So, what can I put in these PHP tags?
Well, anything that's valid PHP can go in there, print
statements, function calls, variable assignments and so on,
as an example using the print statement:
We are printing the output of the date function directly
into a set of <H1> tags, which in this case is a
string ready to be printed. Some functions however return
different types such as arrays and resources, the good news
is that in most cases PHP will try to format the output and
display something useful.
For arrays however (We'll cover arrays in more detail in
future article in the series) you'll likely want to use the
print_r routine, for example:
The small snippet above will display the contents of the
POST array, something which can be very useful when testing
forms of data. Simply create a PHP page with just the above
in, and set it as the action in your HTML form tag, and hey-
print_r will list the array items in sequence,
and if wrapped up in <pre> tags will also lay the
output out neatly line after line, as though it was being
output to a terminal or command line.
One last useful tip that often aids in debugging is to
output the phpinfo call, EG:
This provides a wealth of information about the environment
PHP is running in, and can greatly help when first setting
up your server, or when you need a quick reference of what
extras you have installed.
For now we'll leave it there, but I would encourage you to
read the online PHP Manual
Have a look at each of the function calls and see what they
each return. Customize the script above to output different
pieces of information.
In this episode we looked at our first script, and examined
the ways in which it could be written, in the next episode
we'll be looking at variables, the life blood of any program
not least PHP, and remember don't be afraid to experiment,
for the most part unless your playing carelessly with file
functions, there's no damage you can do, one of the best
places to learn is the PHP web site and the user code
Until next time.
The ABC's of PHP Series