Friday, March 04, 2011

PHP Quick Intro


  • Start with a dollar sign,for example : $variable_name=2;
  • Do not need to be declared before use.
  • Can hold a string, or a number, or a boolean: $a="cat"; $b=42; $c=false;
  • Can store floating point numbers: $b=42.06;


  • Can be assigned to a variable: $w = "world";
  • Can be concatenated with the period (.) operator: "hello ".$w yields "hello world"
  • The concatenation operator is used a lot. Remember it.
  • You can get the length: strlen($w) returns 5
  • You can get a substring: substr($w,1,3); returns orl
  • Can be operated on by many PHP built in string functions
  • Can be enclosed by double quotes (") or single quotes ('): $w = 'world';
  • There are differences between single and double quotes.
  • In double quotes, you can embed variables: "hello $w" produces hello world - the variable is substituted (its name replaced by its value)
  • But if you try that with single quotes: 'hello $w' produces hello $w
  • That same idea applies to special chars: "hello\n" produces a newline
  • But 'hello\n' produces hello\n as a string (no newline) - taken literally with no substitution
  • You can put a double quote in a double quoted sting by escaping: "Hello \"World\"" produces Hello "World"
  • PHP strings act very differently than C character arrays. Much simpler to work with.


  • Create an empty one like this: $myarray=array();
  • Create one with some elements: $myarray=array("cat","dog","hamster");
  • Can hold a mixture of data types: $myarray=array("cat",42,false);
  • Start with index of 0: echo $myarray[0]; // outputs: cat
  • Unless the keys are specified: $myarray=array(1=>"cat",2=>42);
  • And the keys don't have to be numbers, they can be strings: $myarray=array("fluffy"=>"cat","rover"=>"dog");
  • Can append to an array like this: $myarray[]="a new element"
  • Find out how many elements it has: count($myarray)
  • Sort the array: sort($myarray)
  • Sort the array by keys instead of values: ksort($myarray)
  • Can be operated on by many built in PHP array functions.


  • Here's a string: $s="Cat,Dog,Cow,Pig"
  • Create an array from it: $a=explode(',',$s);
  • $a[0] is now Cat, $a[3] is Pig
  • Let's overwrite the Pig: $a[3]="Goose";
  • Go back to a string: $s=implode(',',$a);
  • $s is now: "Cat,Dog,Cow,Goose"


  • foreach loops through entire arrays:
      foreach ($myarray as $element) {
        echo $element;
      // Outputs: cat, dog
  • But you can also get at the array key values:
      foreach ($myarray as $k => $element) {
        // We're using the concatenation operator here (period, remember?)
        echo $k." is a ".$element;
      // Outputs: fluffy is a cat, rover is a dog
  • There are other ways to loop, but foreach covers 90% of what you'll ever need.


  • Looks just like if-else in C and other languages.
  • Optionally, you can use a colon and endif statement, instead of braces:
    // using curly braces:
      if ($w=="world") {
        echo "hello ".$w;  // aside: note the concatenation operator (period)
      // This is the same logic:
      if ($w=="world):
        echo "hello $w";  // aside: this time we didn't use concatenation!
  • There is a tertiary operator: echo ($w=="world") ? "hello $w" : "goodbye";


  • Files ending with .php contain HTML and PHP
  • PHP must be enclosed within PHP tags: <?php echo "I'm PHP";?>
  • If it's not within PHP tags, it gets sent to the Browser unaltered.
  • So whatever is not within PHP tags should be valid HTML/CSS/Javascript
  • You can use the short PHP tag: <? echo "I'm PHP";?>
  • For an echo, this is most concise: <?="I'm PHP"?>
  • Works well for variables: <div class="<?=$classname?>">


Clayton Patel said...

I have read your web page and I got very useful and knowledgeable information about PHP Array and looping. It’s really a very nice information sharing for PHP developer. You have done a great job.

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