A gentleman in my PHP study group posed this question in our first meeting, and it set off a really great discussion.
Why use PHP? There are other similar languages out there, so what’s the advantage?
First of all, what is PHP? It’s a server-side scripting language. Thus far, I’ve been most comfortable working on stuff that’s client-side or browser-based. In layman’s terms — all of the cool stuff is done by a viewer’s browser.
But there are times when you want a bit more power, like if you need to access a database or create dynamic web pages. There are actually a number of options out there, including JSP pages (run with Java) and ASP (Miscrosoft).
PHP has been around for a while (15 years, according to the study group leader) but there are tons of users, and as a result, they are asking for more functionality from the language, so it’s continuing to be developed.
Also, some pretty big names are using PHP — WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Facebook, just to name a few.
PHP is open-source and non-proprietary. It’s also flexible, and, according to the study group leaders, it’s the easiest language to get up to speed on. Plus, they say there’s a lot of PHP work being done in Austin, so learning could lead to more professional opportunities.
I’m sold. I mean, I liked learning ASP.NET at ACC, but it’s not free. I just happen to have married a Microsoft guy. Plus, I don’t have clients asking for ASP sites — they want sites in WordPress, Drupal and Joomla. PHP is now — for me.
If you’re interested in learning more about PHP, check out the Wikipedia page.