What is PHP & Why Should You Learn PHP 7
Anyone who has been in the business of development and programming has heard of PHP, even if they haven’t used it, they have definitely heard of it. However, we are not here to see if PHP is popular (we already know that it is), but the question stands, should you learn it or rather, is it right for you?
Let’s get down to it. In order to understand if PHP is right for you, we must first understand what is PHP.
What is PHP?
PHP, originally an acronym for Personal Home Page, was developed by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1995 for his own, you guessed it, Personal Home Page. He wrote CGI (Common Gateway Interface) programs in C and extended them with web forms so that they could communicate with databases. This was the beginning of PHP as a language.
From there, it could be used to build simple but dynamic web applications. To improve the code, Lerdorf made his creation public, which is how we ended up with the PHP that we have today. Now, PHP no longer stands of Personal Home Page, but instead is a recursive acronym for Hypertext Preprocessor.
PHP7 is the latest release of PHP and is currently the most commonly used server side scripting language on the web. It can also be used as a general-purpose programming language to build websites and apps from scratch.
The latest version of PHP is optimized to be faster and better than the older versions and has been dubbed as PHP next generation (phpng). By refactoring the Zend engine, PHP uses more compact data structures with improved cache locality while retaining near-complete language compatibility.
PHP 7 Features
- Speed — The refactoring of the Zend engine and the PHP codebase resulted in a reduction of memory consumption and increased the performance, making PHP 7 faster.
- Type Declarations — Users can now set type declarations so that PHP knows exactly what to do with the code, resulting in less errors and a more readable code. Scalar Type Hints & Return Type Declarations are two types of declarations that are supported by PHP 7.
- Error Handling — Originally a fatal error would halt the script, but in PHP 7 it will now throw an exception so that the coder knows exactly what the error is and how they can fix it.
- New Operators — Two new operators were introduced, Spaceship Operator & Null Coalesce Operator. Spaceship Operator is made from combining three operators, less than, equal and greater than. When executed, it checks each operator individually and is best used for sorting. The Null Coalesce Operator is the fabled if-set-or. It will return the left operand if it is not NULL, otherwise it will return the right.
- Easy User-land CSPRNG — User-land refers to an application space that is external to the kernel and is protected by privilege separation, API for an easy to use and reliable Cryptographically Secure Pseudo Random Number Generator in PHP.
Benefits of PHP
- Easy to read and easy to write
- Shorter scripts and lines of code that allow maximum control over a websites
- Open-source, so it is free to use and modify
- Works on all major browsers
- Supports all major servers
- HP uses its own memory, which means less lag and it has a faster processing speed.
- A vast and vibrant community that is always available for help when required.
So, Should you Learn PHP?
If you want to build powerful and dynamic websites and apps, then PHP is one of the best languages that is available for a developer. Not only is it easy to learn and understand, but also give you more power over your website.
There are many different ways that you can start learning PHP, online and offline. If you are a seasoned developer, you can refer to the PHP Documentation to help you get started. However, if you are a newbie, you can use this Complete PHP 7 Guide to help you become a pro in PHP 7.