PHP is a programming language that the server runs when someone loads you website. In other words then this is a ‘server-side’ script unlike HTML which is handled by the browser. This has several advantages in coding: the first being that you know every computer will be able to run your code because it won’t be the computer itself that’s handling the processing; and the second being that you can access the other files on the server through the programme which means that you can edit and alter files.
Any element of a website that could be described as ‘web 2.0’ is likely to involve PHP. Web 2.0 generally is used to refer to those websites that have an interactive element such as a comments box or a forum. That’s because PHP is used in these instances to allow the users to make or edit files – those files being the new forum posts or the new comments.
However the uses of PHP go beyond just implementing forums and comments – though these are very useful things to include. Here we will look at some of the other benefits of PHP for a website and why you should take the time to learn the language or at least invest in someone who already knows it.
If you want to give someone a way to contact you on your website then you can use a contact form written in Java and PHP. This way you can avoid having to give your e-mail away and will also look very professional on your website.
Letting someone sign up for a mailing list Is a great way to promote your website or your business and this way you have a very useful marketing strategy available to you. In order to generate a lengthy and genuinely useful mailing list it very much pays to be able to offer something in return for those signing up to your list. One obvious option here is an e-book, but you might also want to allow access to more exclusive parts of the site – both these things you can do with PHP.
Using PHP and/or Java you can utilize cookies in order to save data on the user’s computer which you can then access again. This is what allows people to stay logged into their profiles in social networks and forums – the site saves a cookie on the PH of the user and the code then checks for that when loading pages.
If you want to impress your advertisers then offer them the option to pay for targeted apps as they might on Facebook or through Google AdSense, all you need to do is collect some user data and store it as cookies.
Strings are variables that aren’t necessarily just numbers. Some strings you can obtain from your server or the visitors’ computers such as the time and date (so you can display it on your site), while others you can make yourself or let the user define. Imagine a website that speaks to you by name… Imagine it Fred! (That was just a guess, not a string…).
You can use PHP to write an editor that will let you quickly and easily make new pages for your site, and this can save you a huge amount of time and result in a lot more content updated a lot more regularly.
Jeet is blogger and cloud server administrator at www.directoryroll.com. He believes cloud servers are not only the best way to save resources but they are best way of using resources efficently.