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A Close Look at the GD Library in PHP

The GD library comes bundled with both PHP 4 and PHP 5. While it is a popular library that has been around for a while, many web developers do not take full advantage of its capabilities. In this five-part series, we will take a close look at what the GB library can do for you, especially in the area of dynamically-generated graphics.

  1. A Close Look at the GD Library in PHP
  2. Creating images from scratch with the GD library
  3. An alternative way to create image streams from scratch
  4. Generating dynamic streams from existing GIF images with the GD library
By: Alejandro Gervasio
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August 15, 2007

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PHP is a general-purpose, server-side scripting language which can be used to develop a plethora of applications, ranging from simple web form processing mechanisms, to complex, full-featured database-driven web sites. Its remarkable versatility, which makes it suitable for tackling quickly the development of a huge variety of projects, along with its extremely easy learning curve, have turned PHP into one of the languages web developers prefer to use.

And frankly speaking, this is more evident than ever when it comes to exploring PHP's powerful capacities for generating images on the fly via its popular GD library. This PHP extension has been available for a long time to PHP developers, but quite frequently its functionality has been under appreciated, since the number of web applications that require the implementation of dynamically-generated graphics is rather limited.

However, it's fair to mention that the GD library that comes bundled with PHP 4, and PHP 5 as well, can be extremely useful in situations where it's necessary to display a certain number of graphics that need to incorporate one or more dynamic components. This category includes statistic systems, image galleries, noisy images, etc., to name the most popular applications that truly can take advantage of the numerous benefits offered by the GD extension.

Therefore, to summarize, it's very clear that generating dynamic graphics with PHP 4/PHP 5 can be quite useful for a number of specific PHP applications. Bearing this in mind, over the course of this series of approachable tutorials, I'll be taking a close look at the most useful functions of this graphical extension, complementing the theoretical descriptions with illustrative hands-on examples.

In this manner, by the end of this series you'll be decently equipped to start incorporating the neat functionality provided by the GD library into your own PHP applications, assuming that your web projects eventually require the implementation of dynamically-generated graphics.

Now that you know the topics that will be covered in this series of articles, it's time to start learning the numerous functions that come bundled with the GD extension. Let's begin this educational journey now!

>>> More PHP Articles          >>> More By Alejandro Gervasio

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