You might not know this, but PHP comes with a very capable socketprogramming API. These socket functions now include almost everything youwould need for socket-based client-server communication over TCP/IP, andcan be easily deployed to build simple network applications. Find out more,inside.
And that's about all I have time for. In this article, you learned a little bit about PHP's socket programming functions, using them to create and manipulate socket connections in a networked environment. In addition to some simple examples, you also learned how to apply PHP's socket API to real-life situations with practical examples, including a POP3 client and an authentication server.
The latest version of PHP, PHP 4.1.0, comes with an updated socket API, one which offers developers greater control over socket creation and closely mimics the socket API used by programming languages like C and C++. As of this writing, many of these new functions have not yet been documented in the PHP manual; however, if you're familiar with socket programming in C, you should have no trouble adapting your code to use these new functions.
I hope you found this article interesting, and that it helped open your eyes to one of PHP's lesser-known capabilities. Let me know if you liked it...and, until next time, stay healthy!
Note: All examples in this article have been tested on Linux/i386 with Apache 1.3.12 and PHP 4.1.0. Examples are illustrative only, and are not meant for a production environment. Melonfire provides no warranties or support for the source code described in this article. YMMV!