What Does PHP Do ?

PHP can be used in three primary ways:

Server-side scripting

PHP was originally designed to create dynamic web content, and it is still best suited for that task. To generate HTML, you need the PHP parser and a web server through which to send the coded documents. PHP has also become popular for generating XML documents, graphics, Flash animations, PDF files, and so much more

Command-line scripting

PHP can run scripts from the command line, much like Perl, awk, or the Unix shell. You might use the command-line scripts for system administration tasks, such as backup and log parsing; even some CRON job type scripts can be done this way (nonvisual PHP tasks)

Client-side GUI applications

Using PHP-GTK, you can write full-blown, cross-platform GUI applications in PHP

PHP runs on all major operating systems, from Unix variants including Linux, FreeBSD, Ubuntu, Debian, and Solaris to Windows and Mac OS X. It can be used with all leading web servers, including Apache, Microsoft IIS, and the Netscape/iPlanet servers

The language itself is extremely flexible. For example, you aren’t limited to outputting just HTML or other text files—any document format can be generated. PHP has built-in support for generating PDF files, GIF, JPEG, and PNG images, and Flash movies

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