PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor. (Some sources say it is a recursive acronym for PHP Hypetext Preprocessor.) It is a server-side scripting language (this means the scripts are run on the web server as opposed to the client machine or the user's browser). This means you won't have to worry about compatibility, or functions that don't work with specific browsers.

In order to utilize the power of PHP, you first need to have an implementation of PHP running on your server. Most hosting services have an option to install PHP; or if you maintain your own server, you can get the installation files at PHP is free to download and install, so why not?

You don't need any special software to write/debug your PHP codes. You can write the scripts in any text editor or your choice--notepad, kwrite, gedit, emacs, etc. Debugging can be done through the browser of your choice.


PHP code must be enclosed within specific tags. There are four sets of tags that can be used:

Opening Tag Closing Tag
<? ?>
<?php ?>
<% %>
<script language="php"> </script>

All of these tags produce the same results. The second pair (<?php and ?>) are the most widely accepted and used tag format so this will be the format in use within this tutorial. You must remember to maintain a good tag structure. This means you must start and end your code with the same tag format (i.e. you can't start with <?php and expect to end with </script>).


i) Your First PHP Script
ii) Working with Text
iii) Using Comments
iv) PHP Variables