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					PHP Roadmap


We expect our readers to have a more than firm handle on what PHP is,
but for completeness-sake: PHP (a recursive acronym of PHP: Hypertext
Pre-processor) is an open source, server-side web-scripting language for
creating dynamic pages. Outside of it being browser independent, if
offers a simple and universal cross-platform solution for e-commerce,
and complex web and data-driven applications. Why PHP? PHP has:          A
low, smooth learning curve.     Broad       functionality for databases,
strings, network connectivity, file system        support, Java, COM, XML,
CORBA, WDDX, and Macromedia Flash.     Platform       compatibility with
UNIX (all variants), Win32 (NT/95/98/2000), QNX, MacOS        (WebTen),
OSX, OS/2, and BeOS.    Server        compatibility for Apache module
(UNIX, Win32), CGI/FastCGI, thttpd,        fhttpd, phttpd, ISAPI (ISS,
Zeus), NSAPI (Netscape iPlanet), Java servlet        engines, AOLServer,
and Roxen/Caudium module.     A       rapid development cycle. New
versions with bug fixes, additional        functionality, and other
improvements are released every few months.     A       vibrant and
supportive community. Code examples and free code abound. The        PHP
group has done an excellent job of providing new users with resources
and support.    Easy        extensibility. We can easily roll out our own
extensions to the language.     A       simple syntax that resembles C.
It’s easy for experienced C, C++, Perl and        shell coders to
pick up PHP.      Plus, it’s open source, and it’s
free. PHP Evolution If you’re new to PHP, here’s a quick
run down on where it’s been, where it is now, and where it’s
going. PHP Past We will tersely summarize the history of PHP here, but
we urge readers interested in the historical aspects of PHP development
to review the introductory PHP presentations at http://conf.php.net/ or
read the Brief History section in the PHP/FI 2 manual at
http://php.net/docs.php Rasmus Lerdorf conceived the idea of PHP in the
fall of 1994. Version 1 of the language was implemented in the early
1995 and was embraced by a handful of users, following which Version 2
was released later the same year. Version 3 and 4 followed in 1997 and
2000 respectively. PHP Present As of the time of writing, PHP usage is
growing at a rate of 15% each month, and is in use on at least twenty
million domains (Source: Netcraft Survey), which is about 20% of all the
domains registered so far. This is a significant chunk of the market,
given that these figures do not account for the multitude of
installations that run on intranets and private development servers.
PHP runs on 7 major platforms (stable), 10 server interfaces (stable),
supports 40 stable extensions (and about as many experimental ones), and
offers support to over 20 databases. These figures are testimony to the
fact that PHP has grown to its current popularity based on its power and
ease of use. PHP Future The PHP5 scripting engine is a second revision
of the PHP4 scripting engine, and provides more obvious intrastate and
services to the function modules, and implements the language syntax.
This revised version is largely based on the same parsing rules as the
PHP4 engine, thus providing goof backward compatibility and migration
path from PHP4 to PHP5. But the downside is the limited scope of
language-level improvements, to the PHP4 mindset. With feedback from a
multitude of PHP developers, Zend Technologies Ltd has embarked on a
revision of the Zend Engine that will incorporate the PHP developers
experience today. We urge you to add http://www.zend.com/zend/future.php
to your list of favourite, and also subscribe to the Zend 2.0 monitoring
the PHP roadmap. PHP vs. Other Scripting Languages  For those who
have migrated form other scripting languages, we have detailed a section
on why you just made the right choice. PHP vs. ASP ASP (Active Server
Pages) is Microsoft’s proprietary scripting
“language”. Loosely speaking, ASP isn’t a language, but
a scripting extension of Visual Basic. For this reason, ASP is
relatively easy to pick up for anyone who is familiar with Visual Basic.
Disadvantages? For one, ASP is generally slower than PHP. ASP is
fundamental user of COM-based architecture. So, when an ASP programmer
accesses the database and writes to the client, they’re calling
upon the COM strictures of another NT server or an OS layer to assist.
This COM overhead can add up and results in average performance for
anything more than medium-traffic simple page delivery. Also, ASP
isn’t exactly ready to port and integrate with GNU tools and open
source environments or servers. Since it’s a proprietary system of
Microsoft, it is mostly used on their Internet Information server (IIS),
which limits common adoption of ASP to Windows 32 bit systems –
where it comes as a free piece of code to most server customers. There
are versions for UNIX 9see Chilli Soft ASP) and several ASP concern. A
solution to this problem might be to use the asp2php program
(http://asp2psp.maken.cc/), which will convert ASP to PHP. PHP vs. Cold
Fusion PHP runs on virtually every platform; Cold Fusion is only
available on Win32, Solaris, Linux, and HP/US. PHP initially requires
more programming knowledge in contrast with Cold Fusion, which has a
refined IDE and simpler language constructs. PHP is less resource
intensive. PHP vs. Perl Since PHP was designed specifically for the
Web, it has the upper hand on Perl in this area, since Perl was designed
for myriad applications (and consequently looks the part). The format
and syntax of Perl can make a Perl script hard to read and modify later
when updates are needed. Though Perl has been around for quite some time
(it was developed in the late 1980s), and is widely supported, it has
grown into a complex structure of additions and extensions and is imply
just too much. PHP has a less confusing format without losing its
flexible nature. PHP is easier to integrate into existing HTML and
offers similar functionality to Perl, but with so much more grace. PHP
vs. Java PHP is simpler to use than Java and makes it easier to
architect web applications while also gaining similar advantages of
flexibility and scalability. Using PHP doesn’t require 5 years of
software engineering experience to create simple, dynamic pages and can
be used by savvy, but inexperienced, computer programmers. Java is
often expensive too, as most companies end up having a stand alone box
to run Java enterprise and use Oracle and other expensive software.
Having said all that, PHP still has to grow and in that it’s not as
portable or doesn’t have some of the nice features like object
pooling or database mapping as in Java. These issues are being addressed
in the Zend 2.0 engine design consideration. PHP Licensing PHP was
earlier released under both GPL (General Public Licence) and its own
licence, which left the individual user free to choose the licence they
preferred. Now the program as a while is released under its own
extremely laissez-faire PHP4 licence. At the time of writing, the Zend
licence was release under the QPL (Q Public Licence). Please refer
http://www.zend.com/licence/ZendLicence/ for more details. Also quoted in
their press release in the change to BSD-style licence, to provide
compatibility with the PHP licence, and offer greater freedom of
development. James Murphy is the Owner of Connex Hosting Limited and
1Line Web Site Design both places provide great services such as
Accessibility, SEO and all aspects of web design and programming.
Related Articles - PHP, PHP3, PHP4, PHP5, CGI, IIS, PERL, ASP, COLD,
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