PHP is a computer programming language created specifically for developing web sites and web based applications. PHP is most often used to connect a web site to content in a database. This has many uses that include content management, ecommerce, blogs, and discussion forums. It can also be used to create software applications with a web interface, such as online ordering and inventory systems. PHP is also capable of saving state between loading pages, which makes it a powerful tool for creating shopping cart scripts or tracking the behavior of site visitors.

Borrowing much of its sytax from C, C++, Java, and PERL, PHP combines the best aspects of these languages in a slick implementation that is easy to code and maintain. The Zend engine that powers PHP provides extreamly fast interpretation and in many circumstances PHP outpaces applications written in other scripting languages such as PERL or ASP. What differentiates PHP most from other web scripting languages is that PHP is specifically designed for web development. PERL and Java, for instance, add an additional level of complexity that is not necessary for most web programming, and C and C++ are so complex as to prove useful only in writing the most resource intensive web applications.

PHP was originally designed by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994 and is currently entering its fifth version. PHP 5 introduces improved object oriented programming and error handling into the language.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
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