Being an open source technology and available free of cost, PHP web development is outshining even many paid software. To begin with PHP was far behind Perl + CGI, which was the dominant platform, but with the passage of time PHP overtook. There are many reasons that supported PHP to become so much popular. It is much easier to get started with PHP, and once an individual gets started with a particular language, he/she doesn’t like to ditch that language for a quite long time. For instance, someone who wants to get started with Python web-development, he/she will have to understand this full alphabit soup of CGI, FASTCGI, FLUP, PASTE and the like, which is not an easy task. But, developers using PHP don’t have to worry about anything like that. With PHP, one can simply throw some code in the middle of one’s HTML file.
Originally designed to produce dynamic web pages, the language now focuses primarily on server-side scripting. In addition, it has attracted the development of several frameworks that provide building blocks plus a design structure to promote rapid application development.
PHP web development is compatible on all major operating systems such as Linux, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, RISC OS and several Unix variants, including Solaris and OpenBSD. The language has support for almost all of the major web servers, including Microsoft Internet Information Server, Apache, Personal Web Server, iPlanet servers, Netscape and Oreilly Website Pro Server. Thus, PHP provides users with the freedom of choosing an operating system as well as a web server.
Bad performance of CGI scripts also provided a boost to PHP web development. CGI scripts had notoriously bad performance because for every page request the web server had to generate a new interpreter process, before loading the script and returning the output across process boundaries. But, writing code with PHP feels fast, thanks to the tight write-test-debug loop.
Web-developers need a large standard library to create a good data-processing language. PHP has scored very well on this count as it provides a lot of support for database drivers, URL parsing and HTTP fetching.
With PHP web development, one is not restricted to output HTML. PHP is capable of outputting images, PDF files and even Flash movies. In addition, one can output any text, like XHTML and other XML file. PHP can auto-generate these files, and allows the user to save them in the file system, instead of printing it out, thus forming a server-side accumulation for the dynamic content.
Writing a database-enabled web page is amazingly simple, and like many paid softwares, PHP supports a wide range of databases. Moreover, PHP comes with several useful text processing features, ranging from POSIX Extended to parsing XML documents. PHP 4 supports the SAX and DOM standards, and it allows users to use the XSLT extension to transform XML documents. PHP 5 standardizes all the XML extensions and adds SimpleXML and XMLReader support.
PHP web development, which is efficiently outshining its main rivals such as Microsoft’s C#, Sun’s Java-JSP, Macromedia’s ColdFusions and CGI-Perl, now features forceful object.