As PHP can do anything related to server-side programming which contains the backend of any web page,
it holds a lot of unique features within it. The main purpose of PHP design is web development.
Let us look into some of the unique features of PHP:
- Simple, Familiar and ease of use: Its popularly known for its simplicity, familiarity and easy to learn the language as the syntax is similar to that of ‘C’ or Pascal language.
So the language is very logical and well organized general-purpose programming language. Even people with a normal programming background can easily understand and capture the use of language. PHP is very advantageous for new users as its a very reliable, fluent, organized, clean, demandable and efficient.
The main strength of PHP is the availability of rich pre-defined functions. The core distribution helps the developers implement dynamic websites very easily with secured data. PHP applications are very easy to optimize.
- Loosely typed language: PHP encourages the use of variables without declaring its data types. So this is taken care at the execution time depending on the value assigned to the variable. Even the variable name can be changed dynamically.
It also acts as an excellent interface with relational databases.
- Open Source: All PHP frameworks are open sources, No payment is required for the users and its completely free. User can just download PHP and start using for their applications or projects. Even in companies, the total cost is reduced for software development providing more
reliability and flexibility.
It supports a popular range of databases like MySQL, SQLite, Oracle, Sybase, Informix, and PostgreSQL.
PHP provides libraries to access these databases to interact with web servers. Developers are free to post errors, inspect codes and can contribute to code as well as bug fixing. Many frameworks like Codeignitor, Zend Framework, CakePHP make use of PHP.
Even many popular content management systems like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal use PHP as prime language.
Because of the above reasons many web hosting companies and Internet Service providers prefers PHP.
- Cross-platform compatibility: PHP is multi-platform and known for its portability as it can run on any operating System and windows environments. The most common are XAMPP (Windows, Apache Server, MySQL, Perl, and PHP) and LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP). As PHP is platform-independent, it’s very easy to integrate with various databases and other technologies without re-implementation. It effectively saves a lot of energy, time and money.
- Error reporting and exceptions: PHP supports much errors reporting constants to generate errors and relevant warnings at run time. For example E_ERROR, E_WARNING, E_PARSE, E_STRICT.
PHP5 supports exception handling which is used to throw errors which can be caught at any time.
- Active community support: PHP is very rich with many diverse online community developers to help beginners for web-based applications. These worldwide volunteers contribute many features as well as new versions for PHP libraries. Even they contribute a translation in different languages to help out programmers. There is a bundle of third-party open-source libraries which provide basic functionalities. Even the documentation given by the official site helps in implementing new features providing access to a variety of creative imagination.
- Fast and efficient performance: Users generally prefer fast loading websites.
For any web development, speed becomes an important aspect which is taken care of by PHP.
PHP scripts are faster than other scripting languages like ASP.NET, PERL, and JSP. The memory manager of PHP 7 is very optimized and fast as compared to older versions of PHP. Even connecting to the database and loading of required data from tables, are faster than other programming languages. It provides a built-in module for easy and efficient database management system. The high speed of PHP is advantageous for users for its server administration and mail functionality. Also, it supports session management and removing of unwanted memory allocation.
- Maintenance: When dealing with big projects, maintenance of code is also an important aspect of the web development process. There are many PHP frameworks for example MVC (Model View Controller) which makes development and maintenance of code easier. Files belonging to the different module are maintained separately.
- Third-party application support and security: Many PHP’s predefined functions support data encryption options keeping it more secure. Even the users can use third-party applications to secure data.
- Real time access monitoring: PHP also provides a summary of user’s recent logging accesses.
- Memory and CPU usage information: PHP can provide memory usage information from functions like memory_get_usage() or memory_get_peak_usage(), which can help the developers optimize their code. In the similar way, the CPU power consumed by any script can be retrieved for further optimization.
- Object oriented features: PHP supports object-oriented programming features, resulting in increased speed and introducing added features like data encapsulation and inheritance at many levels.
- Magic Constants: PHP provides many built-in magic methods starting with __(double underscore) which are called during specific events.
For example directory path
(__DIR__), class name (__CLASS__), namespace (__NAMESPACE__), function name (__FUNCTION__), method name (__METHOD__), line number (__LINE__), file path (__FILE__).
- Regular expression: PHP provides regular expression functions with parsing and pattern matching methods.
- PDO Class: PHP Data Objects are created by PDO class which gives a good abstraction layer for database drivers. The PDO Classes are enriched with functions which are database independent. It means the same functions are used for similar actions for different databases without re-development as long as it supports PDO. In this way, the application becomes more portable saving lot of time and effort. Use of PDO helps the application from SQL injection attacks.
The feature list is endless. The other features of PHP are manipulation of images using GD library, make remote connections using cURL, handling file system, managing user sessions, track sessions, Use of SimpleXML Class which reads and write XML files through objects, support of cookies and sessions, shell command-line execution, compression of ZIP archives, use of Ajax.