Originally called Personal Home Page Tools, PHP is now known as PHP Hypertext Preprocessor. It is one of the most popular programming languages for development of server-side applications (for example MediaWiki) and is open source. Many see it as the best alternative to the CGI/Perl system and Microsoft’s popular ASP (Active Server Pages).
PHP has several similarities with many of the popular structured programming languages like Perl and C. This allows programmers with a minimum level of experience to begin using the language to develop even complex applications without spending hours of time learning a new language. More experienced programmers and developers can utilize the language to develop dynamic content without learning new practices or functions.
PHP is more than a simple scripting language. Its unique modular design allows PHP designers to develop GUI (Graphical User Interface) applications. It can also be used directly from the command prompt, similarly to Python or Perl.
Additionally, the PHP programming language can easily interact with the most successful relational database systems like PostgreSQL, MySQL, DB2 and Oracle. It also is applicable for all of the major operating systems like Mac OS X, Windows, Linux and UNIX. The tool allows further flexibility by allowing the user to interact directly with popular web servers.
The home site offers the user extensive documentation, allowing for easy implementation. The open-source nature of the software gives the user an additional benefit: It has been tested by real users in real life situations and tweaked or changed as needed.
The software itself is licensed as BSD Software, allowing the user to freely redistribute it as long as they follow simple guidelines which relate primarily to reposting the original copyright. PHP has become one of the most popular open-source programming languages available. It is likely that as more changes are made to the code it will become more so.