PHP: Features and Protocols

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PHP is an open-source scripting language that can be executed on the web server. Among other languages, this is widely-used and acknowledged by the developers. It’s totally free to download and use. At the present time, it has reached at the apex of popularity for its dynamic features and easy accessibility.

Why PHP?

First of all, PHP is compatible with almost all servers today. Mostly, it fits with both Apache and IIS servers. A PHP file allows containing text, HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and PHP codes, which can be executed and the results returned into plain HTML on the web browser.

Secondly, it can generate a dynamic page that is not possible through HTML. PHP is well executable in the webserver. For example, it can create, open, write, read files on the server. Also, it can delete and choose files to upload from the local storage to the server. PHP is easy to use, compared to other languages, and also faster than ASP or JSP.

Moreover, this scripting language allows collecting form data. For additional purposes, cookies can be sent or received by PHP. It supports a wide range of databases, and PHP can add, delete, or modify data in databases.

Its predefined error reporting module gives an extra benefit where developers do not require to install any additional error reporting module to get error logs and warnings.

Unique Features of PHP

PHP can perform almost everything related to server-side programming. As it contains at the backend of a webpage, it holds several unique features.

Easy to Use

PHP is very logical and well organized other than C or Pascal Language. People with a normal programming background can promptly understand this and it is also easy to learn for the newcomers. Availability of predefined functions are the main strength of PHP that allow the developers to create dynamic websites so smoothly with ensuring data protection.

Flexibility

As discussed earlier, PHP can be integrated with HTML, XML, CSS, Javascripts, and many more items for its flexible and embedded nature. Also, it can run on multiple operating systems like Windows, Mac OS, Linux, etc. Moreover, this runs well on any devices like computers, laptops, mobiles, tablets.

Apart from this, PHP comfortably supports a huge number of databases like MySQL, SQLite, Oracle, Sybase, Informix, PostgreSQL.

Frameworks and CMS

Users always find something that is easy and comfortable. Numbers of frameworks and CMS are developed using this scripting language, and people are using this across the world. Frameworks like Codeigniter, Zend Framework, CakePHP are made using PHP, and CMS like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc are holding a large percentage of share in the web development world. These are also using PHP scripting language.

Community Support

PHP has a very rich and diverse developers community to help each other. As a result, new developers are growing and making the PHP family stronger. Volunteers from different corners of the world are contributing to the PHP library as well as developing new features.

Others

There are many other features like easy maintenance, third-party application support, real-time access monitoring, memory and CPU use information that help the PHP community build a strong basement for the developers.

Supported Protocols

PHP supports several protocols like HTTP, FTP, SSH2, POP3, SNMP, IMAP, LDAP, and much more. Each protocol has different functionality and that is used for serving different purposes. Let’s take a look at some common and mostly used protocols.

HTTP and HTTPS

Using the HTTP GET method PHP allows reading access to the server resources via HTTP 1.0. The host header will be sent with the request of accessing and if your php.ini file is configured with user_agent string, it will also be included. This is a read-only process where writing or appending will not be allowed.

However, Secured protocol HTTPS only supports when a SSL Certificate is configured through OpenSSL extension.

FTP

FTP is a standard file transfer protocol that is used to transfer files between a computer and a client-server. It is built using separate control and data connection on a client-server model architecture. FTP users can authenticate with a clear-text sign-in protocol through username and password.

FTP may run both actively and passively. It depends on how the connection is established. However, in both cases, the client creates a TCP connection using port 21.

SSH2

SSH2 stands for Secure Shell 2 and it is not a default protocol. Users need to enable this form PHP extension directory (PECL) to access SSH2 protocol. This is fully secured and it is used instead of FTP connections.

Its multiple secure algorithms and authentication methods prevent security threats as identity spoofing. SSH2 is both a password and public key authentication module. Its versatile channels allow the user to have multiple terminal windows but the file transfers through one secure connection.

POP3

POP3 is one of the most recent versions of the standard email receiving protocol. This is a client or server protocol by which emails are received and stored in the server.

PHP language supports this protocol in developing and configuring email servers and services.

SNMP

SNMP stands for Simple Network Management Protocol. In a wide aspect, SNMP is known as a bunch of tools that are used to manage remote devices. According to PHP developers, SNMP is a remarkably simple and easily usable protocol.

However, SNMP is an extended version of the underlying Net-SNMP or UCD-SNMP library, where all the basic concepts are similar and PHP functions behave according to the configuration and server environment.

As it is an extended version, it requires Net-SNMP or UCD-SNMP packages before using SNMP features. And, the third version of SNMP (SNMPv3) is only accessible when OpenSSL is installed.

IMAP

IMAP protocol is another email protocol used by email clients to retrieve messages from the mail server. It stands for Internet Message Access Protocol and this works over TCP or IP connection. IMAP functions enable NNTP, POP3, and local mailboxes. However, some features of POP3 may not work in IMAP.

LDAP

LDAP is a vendor-neutral application protocol and it stands for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. It is used to maintain a distributed directory in an organized manner.

LDAP stores the dada records of which a set of attributions are contained. It performs well in the access control and authorization process. So, the basic task of this protocol is to ensure the identity and match the group before granting access.

OGG

The OGG protocol is an Audio Streams protocol that opens for reading audio files via the ogg:// wrapper. This compresses audio using the OGG/Vorbis codec and stream_get_meta_data() string is used to stream any audio file. This string also contains other information including vendor, comments, number of channels, etc through different variables.

However, a user needs to install the OGG/Vorbis wrapper from the PECL library to use this feature.

On a last note, PHP is commonly accepted for web-based application development where other languages are doing well in distinct fields like artificial intelligence, rapid development, and others.

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