHP's object-oriented features. It introduces key topics including class declaration, inheritance, reflection and much more. These provide the fundamentals of the PHP's support for objects. It also introduces some principles of design.

    This edition introduces new object relevant features such as traits, reflection extension additions, callable type hinting, improvements to exception handling, and many smaller language enhancements.

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    PHP Advanced and Object-Oriented Programming: Visual QuickPro Guide

    by Larry Ullman

    Readers can take their PHP skills to the next level with this fully revised and updated PHP Advanced: Visual QuickPro Guide, Third Edition! Filled with fourteen chapters of step-by-step content and written by bestselling author and PHP programmer Larry Ullman, this guide teaches specific topics in direct, focused segments, shows how PHP is used in real-world applications.

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    PHP Advanced for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickPro Guide

    by Larry Ullman, Larry Ullman

    PHP is a server-side, HTML-embedded scripting language. ItÕs frequently being used to replace the functionality created by Perl to write CGI scripts). Similar to both HTML and CGI, PHP is faster to program in and faster to execute than CGI. PHP was written specifically for Website creation, unlike Perl, C, or Java. Companies such as Honda, Patagonia, and all have Web sites utilizing PHP.

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    PHP 5 Advanced: Visual QuickPro Guide

    by Larry Ullman

    PHP is currently one of the most popular server-side, HTML-embedded scripting language on the Web. It's specifically designed for Web site creation and is frequently being used to replace the functionality created by Perl to write CGI scripts. PHP's popularity and easier-to-learn appeal has spawned a new breed of programmer, those who are only familiar with and only use PHP.

PHP Projects

If you want to learn PHP, you need to know about PHP projects. The projects will enable you to understand the power of PHP. It is one of the most advanced programming languages and by knowing the projects can help you understand it better. So, why wait? Let’s get started with the best PHP projects.

Magento is one of the most popular eCommerce platform created using PHP programming language. It is easy to use and offers all the basic functionalities that anyone needs to run an eCommerce website.

CodeIgniter is one of the best PHP frameworks and is crafted to perfection. It is easy to use and can be learned very quickly.

Laravel is yet another PHP framework. It is very popular and is currently number one among the PHP framework. The community is growing rapidly.

Basecamp can be used as a collaborative tool for projects and is very popular among PHP programmers.

PHP GTK GIMP toolkit is implemented using the PHP GTK extension

PHP BB is a popular PHP tool that can be used to create a bulletin board. It is free to use and open source.

PHP Community

PHP has a huge community. There are many PHP frameworks and CMS out there, contributing to the growth of PHP. Below are two of the major community related with PHP. Check them out!

  • WordPress community

    The biggest open source community surrounding PHP is WordPress. WordPress has developed through the last few years, and anyone can contribute to WordPress platform.

  • PHP community

    PHP community is all about PHP! You can invest your time on projects, meeting like minded people using IRC and other social media platform, and much more.

  • uWebDesign (RU): One of the biggest community in about web development

PHP Gurus (Reference)

  • Keith Casey

    Keith Casey

    Keith Casey is known for his work on APIs. He is the director of product for His past work experience includes working at Twilo as Developer Evangelist. He also maintains his blog and contributes actively to the community.

    Keith’s Website
  • Eamon Leonard

    Eamon Leonard has 20+ years experience in the IT industry. His major work is in product development, and he has also worked on leading teams and making them do amazing things. He is also the founder of Cohort, Inc. His journey started in 1996 when he first started to write code.

    Eamon’s Website
    Eamon Leonard
  • Lorna Jane Mitchell

    Lorna Jane Mitchell

    is the author of the popular PHP book of "PHP Web Services" and "PHP Master". She has also been active conference speaker and has provided her writing skill to many outlets.

    Lorna’s Website
  • Chris Cornutt

    Chris Cornutt is a PHP developer with a focus on application security. He has also served as senior editor for @phpdeveloper. He has also organized multiple conferences and help outreach PHP to the audience.

    Chris’s Blog
    Chris Cornutt

PHP Conferences

There are multiple PHP conferences around the world that take place every year. Let’s look at some of the PHP Conferences that you can visit and participate yourself in the community.