If you’ve ever read a book about, or taken a course in C or C++, or even Java, you’re probably capable of making the transition to PHP relatively easily. That’s because PHP was designed from the ground up to be an internet aware language that would have syntax very similar to C or C++ due to the inherent strength and flexibility of the language. Like C/C++, PHP has numerous free and open source libraries. The main focus of the language is to efficiently create truly dynamic web content on a server and display it to end users viewing the site.
The dynamic content could be anything from a simple GIF image to an entirely customized web page rich with features ranging from basic HTML all the way to graphically intensive interactive Flash. There are other more creative uses as well, but it’d be virtually impossible to name them all given the remarkable flexibility of PHP.
Given the extensibility of the language it is difficult to go into specifics of all the functions as there are probably thousands of them in existence that supersede the roughly 100 base functions. PHP does, however share syntax with most common high level languages such as blocks for ‘if’ conditions and ‘for’ and ‘while’ loops. As with C/C++ variable names are case sensitive and with few exceptions variables must be declared in advance of being used as well as specified in type. The types of variables available in PHP are remarkably similar to those found in C/C++ and Java.
Modern versions of PHP are object oriented just as modern versions of C/C++ are. In fact, PHPs relationship with the C programming language is so close now that it is possible for developers to write extensions in C to add additional functionality to the PHP language.
Lastly, integrated event handling isn’t limited just to predictable behavior. PHP has since its inception as a public project strong error handling capabilities which is mission critical. Who wants an unexpected event to crash an entire site or even just an aspect such as e-commerce?
Remarkably there isn’t an official Integrated Development Environment (IDE) such as Visual C++ for PHP, but there are numerous third party products ranging from color coding code-aware advanced text editors to unofficial IDEs. This may be due to the platform agnostic nature of PHP and most editors or IDE aren’t available for free.