A Layman’s Guide to PHP – What is PHP?

You’ve probably heard about PHP. It’s there.  It’s right here in this post you are reading. It’s in the background doing something. You just don’t know what yet. The objective isn’t to dumb down the learning process, but to break php down in terms the average yet curious layman can understand. You might be genuinely curious about how websites work but maybe a bit to overwhelmed with programming lingo. Never fear, that’s why this blog is here. If you happen to be a developer and want to add or correct to this ongoing guide please feel free to comment.

So in layman’s terms, what is PHP?

I’ll use a car analogy. When you press the gas pedal you know something happens that makes the car moves faster. A series of commands are send from the accelerator to the internal computer of the which in turn sends commands to the fuel injection system to make the car go faster.

When you click a link on a web page or fill out a form, commands are sent from your browser to the server to perform take you to another page or submit the data from your form into a database.

Doesn’t HTML do that?

No. HTML is a markup language. In layman’s terms, HTML is analogous to window dressing, or the body that goes on top of the frame of a car. HTML is a presentational language that is used to design aesthetically pleasing web sites.

I think I get it, but not quite yet…

Don’t worry, this is an ongoing guide, questions will be answered, in layman’s terms.