PHP for Web Development


PHP is the most popular language used for web development. Unarguably the winner in terms of popularity. If you are planning to jump into building modern websites, choose PHP without even thinking for a second. It is the number one programming language when it comes to web development and there are reasons for it. I will detail them in this article and give you an introduction to PHP. The first release of PHP was done in June 1995. It was then called “Personal Home Page (PHP) Tools”. The initial PHP was a set of CGI binaries written in C. Rasmus Lerdorf wrote it to track visits to his online resume. Now the PHP stands for the recursive initialism PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. You can read the official PHP language reference to know in-depth about core language constructs.

PHP Versions
Versions Key Features Description
PHP/FI (1995)
  • Form handling
Perl/CGI script (PHP 1.0) introduced by Rasmus Lerdorf. The Expansion is Personal Home Page / Form Interpreter.
PHP/FI2 (1997)
  • Data conversion
  • Form data export
With slight modifications in Form Interpreter(PHP 2.0) to handle form entries.
PHP  3 – (1998)
  • PHP core is rewritten
  • PHP parser is rewritten.
  • Zend Engine is incorporated.
Language core was changed by Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans and PHP refers to PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.
PHP 4 – (2000)
  • Object-Oriented support
  • External resource handling
  • Security
  • RegEx handling
With features for supporting enterprise-oriented applications.
PHP 5 – (2004)
  • Improved object model
  • PDO Support
  • Exception handling
  • XML support
PHP core was almost stabilized with this release. Later 5.X releases have slight enhancement.
PHP 7 – (2016)
  • Improved performance (twice as that of 5.6)
  • Reduced memory usage
  • The null coalescing operator (??)
  • Return and Scalar Type Declarations
  • Anonymous Classes
  • Zero cost asserts
PHP 6.0 was skipped and PHP 7 was released. There was no clear official mention on why version 6 was skipped and there are many theories floating around. You can get more information on this by going through the linked HN discussion.
PHP 7.4 28 Nov 2019
  • Typed Properties 2.0
  • Preloading
  • Null Coalescing Assignment Operator
  • Improve openssl_random_pseudo_bytes
  • Weak References
  • New custom object serialization mechanism
  • Password Hash Registry
Note: This list presents only the major and the latest release. The feature list is a high level summary and not comprehensive. Please refer the official release notes for the complete list.

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