Learn More about PHP & Drupal

PHP and ASP.NET are the two main scripting languages used by web developers. PHP is a multi-platform open-source language whilst ASP.NET is a single platform language built and owned by Microsoft. Both of these languages are packed full of features and add-on for both are available so that you are able to extend their framework to build feature rich applications. Although PHP is open source, it has a large active community which is there to support users of the language; ASP.NET is a product of Microsoft meaning that there is a large amount of online documentation and other community forums where you can get support.


PHP is a language which has been around since 1984 and powers many of the world’s websites. It is free and is known as ‘open source’ software meaning that its source code is available for download, at no cost. It widely used in conjunction with the MySQL database engine, but can be used with others such as Oracle and SQL Lite. PHP is generally easier to code in than ASP.NET, since it has more functions built in than its rival; however, ASP.NET has built-in AJAX functions which is something that PHP lacks. Since PHP is open source, there is a number of applications that are available for free based on it, most of these applications are commonly used and are very powerful; also, there is a greater number of community forums and blogs where you are able to find information regarding PHP since it is open source.

PHP is a dynamic language since there are several different types of database that you are able to connect to, including: MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL and in some cases, Microsoft SQL Server. You are also able to edit the source of the language if you wish to speed it up or install custom modifications so that it is able to run as per your requirements; again, this is because it is open source – although ASP.NET is a free language, it isn’t open source meaning that you are unable to edit its source.

ASP.NET is a language based on classic ASP – both languages are owned and were created by Microsoft. Although it is a free language, it isn’t open source meaning that you are unable to view or edit the source code of it. Also, it is very limited in what database types you can use with it – Microsoft only invented it to work with Microsoft Access and Microsoft SQL Server databases, although developers can use it with MySQL databases with the help of third party components. Classic ASP, ASP.NET’s forefather, was created back in the mid-1990s and is the base which ASP.NET has been built on. One thing which annoys many ASP.NET developers is the fact that Microsoft is forever releasing updates to the system, and in its course, changing things along the way meaning that in some cases, developers have to keep on learning the changes as well as the new components and functions which are being added.

The Advantages of PHP

PHP is one of the most popular server side scripting languages running today. It is used for creating dynamic webpages that interact with the user offering customized information. PHP offers many advantages; it is fast, stable, secure, easy to use and open source (free).

Rasmus Lerdorf wrote the first PHP (first called Personal Home Page) scripts as a series of Perl scripts that he used to track visitors to his webpage and to see who was viewing his resume. He eventually rewrote PHP as a scripting engine and added support for forms. PHP has been evolving since 1994 as an open source code. A community of followers and developers formed and began using and further developing PHP. Over the years the Personal Home Page acronym was dropped and it evolved into the PHP Hypertext Preprocessor.

PHP code is inserted directly into the HTML that makes up a website. When a visitor comes to the website, the code is executed. Because PHP is a server side technology, the user does not need any special browser or plug-ins to see the PHP in action.

The beauty of PHP lies in its simplicity. It is easy to understand and learn, especially for those with backgrounds in programming such as C, JavaScript and HTML. The language is similar to C and Perl so that anyone with a background in either C or Perl programming will feel comfortable using and understanding PHP. PHP also runs on just about every platform including most UNIX, Macs and Windows versions.

PHP doesn’t use a lot of the system’s resources so it runs fast and doesn’t tend to slow other processes down. It is typically used as an Apache module, written in C, so it loads and executes quickly. It works well with other software and can be quite fast. PHP is also fairly stable and since it is open source, the PHP community works together to fix any bugs. The community offers technical support and continuously updates the code further expanding PHP’s capabilities.

PHP offers many levels of security to prevent malicious attacks. These security levels can be adjusted in the .ini file. Another key advantage of PHP is its connective abilities. PHP uses a modular system of extensions to interface with a variety of libraries such as graphics, XML, encryption, etc. In addition, programmers can extend PHP by writing their own extensions and compiling them into the executable or they can create their own executable and load it using PHP’s dynamic loading mechanism.

In addition to extensions, PHP has tons of server interfaces, database interfaces and other modules available. Of the server interfaces, PHP can load into Apache, IIS, Roxen, THTTPD and AOLserver. It can also be run as a CGI module. Database interfaces are available for MySQL, MS SQL, Informix, Oracle and plenty of others. If a database is not supported, ODBC is an option.

The main PHP source repository is loaded with modules and interfaces that users have written and contributed. There you can find modules for flash movies, PDF files, calendars and more.

A huge advantage that PHP offers is its community. Since PHP is an open source project, the PHP community is willing to share. If you’re looking for a particular script, chances are another user has already created something similar. Check within the PHP community for availability. Likewise, if you have created a function that others might enjoy, be sure to post the code for others.

If you’re ready to add dynamic content to your webpages, consider the use of PHP. It’s free, easy to learn (especially if you have some programming background) and integrates well across many platforms and with various software programs.

Drupal and Power goes together

Maybe you’ve heard about Drupal somewhere, maybe a friend told you about it, or maybe you just saw some cool website and found out it has been made with Drupal.

Drupal is CMS - Content Management System. It means you somehow “manage content” with it. So, what kind of content can you manage with Drupal? Any kind!

You see, every piece of content in Drupal is called a node. Node is the smallest chunk of information in Drupal, if you want to call it like that. Node is actually this article that you are reading right now.

Nodes can be of different types. That’s where “content types” come in the game. Drupal comes with some pre-defined content types like “story” and “page” content types. The good thing about content types is that you can define your own content types and also you can extend them (more about that later).

The important thing to understand is that most of the content in Drupal is made up of nodes. Nodes can have comments, and comments can be submitted by users.

What can You create with Drupal?

With Drupal you can create:

Simple n-number-of-pages static website
Simple personal homepage
Company website
Dating website
MySpace-like website
(insert your favorite type of website here) 

Basically, there are no limits with Drupal, and you really can make any type of website you want.

Of course, it all comes to you and your skills. It helps a lot if you know some html, php, css and that kind of stuff. It is not necessary but it will help.

Why you should use Drupal?

Easy to use (even if you don’t know HTML, PHP…)
Lots of modules
Lots of themes
Great established user community
You can make a website in terms of hours, even minutes

With that in mind, I hope you now have a basic understanding of what Drupal is and what Drupal can do for you.