What is PHP?

Definition #

PHPPHP is a widely-used open-source, general-purpose, server-side scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML.  It is used to develop static and dynamic websites as well as Web applications. 

PHP was originally an abbreviation of Personal Home Page, but it now stands for the recursive initialism PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.

PHP code is usually processed on a web server by a interpreter implemented as a module.

The model provides better performance and flexibility for developers.

PHP is the primary programming language used in WordPress

What is a scripting Language? #

A script is a set of programming instructions that are interpreted at runtime.

A scripting language is a language that interprets scripts at runtime. Scripts are usually embedded into other software environments.

The scripts can only be interpreted on a server that has PHP installed.

The client computers accessing the scripts require a web browser only.

What does a PHP file look like? #

Unlike a static HTML file, a PHP file can contain different types of data, all of which are executed on the server rather than delivered to the client.

  • The files can contain text, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and code
  • The code is executed on the server, and the result is returned to the browser as plain HTML
  • The files have the extension “.php”

Plugins and Themes support #

As the programming language evolves, the underlying code changes can break or cause existing themes and plugins to fail or crash a WordPress website.

Often major changes to PHP require the developers to release updates to address those changes.

Newer plugins and themes may not work with older versions of PHP as the required functions don’t exist.

Versions #

The programming language is constantly evolving to support advances in technology and to address user demand and security. 

As the programming language evolves, WordPress plugins need to be updated to support the updates.

The roadmap of supported versions is constantly updated and can be found on the PHP.net site [here].