PHP is a powerful server-side scripting language for creating dynamic and interactive websites.
PHP is the widely-used, free, and efficient alternative to competitors such as Microsoft's ASP. PHP is perfectly suited for Web development and can be embedded directly into the HTML code.
The PHP syntax is very similar to Perl and C. PHP is often used together with Apache (web server) on various operating systems. It also supports ISAPI and can be used with Microsoft's IIS on Windows.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Zend ushers PHP onto cloud of clouds

Backed by Microsoft, IBM, and three other outfits beckoning developers into the sky, Zend Technologies has unleashed an open source API for fashioning PHP apps that float on multiple clouds.

Zend calls it the Simple API for Cloud Application Services. The idea is to provide a single programming interface for file storage, document database, simple queue, and other application services offered by the likes of Amazon, Rackspace, and, yes, Microsoft.

"This project allows developers to get all of the scalability and high-availability and other advantages of the cloud while maintaining portability," Wil Sinclair, the Zend man who oversees the project, tells The Reg.

But the project is not be confused with fledgling meta cloud APIs from RedHat and Cloudkick. Whereas Zend and crew are targeting application services, RedHat's deltacloud and Cloudkick's libcloud aim for Amazon EC2 and other so-called infrastructure clouds offering up virtual server resources.

The Simple API project was originated about six months ago by Zend, an outfit wonderfully obsessed with PHP tools. The API will be available in the open source Zend Framework project under the name "Zend Cloud." Zend says the interface can potentially be translated to other object-oriented web languages, but for the moment, it's a PHP project.

"We wanted to make sure we served the PHP and Zend community as the IT industry moves into a more cloud-based infrastructure," Zend CEO Andi Gutmans tells The Reg. "In order to really encourage ISVs to really embrace the cloud - to build what we call cloud-native applications, applications built for the cloud, not just run on the cloud - we needed to make sure they had the right set of APIs to reach as broad an audience as possible."

Zend's co-founding contributors include Microsoft, IBM, and Rackspace as well as two smaller cloud outfits, Nirvanix and GoGrid. Yes, Zend has approached Amazon about the project, but per usual, Jeff Bezos and company are keeping their distance.

"We've had ongoing discussions with Amazon, and they haven't said 'yes' and they haven't said 'no' at this point," Sinclair says. "But we hope they join sometime down the road."

Nonetheless, the project will rope in various Amazon services, with the community at large writing adapters for Amazon's public APIs. Zend and crew plan on building adapters that span various file storage services, including Amazon S3, Windows Azure blobs, Rackspace Cloud Files, and the Nirvanix Storage Delivery Network; document Storage services, including Windows Azure tables and Amazon SimpleDB; and simple queue services, including Amazon SQS and Windows Azure queues.

"Amazon is such an important cloud vendor, we're going to make sure their services are part of the Simple API as well," Gutmans says.

Yes, disparate services offer disparate tools. The API will only handle tasks shared by each service. "These services are actually very similar in a lot of ways," Sinclair says. "With something close to 80 per cent of the use cases for applications running on these services, you can just use the common functionality.

"With storage services, for instance, the main thing you need is to be able to store something and get it later. You need to be able to copy things, another common feature we've added to the API. But there will be a lot of discussion about what is common and what isn't."

In other words, the API will not target tools specific to individual vendors. Windows Azure table storage supports transactions, for instance, and Amazon's simpleDB doesn't. So you won't find transactions in the API. "We want applications to be portable between services," Sinclair says. "And we don't want to stifle innovation."

And unlike RedHat's deltacloud, the project does not extend to Amazon EC2 and similar infrastructure services. "These projects [delta cloud and Simple API for Cloud Application Services] can be used together. There is no real overlap at this point," Sinclair says. "You can easily see a scenario where someone is using deltacloud and Simple Cloud API in the same project."

Microsoft tells The Reg it's committed to building adapters for its Windows Azure storage services, while Rackspace and others have made similar commitments to fashion adapters for their own services. IBM is still mulling how the project will play into its sky-high services, but it envisions adopting the API natively.

"This is the kick-off of an open source project," Dirk Nicol, IBM director of emerging technology tells us. "We'll see where the community takes the conversation, but we anticipate incorporating those APIs into our offerings and influencing those APIs."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Microsoft Issues SQL Azure, CEP Platform Previews

Microsoft on Tuesday released technology previews of SQL Azure, the database for its Azure cloud infrastructure platform, and SQL Server StreamInsight, its entry in the CEP (complex event processing) arena.

Also announced was a SQL Server driver that provides Azure support for PHP (hypertext preprocessor), a language popular among Web application developers. MSDN and Technet subscribers gained access to the previews Tuesday; they will be generally available Wednesday.

SQL Azure Database is available at no charge until Azure's commercial launch in November, at which point it will be offered in two tiers. The Web edition will cost US$9.99 a month and allow up to 1GB of data, while the Business Edition will include up to 10GB and cost $99.99 per month, according to an official blog post.

The software represents a subset of SQL Server 2008's capabilities, according to Forrester Research analyst James Kobielus.

"This is a proof-of-concept that SQL Server can be ported to the cloud and support some advanced analytics that would be expensive if deployed on premises," Kobielus said.

Meanwhile, SQL Server StreamInsight, which will compete with CEP technologies from the likes of Tibco and IBM, focuses on finding insights from real-time information.

CEP software analyzes streams of transactions looking for certain patterns or correlations, subsequently triggering a response if required. For example, it is used by financial institutions for rapid-fire stock trading, and e-commerce sites for fraud detection.

While the CEP market remains fairly small, observers expect it will grow quickly in coming years.

StreamInsight will be shipping as part of SQL Server 2008 R2, which is expected to be available in the first half of next year, according to a blog post.

Monday, June 15, 2009

PHP Tutorial: Introduction

Welcome to the HTML Goodies PHP Tutorials! This series is a new series that is in development right now. This tutorial series is a little more advanced than our HTML tutorials. The assumption is made that you already have an understanding of HTML and basic web design. For this reason this is not a good starting point for the new designer, but is instead a place for one with a little experience to spread their wings and expand their design horizons. Check back here often to see the progress of the series. We'll have you writing PHP code very soon! The following sections are available now:
Your first page with PHP code

A simple Order Form

Processing the Order

A Little about Variables

Expressions and Operators

Logic Flow


Passing Data To and From Functions

More About Functions

Using the File System

A File Upload Form

Error Handling



Thursday, May 28, 2009

How to Install PHP on Windows

Why PHP?
PHP remains the most widespread and popular server-side programming language on the web. It is installed by most web hosts, has a simple learning curve, close ties with the MySQL database, and an excellent collection of libraries to cut your development time. PHP may not be perfect, but it should certainly be considered for your next web application. Both Yahoo and Facebook use it with great success.

Why Install PHP Locally?
Installing PHP on your development PC allows you to safely create and test a web application without affecting the data or systems on your live website. This article describes PHP installation as a module within the Windows version of Apache 2.2. Mac and Linux users will probably have it installed already.

All-in-One packages
There are some excellent all-in-one Windows distributions that contain Apache, PHP, MySQL and other applications in a single installation file, e.g. XAMPP (including a Mac version), WampServer and Web.Developer. There is nothing wrong with using these packages, although manually installing Apache and PHP will help you learn more about the system and its configuration options.

The PHP Installer
Although an installer is available from, I would recommend the manual installation if you already have a web server configured and running.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Heart Internet exclusive offer: “Buy one get one free” with SitePoint

Web hosting provider Heart Internet ( has partnered with SitePoint ( to offer their customers an exclusive ‘buy one get one free’ on SitePoint’s Web Development and Design books.

Heart Internet, which specialises in providing a variety of hosting services for resellers, agencies, IT professionals and home users, is opening the exclusive offer to both new and existing customers. SitePoint’s entire library is included in the offer which covers all the major areas of web design and development such as HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, JavaScript and ASP.NET.

Heart Internet co-founder Jonathan Brealey said “SitePoint is a great resource for beginners and professionals alike with books that cover every aspect of building a website. Being able to offer discounted pricing to our customers is a fantastic way to help them with their web development skills.”

Since their launch in 1999 SitePoint has grown in to one of the world’s leading web design and development resources with 180,000 customers and books sold in over 180 countries. “Our books provide best practice guidance to all types of web developers, designers, marketers, and site owners” explained SitePoint co-founder, Matt Mickiewicz, “We are pleased to be able to offer Heart Internet’s customers this great deal and help them make the most of their websites.”

For more information visit the website

About Heart Internet: Heart Internet is the Uks fastest growing reseller and one of the leading domain registrars in the UK. Their products are based around the offering the latest hosting technology at competitive prices.

About SitePoint: SitePoint specializes in publishing fun, practical, and easy-to-understand content for web professionals. Its popular online magazine, blogs, newsletters, and print books teach best practices to web developers and designers worldwide.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Microsoft opens Azure to PHP developers

Microsoft at the Mix09 conference last week revealed several moves intended to bolster its Windows Azure cloud computing platform, adding support for PHP application development and native code as well as full trust capabilities.

"Windows Azure is metaphorically the operating system for the cloud," said Prashant Ketkar, director of product marketing for cloud infrastructure services at Microsoft, in an interview at the conference in Las Vegas.

[Fast-changing platforms will challenge developers, read: " Developing cloud apps: What's different?" | And in other news from Mix09, Microsoft cited design updates as economic booster.]

Specific improvements made this week include expanding beyond managed code to native code support; allowing 'full trust,' which is how most applications or services are written; and offering FastCGI support to allow PHP development.

"Basically, the Windows Server team has done a ton of work with FastCGI that allows Windows Server to now support programming languages beyond just .Net and Visual Studio," Ketkar said. Through the FastCGI interface, developers can take existing PHP skills and PHP applications and services and run them on Azure.

Developers might also be able to run other languages via FastCGI, said Ketkar. Microsoft, though, has done stress-testing for PHP but not for other languages. "There is no reason that Ruby won't work through that same FastCGI interface," he said.

Microsoft's vision is to open up the platform to more languages, Ketkar said. Microsoft wants Azure to offer a "frictionless" development platform beyond just supporting .Net development, he said.

With full trust capabilities, Microsoft is expanding Azure beyond the medium trust capabilities that it had had since its original launch at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference in October 2008.

Another Azure capability revealed this week was support for geo-location, in which developers can pick a geography where they want an application or service to run. This helps with latency issues, enabling, for example, a service to run in an East Coast data center if the user is on the East Coast, Ketkar said. Also, storage and compute elements could run in the same place.

There are certain circumstances, though, when users would not want to run an application in the cloud, such as if there were specific compliance issues or control over physical assets was needed, Ketkar said.

Regarding the outage Azure recently suffered, Ketkar said Microsoft was learning from the experience, and he noted the technology still is in a pre-release, community technology preview format.

Azure will be commercially launched by the end of this calendar year. A business model, including prices and service level agreement rules, will be announced this summer.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Database Software & Management News – Access, DB2, SQL & Oracle

In this tutorial we will build an online bookmark system. This will be used to create a database for storing all our URL's and their descriptions. There are many commercial and non-commercial applications that offer almost the exact functionality that we will create in our application; the difference is that we have full control over our application, allowing us to tweak it to suit our needs.

The article continues at

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Eclipse Upgrades PHP Development Tools

The Eclipse Foundation, a consortium of developers supporting the open-source Eclipse development platform, announces a major upgrade to the Eclipse PHP Development Tools project, PDT 2.0.

The Eclipse Foundation, a consortium of developers supporting the open-source Eclipse development platform, has announced a major upgrade to the Eclipse PHP Development Tools project, PDT 2.0.

As a leading contributor to the PDT effort, PHP specialist Zend Technologies is pushing PHP as a key element of the Eclipse platform and as a language used for more mainstream development.

"Release 2.0 demonstrates our continued commitment to the Eclipse community," said Andi Gutmans, co-founder and senior vice president of R&D and alliances at Zend Technologies. "PDT is not only the premier open-source PHP development tool, but is also the basis for Zend's commercial IDE [integrated development environment] for PHP, Zend Studio for Eclipse. Additionally, in order to further align with Eclipse, PDT will become part of the Eclipse Galileo simultaneous release."

Eclipse Foundation officials said the focus of the PDT 2.0 release is to add support for the object-oriented programming features of PHP and to improve the overall user experience of the PDT environment. PDT provides all the basic code editing capabilities developers need to get started developing PHP applications.

Gutmans said he believes the enhancements in PDT 2.0 make PDT a compelling choice for developers looking to build simple PHP applications. Eclipse officials said PDT 2.0 also is ideal for Java programmers who want to write PHP code by providing them with an environment similar to the Eclipse JDT (Java Development Tools) they are already familiar with.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Eclipse PHP upgrade tackles object-oriented programming

The Eclipse Foundation is releasing on Wednesday version 2.0 of its Eclipse PDT (PHP Development Tools) project, which adds object-oriented programming and usability features.

PDT is an open-source development tool offering basic code editing capabilities for PHP applications. PHP is a server-side scripting language popular in Web development.

"This project [with the earlier 1.0 release] has seen wide adoption, [with] over 1 million downloads to date," said Roy Ganor, project lead for both PDT and the Zend Studio for Eclipse platform at PHP tool maker Zend Technologies.

[ For more on PHP and other scripting languages, see "Scripting languages spark new programming era." ]

Object-oriented features in version 2.0 include a type hierarchy view for faster code navigation; type and method navigation for searching of code based on type information, and override indicators to visually tag PHP methods that have been overridden.

"Object oriented [programming] in general gives you the ability to have much more modular code," Ganor noted.