To understand more about what PHP is now, it's helpful to examine the history of PHP. Version 1 of PHP was written by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994, with a set of CGI binaries in the C programming language that he wrote to replace a set of Perl scripts that he'd been using to maintain his personal homepage. Version 2 was a more formalized version that he put out in 1995. This version improved the original version and also combined it with code that would interpret data submitted by web forms.
This was the first public release of PHP. At the beginning, PHP is an abbreviation for Personal Home Page Tools, as in PHP Tools. And that's because, that was its primary purpose, was helping him maintain his personal homepage. But in version 3, PHP changed dramatically. Two other developers got involved, Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans. These two developers rewrote major parts of PHP between 1997 and 1998. they also renamed it PHP hypertext preprocessor.
Now you can see that in those three words we still have the initials P, H and P, but the first word in the acronymn is the acronym itself. This is called a recursive acronymn so if you ask what the first PHP in that stands for, it is PHP Hypertext Preprocessor. This is what passes for programmer humor, so get used to it. PHP version three is the first version that resembles the PHP that we still use today. And it was this version Who is responsible for making PHP incredibly popular in version 4, PHP changed significantly once again. Sir Andi Gutmans had formed a new company called Zend. And Zend rewrote the core of PHP. This is a big update that made PHP very full featured.
Partly in response to the fact that it had become so popular. Their goal was to make the code more modular and to allow it to work better with other peoples code. They released it in May of 2000, and the core code is referred to as the Zend Engine. Finally, we have version five of PHP, which came out in July of 2004, which is based on another new and improved version of the Zend Engine. PHP 5, includes a lot of new features, such as better performance, improved object oriented programming and some better database connectivity.
Within each of those five major versions, there are also mini minor versions. At the moment, PHP 5,4 is the most current version. Most everything that we will discuss in this course, will work with all versions, of PHP 4 and PHP 5. Even future versions that haven't been released yet. And that's because we are going to be focusing on the essentials of PHP and those don't change very often. Most of what's being changed are either the internal improvements that make PHP work faster or more efficiently. Or high end improvements that are used by advanced users.
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