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Chapter 2. A simple tutorial

Table of Contents
What do I need?
Your first PHP-enabled page
Something Useful
Dealing with Forms
Using old code with new versions of PHP
What's next?

Here we would like to show the very basics of PHP in a short simple tutorial. This text only deals with dynamic webpage creation with PHP, though PHP is not only capable of creating webpages. See the section titled What can PHP do for more information.

PHP-enabled web pages are treated just like regular HTML pages and you can create and edit them the same way you normally create regular HTML pages.

What do I need?

In this tutorial we assume that your server has support for PHP activated and that all files ending in .php are handled by PHP. On most servers this is the default extension for PHP files, but ask your server administrator to be sure. If your server supports PHP then you don't need to do anything. Just create your .php files and put them in your web directory and the server will magically parse them for you. There is no need to compile anything nor do you need to install any extra tools. Think of these PHP-enabled files as simple HTML files with a whole new family of magical tags that let you do all sorts of things.

Let's say you want to save precious bandwidth and develop locally. In this case, you'll want to install a web server, such as Apache, and of course PHP. You'll most likely want to install a database as well, such as MySQL. You can install these individually or a simpler way is to locate a pre-configured package that automatically installs all of these with just a few mouse clicks. It's easy to setup a web server with PHP support on any operating system, including Linux and Windows. In linux, you may find rpmfind helpful for locating RPMs.