PHPBuilder - The ABC's of PHP Part 3 - Basic Script Building in PHP



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The ABC's of PHP Part 3 - Basic Script Building in PHP

by: Peter Shaw
|
March 26, 2009

Welcome to part 3 of my 10 part series on PHP. In the first two parts I introduced you to the language and to what software you needed to run it.
In this episode we will look at some simple PHP syntax, and we'll write a couple of small scripts to get our feet wet, and get a feel for the language.
What does a PHP script look like?
PHP traditionally is embedded into HTML code within a web page, as this was its initial intent. However it's becoming increasingly more popular for web application authors to write and generate the HTML using PHP from a page that is made entirely of PHP code.
The following two examples of the world renowned hello world program should help to show the difference:
Embedding in HTML
<html>
  <head>
    <title><?php print "My First Script"; ?></title>
  </head>
  <body>
    <?php
        
        print "<h1>Hello World</h1>";

      ?>
    </body>
  </html>
Full PHP

  <?php

    $content 
"<html>\n\t<head>\n\t\t<title>";
    
$content .= "My First Script";
    
$content .= "</title>\n\t</head>\n";
    
$content .= "\t<body>\n\t<h1>";
    
$content .= "Hello World";
    
$content .= "</h1>\n</body>\n</html>";

    print 
$content;

  
?>
Edited for correctness
When run using your web server set up, both scripts will produce the following:
  <html>
    <head>
      <title>My First Script</title>
    </head>
    <body>
      <h1>Hello World</h1>
    </body>
  </html>
My personal preference is embedding the PHP code within the HTML code, however there are plenty of alternative theories out there, and I would encourage you to explore and develop your own style of writing scripts.
As an example if you ever decide to work with the Typo3 framework (http://www.typo3.org/) then you'll be highly likely to use the Full PHP approach. For the remainder of this series we'll be using the embedded HTML approach.
The first script line by line
As you can see most PHP statements are included in special PHP tags which for the most part are no different to regular HTML tags.
Because of this, we can freely use them inter-changeably anywhere you would use any other HTML tags.
Looking at the title line in the first example above, you can see that we generate the title using PHP code and a static string. You could use a variable, but since we're not covering them until next time I'll skip over that for now.

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