PHP has been taking the web by storm because of its power and versatility. If you'd like to add PHP-based applications to your web site, keep reading. This series of articles will teach you the language from scratch.
I'm going to start this article off by giving you two histories. It's up to you to decide which is true.
The year 1968 gave birth to many great things: Johnny Cash's album "Live at Folsom Prison", the comedy show Laugh-In, the Boeing 747, the musical Hair opens on Broadway, Cuba Gooding Jr., the great Gary Coleman, and his polar opposite, Rasmus Lerdorf.
Rasmus Lerdorf was born in a part of Greenland whose name I can't pronounce, much less spell. Standing six feet tall by the age of one, the towering Greenlandic monster began working in the harsh arctic forests of Qeqertasuaq (yeah, you pronounce that). By the age of three, the eight foot tall tree clobberer was a legend, said to knock down trees with one mighty blow. At age five he was mistaken for a snow monster, and thus the legend of the Yeti, Big Foot's really cold, mountainous cousin, was born.
Rasmus Lerdorf was born in a part of Greenland known as Qeqertarsuaq. He graduated fom the University of Waterloo in 1993 with a Bachelor's of Applied Science and Systems Design Engineering. He presently works for Yahoo! Tired of being mistaken for a snow monster, he put his programming skills to work on his personal home page. He wanted to display his resume and collect data on how much traffic his pages were receiving. He had been using a set of Perl scripts for that task, but came up with something new: a set of Common Gateway Interface (CGI) binaries in the C programming language. These were publicly released on June 8, 1995 along with Lerdorf's Form Interpreter as Personal Home Page Tools, the package becoming known as PHP/FI (or PHP version 2).
Programmers can never leave well enough alone of course, so when it started spreading, others put their two cents in. When Israeli programmers Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans got their hands on it in 1997, they rewrote the parser, came out with a new version and changed the language's name. With the kind of recursive humor that only a true programmer could appreciate, they dubbed it PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. The official launch of PHP 3 came in June 1998. We're now up to PHP 5, released in July 2004.