History and Evolution of PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor

PHP stands for “PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor” where “Preprocessor” means that changes happen before the HTML page is created. This converts static webpage to dynamic webpage with the capacity to interact with databases. The PHP programming language is commonly used for developing web-based software applications. However, the use of the language is not limited to web development and it can also be used for developing GUI applications. As per netcraft.com in 2013, PHP found application in over 244 million websites.

PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) as it’s known today is actually the successor to a product named PHP/FI. Created in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf, the very first incarnation of PHP was a simple set of Common Gateway Interface (CGI) binaries written in the C programming language. Originally used for tracking visits to his online resume, he named the suite of scripts “Personal Home Page Tools,” more frequently referenced as “PHP Tools.” Over time, more functionality was desired, and Rasmus rewrote PHP Tools, producing a much larger and richer implementation. This new model was capable of database interaction and more, providing a framework upon which users could develop simple dynamic web applications such as guestbooks. In June of 1995, Rasmus » released the source code for PHP Tools to the public, which allowed developers to use it as they saw fit. This also permitted – and encouraged – users to provide fixes for bugs in the code, and to generally improve upon it.

In September of that year, Rasmus expanded upon PHP and – for a short time – actually dropped the PHP name. Now referring to the tools as FI (short for “Forms Interpreter”), the new implementation included some of the basic functionality of PHP as we know it today. It had Perl-like variables, automatic interpretation of form variables, and HTML embedded syntax. The syntax itself was similar to that of Perl, albeit much more limited, simple, and somewhat inconsistent. In fact, to embed the code into an HTML file, developers had to use HTML comments. Though this method was not entirely well-received, FI continued to enjoy growth and acceptance as a CGI tool — but still not quite as a language. However, this began to change the following month; in October, 1995, Rasmus released a complete rewrite of the code. Bringing back the PHP name, it was now (briefly) named “Personal Home Page Construction Kit,” and was the first release to boast what was, at the time, considered an advanced scripting interface. The language was deliberately designed to resemble C in structure, making it an easy adoption for developers familiar with C, Perl, and similar languages. Having been thus far limited to UNIX and POSIX-compliant systems, the potential for a Windows NT implementation was being explored.

The code got another complete makeover, and in April of 1996, combining the names of past releases, Rasmus introduced PHP/FI. This second-generation implementation began to truly evolve PHP from a suite of tools into a programming language in its own right. It included built-in support for DBM, mSQL, and Postgres95 databases, cookies, user-defined function support, and much more. That June, PHP/FI was given a version 2.0 status. An interesting fact about this, however, is that there was only one single full version of PHP 2.0. When it finally graduated from beta status in November, 1997, the underlying parsing engine was already being entirely rewritten.

Though it lived a short development life, it continued to enjoy a growing popularity in still-young world of web development. In 1997 and 1998, PHP/FI had a cult of several thousand users around the world. A Netcraft survey as of May, 1998, indicated that nearly 60,000 domains reported having headers containing “PHP”, indicating that the host server did indeed have it installed. This number equated to approximately 1% of all domains on the Internet at the time. Despite these impressive figures, the maturation of PHP/FI was doomed to limitations; while there were several minor contributors, it was still primarily developed by an individual.

Features of PHP

The main features of php is; it is open source scripting language so you can free download this and use. PHP is a server site scripting language. It is open source scripting language. It is widely used all over the world. It is faster than other scripting language. Some important features of php are given below;

Simple: It is very simple and easy to use, compare to other scripting language it is very simple and easy, this is widely used all over the world.

Interpreted: It is an interpreted language, i.e. there is no need for compilation.

Faster: It is faster than other scripting language e.g. asp and jsp.

Open Source: Open source means you no need to pay for use php, you can free download and use.

Platform Independent: PHP code will be run on every platform, Linux, Unix, Mac OS X, Windows.

Case Sensitive: PHP is case sensitive scripting language at time of variable declaration. In PHP, all keywords (e.g. if, else, while, echo, etc.), classes, functions, and user-defined functions are NOT case-sensitive.

Error Reporting: PHP have some predefined error reporting constants to generate a warning or error notice.

Real-Time Access Monitoring: PHP provides access logging by creating the summary of recent accesses for the user.

History of PHP

PHP was created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994 and was publicly released in June 1995. Back then, it was the abbreviated form of Personal Home Page tools. After two years, in 1997, it entered the public domain as PHP/F1 2.0. A year later, two programmers, Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans, rewrote the base of the original version and launched PHP 3.

PHP 4, which came out in 2000, incorporated a scripting engine named Zend Engine that was designed by Suraski and Gutmans. Three more major versions with some sub-versions were launched in the later years with the latest version 7.0 released in 2015.

PHP 3 – Hits the Big Time

PHP 3.0 was the first version that closely resembles PHP as it exists today. Finding PHP/FI 2.0 still inefficient and lacking features they needed to power an eCommerce application they were developing for a university project, Andi Gutmans and Zeev Suraski of Tel Aviv, Israel, began yet another complete rewrite of the underlying parser in 1997. Approaching Rasmus online, they discussed various aspects of the current implementation and their redevelopment of PHP. In an effort to improve the engine and start building upon PHP/FI’s existing user base, Andi, Rasmus, and Zeev decided to collaborate in the development of a new, independent programming language. This entirely new language was released under a new name, that removed the implication of limited personal use that the PHP/FI 2.0 name held. It was renamed simply ‘PHP’, with the meaning becoming a recursive acronym – PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.

PHP 4 – Optimization, Scalability and More

PHP 5 – Object Orientation, Error Handling, and XML

PHP 5 was released in July 2004 after the long development and several pre-releases. It is mainly driven by its core, the Zend Engine 2.0 with a new object model and dozens of other new features.

In the History of PHP development team includes dozens of developers, as well as dozens of others working on PHP-related and supporting projects, such as PEAR, PECL, and documentation, and an underlying network infrastructure of well over one-hundred individual web servers on six of the seven continents of the world. Though only an estimate based on statistics from previous years, it is safe to presume PHP is now installed on tens or even perhaps hundreds of millions of domains around the world.

Introducing PHP 7 – a revolution in the way we deliver applications that power everything from websites and mobile to enterprises and the cloud. This is the most important change for PHP since the release of PHP 5 in 2004, bringing explosive performance improvements, drastically reduced memory consumption, and a host of brand-new language features to make your apps soar.

Thanks to the new Zend Engine 3.0, your apps see up to 2x faster performance and 50% better memory consumption than PHP 5.6, allowing you to serve more concurrent users without adding any hardware. Designed and refactored for today’s workloads, PHP 7 is the ultimate choice for web developers today.

PHP 7 is a major release of PHP programming language and is touted to be a revolution in the way web applications can be developed and delivered for mobile to enterprises and the cloud. This release is considered to be the most important change for PHP after the release of PHP 5 in 2004.

New Features

There are dozens of features added to PHP 7, the most significant ones are mentioned below −

  • Improved performance − Having PHPNG code merged in PHP7, it is twice as fast as PHP 5.
  • Lower Memory Consumption − Optimized PHP 7 utilizes the lesser resource.
  • Scalar type declarations − Now parameter and return types can be enforced.
  • Consistent 64-bit support − Consistent support for 64-bit architecture machines.
  • Improved Exception hierarchy − Exception hierarchy is improved.
  • Many fatal errors converted to Exceptions − Range of exceptions is increased covering many fatal errors converted as exceptions.
  • Secure random number generator − Addition of new secure random number generator API.
  • Deprecated APIs and extensions removed − Various old and unsupported APIs and extensions are removed from the latest version.
  • The null coalescing operator (??) − New null coalescing operator added.
  • Return and Scalar Type Declarations − Support for return type and parameter type added.
  • Anonymous Classes − Support for anonymous added.
  • Zero cost asserts − Support for zero cost asserts added.

PHP 7 uses new Zend Engine 3.0 to the History of PHP improve application performance almost twice and 50% better memory consumption than PHP 5.6. It allows serving more concurrent users without requiring any additional hardware. PHP 7 is designed and refactored considering today’s workloads.

How Popular is PHP ?

A quick review of some statistics gives a very clear indication of the phenomenally widespread use of PHP. A company called Netcraft specializes in recording data about the types of web servers and web server modules that are used on the internet. As of April 2007, Netcraft reported that PHP was used on over 20,000,000 plus distinct web domains.

A web survey by SecuritySpace also lists PHP as the most widely deployed Apache module. It is safe to say that PHP has taken the internet by storm. This is the All History of PHP.

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