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This section holds the most general questions about PHP: what it is and what it does.
From the preface of the manual:
PHP is an HTML-embedded scripting language. Much of its syntax is borrowed from C, Java and Perl with a couple of unique PHP-specific features thrown in. The goal of the language is to allow web developers to write dynamically generated pages quickly.
A nice introduction to PHP by Stig Sæther Bakken can be found here on the Zend website. Also, much of the PHP Conference Material is freely available.
PHP stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. This confuses many people because the first word of the acronym is the acronym. This type of acronym is called a recursive acronym. The curious can visit Free On-Line Dictionary of Computing for more information on recursive acronyms.
PHP/FI 2.0 is an early and no longer supported version of PHP. PHP 3 is the successor to PHP/FI 2.0 and is a lot nicer. PHP 4 is the current generation of PHP, which uses the Zend engine under the hood. PHP 5 uses Zend engine 2 which, among other things, offers many additional OOP features. PHP 5 is experimental.
Yes. See the INSTALL file that is included in the PHP 4 source distribution. Also, read the related appendix.
There are a couple of articles written on this by the authors of PHP 4. Here's a list of some of the more important new features:
You should go to the PHP Bug Database and make sure the bug isn't a known bug. If you don't see it in the database, use the reporting form to report the bug. It is important to use the bug database instead of just sending an email to one of the mailing lists because the bug will have a tracking number assigned and it will then be possible for you to go back later and check on the status of the bug. The bug database can be found at http://bugs.php.net/.