We’ve done the research on what PHP is and where PHP is used, and we’re ready to present what we’ve learned to help you decide if PHP is something you should invest the time in exploring.
What is PHP?
PHP is a server-side scripting language. ‘Server-side’ activity occurs when a browser requests website information from the server where it’s stored. The server will then return the HTML that the website is written in. This is distinct from ‘client-side’ activity, which takes place in a user’s browser and usually includes the CSS styling that makes a website display properly.
‘Scripting’ essentially means code written to automate some process that otherwise would have to occur every time a site’s code is run. Such processes include many familiar ones, like pop-ups, animations, or chat boxes. Without a script, the user would need to reload the page to see these things again.
What Is PHP Used For?
PHP happens between the browser and the server. A use case might be automatically loading the five most recent blog posts to the homepage of a blog. Without a scripting language like PHP, someone would need to do this manually.
PHP becomes especially important if you plan on doing any custom development for WordPress. While this is a rather specialized sub-domain of web development, WordPress is nevertheless among the biggest content-development platforms in existence. A lot of WordPress’s custom plug-ins are built with PHP. You can always use plug-ins built by someone else, but if you want to modify them or build your own, you’ll need PHP.
Should I Learn PHP?
After you’ve learned the web development basics, you can re-evaluate where you want your career to go. If you think you’ll be doing lots of backend development, or especially if you think you might develop for WordPress, PHP will be essential to producing top-notch work.