It would be unfair of me to help you get everything installed and
not even give you a taste of what a PHP-driven Web page looks
like until Part 3, so here's a little something to whet your
Open up your favorite text or HTML editor and create a new file
today.php. Note that, to save a file with a
.php extension in Notepad, you'll need to either
select 'All Files' as the file type, or surround the filename
with quotes in the Save As dialog; otherwise, Notepad will
helpfully save the file as
today.php.txt. Type this
into the file:
(according to this
Web server) is
echo( date("l, F dS Y.") );
If you prefer, you can download this file along with the rest of
the code in this article series here.
Save this and place it on your Web site as you would any regular
HTML file, then view it in your browser. Note that if you view
the file on your own machine, you cannot use the
File, Open feature of your browser, because your
Web server must intervene to interpret the PHP code in the file.
Instead, you must move the file into the document root folder of
your Web server software (e.g.
in IIS, or
C:\Apache Group\Apache\htdocs\ in Apache
for Windows), then load it into your browser by typing
http://localhost/today.php. This allows the Web
server to run the PHP code in the file and replace it with the
date before it's sent to the Web browser. If you haven't yet had
time to set up PHP on your Web server, click
to see the results on our server.
Pretty neat, huh? If you use the ‘View Source' feature in
your browser, all you'll see is a regular HTML file with the date
in it. The PHP code (everything between
?> in the code above) has been interpreted by the
Web server and converted to normal text before it's sent to your
browser. The beauty of PHP (and other server-side scripting
languages) is that the Web browser doesn't have to know anything
about it – the Web server does all the work!
And don't worry too much about the exact code I used in this
example. Before too long you'll know it like the back of your
If you don't see the date, then something is wrong with the PHP
support in your Web server. Use View Source in your browser to
look at the code of the page. You'll probably see the PHP code
there in the page. Since the browser doesn't understand PHP, it
?> as one
long, invalid HTML tag, which it ignores. Make sure that PHP
support has been properly installed on your Web server, either in
accordance with the instructions provided in previous sections of
this article, or by your Web host.
You should now have everything you need to get MySQL and PHP
installed on your Web Server. If the little example above didn't
work right (for example, if the raw PHP code appeared instead of
the date), something went wrong with your setup procedure. Drop
by the SitePoint.com Forums
and we'll be glad to help you figure out the problem!
In Part 2, you'll learn the basics of
relational databases and get started working with MySQL. If
you've never even touched a database before, I promise you it'll
be a real eye opener! Meanwhile, I'd love to hear what you
thought of the first part of this series of articles. Drop me a
line at firstname.lastname@example.org, or
stop by the SitePoint.com Forums to
speak your mind.