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Chapter 34. Using PHP > What Is PHP?

What Is PHP?

PHP is a special scripting language used to dynamically generate Web documents. PHP can be traced back to a developer named Rasmus Lerdorf, who developed a set of macro commands and a parser to interpret them. The commands were for common elements on Web pages at the time—page counters, guest books, and so on. Lerdorf named his language "Personal Home Page Tools," which was later abbreviated to PHP. Later he added the capability to handle data from HTML forms (form interpreter), and PHP/FI was born.

PHP/FI was released into the open source community, where it was met with great enthusiasm and the desire to keep adding to its capabilities. Over time, PHP added the capability to perform common server-side tasks such as sending an email message or placing an HTTP cookie. Additionally, it was ported to multiple platforms (not just the Linux environment, where it was nurtured) and was refitted to work with different kinds of databases. In May 2000, PHP4 was released to the world, and it included a souped-up parsing engine called Zend. Given the fervor over PHP and the energy of the open source software community, enhancements to PHP should continue to come fast and furiously.


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