Cursor are experienced PHP developers who have produced a vast range of websites and online software developed using PHP.
What is PHP?
PHP (PHP Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely-used open source scripting language that is used to create dynamic web pages that can interact with databases. PHP is specifically used for web application development and can be embedded within HTML.
The distinguishing feature of PHP is that the scripting code is executed on the server, which generates HTML that is sent back to the client. The client receives the result of executing the script without knowing the underlying code. Developers can configure the web server to process all the HTML files (containing the PHP script).
Why use PHP?
There are many factors to consider when deciding which language to use for building your website. One of the most important considerations is whether the language is stable, and will remain supported for years to come.
By choosing PHP, you know that you are choosing the most popular programming language, and one which is being continuously developed and improved upon. Many PHP-based solutions are open source, so using them doesn’t incur license costs.
PHP has very detailed online documentation, making it relatively easy to learn and very well supported online. If you have a question about PHP, the chances are somebody else has asked it before, and there will be a forum or tutorial online which can answer your question.
Why do developers like PHP?
Developers like using PHP because it can interact with many different database languages including MySQL and PostgreSQL. Because these languages are free, it is cheap and easy to set up and create a website using PHP.
The aforementioned popularity of PHP is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, as developers are more likely to be predisposed towards a language which already has a wide network of users online. PHP has very good documentation and online support.
For novice developers, PHP is also a great place to start because it is easy to learn and widely-supported. Due to its popularity, many web development companies will expect job candidates to know PHP, so learning it can be well worth the effort.
Is PHP dying?
PHP does have its critics, and not without cause. The language is inconsistent in its design philosophy, because of how it has been developed piecemeal over a long period of time. This has led many people to question whether PHP is still relevant in 2021.
The continued popularity of PHP is proof that it is still alive and kicking. The low entry bar and gradual learning curve will always make it a popular language for first-time developers, and experienced developers still use it because it is flexible, scalable and customisable.
PHP also powers WordPress, which is by far the most popular Content Management System on the web. Though we prefer Craft CMS, we acknowledge that WordPress is still the market leader, and as long as it remains so, PHP will remain a hugely popular programming language.
So in short: no, PHP is not dying.
What can you build using PHP?
PHP is mainly used for server-side scripting, which makes it ideal for tasks such as collecting form data, generating dynamic page content, or sending and receiving cookies.
However, PHP can also be used for command line scripting and writing desktop applications. PHP is not usually used to create a desktop application with a graphical user interface, but those who know the language very well may be able to use PHP-GTK (an extension to PHP) to write such programmes.