Algorithms in PHP PHP

Whenever we interact with a computer, we are instructing it to perform some action. When you drag an icon into the waste basket on your desktop, you are asking the computer to remove the file from your hard disk. When you write an HTML file, you are instructing the computer in the proper way to display some information. There are usually many incremental steps to any process the computer performs. It may first clear the screen with the color you specified in the body tag. Then it may begin writing some text in a particular color and typeface. As you use a computer, you may not be entirely aware of each tiny step it takes, but you are giving it a list of ordered instructions that you expect it to follow.

Instructions for baking a cake are called a recipe. Instructions for making a movie are called a screenplay. Instructions for a computer are called a program. Each of these is written in its own language, a concrete realization of an abstract set of instructions. Borrowing from mathematics, computer science calls the abstract instructions an algorithm.

You may at this moment have in mind an algorithm that you'd like to implement. Perhaps you wish to display information in a Web browser that changes frequently. Imagine something simple, such as displaying today's date. You could edit a plain HTML file once a day. You could even write out a set of instructions to help remind you of each step. But you cannot perform the task with HTML alone. There's no tag that stands for the current date.

PHP is a language that allows you to express algorithms for creating HTML files. With PHP, you can write instructions for displaying the current date inside an HTML document. You write your instructions in a file called a script. The language of the script is PHP, a language that both you and the computer can understand.


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