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PHP Pocket Reference

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Simple, to the point, and compact—in fact, exactly what you've come to expect in an O'Reilly Pocket Reference—the second edition of PHP Pocket Reference is thoroughly updated to include the specifics of PHP 4.Written by the founder of the PHP Project, Rasmus Lerdorf, PHP Pocket Reference is both a handy introduction to PHP syntax and structure, and a quick reference to the vast array of functions provided by PHP. The quick reference section organizes all the core functions of PHP alphabetically so you can find ...

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PHP Pocket Reference

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Simple, to the point, and compact—in fact, exactly what you've come to expect in an O'Reilly Pocket Reference—the second edition of PHP Pocket Reference is thoroughly updated to include the specifics of PHP 4.Written by the founder of the PHP Project, Rasmus Lerdorf, PHP Pocket Reference is both a handy introduction to PHP syntax and structure, and a quick reference to the vast array of functions provided by PHP. The quick reference section organizes all the core functions of PHP alphabetically so you can find what you need easily; the slim size means you can keep it handy beside your keyboard for those times when you want to look up a function quickly without closing what you're doing.This valuable little book provides an authoritative overview of PHP packed into a pocket-sized guide that's easy to take anywhere. It is also the ideal companion for O'Reilly's comprehensive book on PHP, Programming PHP.The PHP Pocket Reference an indispensable (and inexpensive) tool for any serious PHP coder.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780596004026
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/21/2002
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 140
  • Sales rank: 1,377,027
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

started the PHP Project back in 1995 and has been actively involved in PHP development ever since. Also involved in a number of other Open Source projects, Rasmus is a longtime Apache contributor and foundation member. He is the author of the first edition of the PHP Pocket Reference, and the co-author of Programming PHP.

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Installation and Configuration

PHP Version 3 can be installed in two primary ways: as an Apache module on Unix systems or as a CGI script on both Unix and Windows systems. See the installation instructions that come with PHP for full and current information.

When you are using PHP as an Apache module, PHP processing is triggered by a special MIME type. This is defined in the Apache configuration file with a line similar to:

AddType application/x-httpd-php3 .php3

This tells Apache to treat all files that end with the .php3 extension as PHP files, which means that any file with that extension is parsed for PHP tags. The actual extension is completely arbitrary and you are free to change it to whatever you wish to use.

If you are running PHP as a dynamic shared object (DSO) module, you also need this line in your Apache configuration file:

LoadModule php3_module    modules/

When you are running PHP as a CGI script (with any web server), PHP processing is still triggered by this special MIME type, but a bit more work is needed. The web server needs to know that it has to redirect the request for the PHP MIME type to the CGI version of PHP. With ApacheNT, for example, this redirect is done with a set of configuration lines like the following:

ScriptAlias /php3/ "/path-to-php-dir/php.exe"  
AddType application/x-httpd-php3 .php3 
Action application/x-httpd-php3 "/php3/php.exe"

For IIS, this redirect is set up through the Windows registry. Refer to the PHP installation instructions for full details.

At runtime, most aspects of PHP can be controlled with the php3.ini file (located in /usr/local/lib by default). For the Apache module version of PHP, this file is read only when the server is started or reinitialized. Changes to this file should be treated the same as changes to Apache's own configuration files. In other words, if you make a change, you need to send your Apache server an HUB or a USR1 signal before the change will take effect.

Many aspects of PHP can also be controlled on a per-directory basis (or even per-location or per-request) when using the Apache module version. Most of the directives available in the php3.ini file are also available as native Apache directives. The name of a particular directive is the php3.ini name with "php3_" prepended. For a list of all available Apache directives, run your Apache httpd binary with the -h switch.

Embedding PHP in HTML

You embed PHP code into a standard HTML page. For example, here's how you can dynamically generate the title of an HTML document:

<HTML><HEAD><TITLE><?echo $title?></TITLE> </HEAD>...

The <?echo $title?> portion of the document is replaced by the contents of the $title PHP variable. echo is a basic language statement that you can use to output data.

There are a few different ways that you can embed your PHP code. As you just saw, you can put PHP code between <? and ?> tags:

<? echo "Hello World"; ?>

This style is the most common way to embed PHP, but it is a problem if your PHP code needs to co-exist with XML, as XML may use that tagging style itself. If this is the case, you can turn off this style in the php3.ini file with the short_open_tag directive. Another way to embed PHP code is within <?php and ?> tags:

<?php echo "Hello World"; ?>

This style is always available and is recommended when your PHP code needs to be portable to many different systems. Embedding PHP within <SCRIPT> tags is another style that is always available:

<SCRIPT LANGUAGE="php"> echo "Hello World"; </SCRIPT>

One final style, where the code is between <% and %> tags, is disabled by default:

<% echo "Hello World"; %>

You can turn on this style with the asp_tags directive in your php3.ini file. The style is most useful when you are using Microsoft FrontPage or another HTML authoring tool that prefers that tag style for HTML embedded scripts.

You can embed multiple statements by separating them with semicolons:

echo "Hello World"; 
echo "A second statement"; 

It is legal to switch back and forth between HTML and PHP at any time. For example, if you want to output 100 <BR> tags for some reason, you can do it this way:

<? for($i=0; $i<100; $i++) { ?> 
<? } ?>

When you embed PHP code in an HTML file, you need to use the .php3 file extension for that file, so that your web server knows to send the file to PHP for processing. Or, if you have configured your web server to use a different extension for PHP files, use that extension instead.

When you have PHP code embedded in an HTML page, you can think of that page as being a PHP program. The bits and pieces of HTML and PHP combine to provide the functionality of the program. A collection of pages that contain programs can be thought of as a web application.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Installation and Configuration 1
Embedding PHP in HTML 4
Language Syntax 7
Variables 8
Data Types 10
Expressions 16
Operators 16
Control Structures 17
Functions 21
Web-Related Variables 24
Sessions 26
Examples 28
Function Reference 34
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PHP is a server-side, HTML-embedded, cross-platform scripting language--quite a mouthful. In simpler terms, PHP provides a way for you to put instructions in your HTML files to create dynamic content. These instructions are read and parsed by the web server; they never actually make it to the browser that is displaying the page. The web server replaces your PHP code with the content that the code was written to produce.

PHP can be configured to run either as a server module or as a standalone CGI script. At the time of this writing, the server-module version is only production-ready for the Apache web server on Unix systems. The CGI version runs with all web servers on both Unix and Windows 95/98/NT. On the Windows platform (as of PHP Version 4), the server module is being developed to work with ISAPI, NSAPI, and WSAPI, which means the server module will eventually work with Microsoft's IIS, Netscape's Enterprise Server, and O'Reilly's WebSite. See for availability details.

The PHP language itself borrows concepts from other common languages, such as C and Perl. If you have some experience with one of these languages, you should feel right at home with PHP. In addition to the core language, PHP provides a wide variety of functions that support everything from array manipulation to regular expression support.

Database connectivity is one popular use for PHP. PHP supports a large number of databases natively and many others are accessible through PHP's ODBC functions. Through this database connectivity, it is possible, for example, to take a company's database of products and write a web interface to it using PHP.

This book provides an overview of thecore PHP language and contains summaries of all the functions available in PHP. The material covers PHP 3.0.

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  • Posted April 30, 2011

    Beware. OLD EDITION. This version covers PHP4

    Just a heads up for anyone considering buying this book.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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