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Understanding PHP in Web Development: Is PHP Frontend or Backend?

July 19, 2023


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PHP, which stands for “PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor,” is an open-source scripting language. Initially created in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf, PHP has powered a significant portion of the web. It’s known for its ease of use, flexibility, and strong community support. But, is PHP frontend or backend?

Keep reading to understand where in this spectrum PHP fits.

The Basics of Web Development

Web development is typically divided into two main areas: frontend and backend.

The frontend, or client-side, involves everything users directly interact with, including the design and some aspects of functionality. It’s primarily focused on user experience and interface, using technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

On the other hand, the backend, or server side, is the part that users don’t see. It involves the server, the application, and the database. Backend development focuses on the functionality, logic, and database operations, ensuring that data is processed correctly and efficiently.

What Is PHP?

To get to the basics, PHP is a language that many claim is easy to use and learn. This is very important for a language’s life cycle and helps get more and more new developers involved every year. But why is the PHP backend such a common priority?

Typically, PHP interacts with a web server and compiles, retrieves, or displays data for the user (your customer). This can work for either backend or frontend frameworks. Once the customer calls up information, PHP can fly around your servers, finding their answer and displaying it to them. 

PHP does all of this while still being a user-friendly language. It is no wonder why this language is so universal in website development. If it can do all of these things and still be considered modern and easy, it must have something to it.

PHP in the modern web development ecosystem

PHP maintains a significant position in today’s web development ecosystem. While newer programming languages and frameworks have emerged, PHP remains relevant for web developers due to its continuous development, wide usage, and ability to adapt to modern web development requirements.

Common misconceptions about the PHP framework

Despite its long-standing presence and widespread use in web development, PHP is often subject to a range of misconceptions. Addressing these myths is crucial for new and experienced developers to appreciate its true potential and versatility.

Below are five common misconceptions about PHP:

  1. PHP is outdated: PHP is continuously updated, with each new version enhancing performance, security, and features. Its ongoing evolution ensures it remains a relevant choice for modern web development.
  2. PHP is not secure: Like any programming language, PHP’s security depends on how it’s used. With proper coding practices, including updated PHP frameworks, PHP applications can be highly secure.
  3. PHP is slow: Its performance has significantly improved over the years, especially with the release of PHP 7 and later versions. Performance can be further optimized through good coding practices and the proper configuration.
  4. PHP is only for small projects: Since it’s not only a server-side language, PHP is versatile enough to handle projects of all sizes. It’s as suitable for building small websites as for complex web applications.
  5. PHP lacks community support: PHP has a vast and active community. From forums and online groups to extensive documentation and community-driven projects, support for PHP developers is robust.

PHP in Frontend

PHP is often used in conjunction with front-end technologies. It can dynamically generate HTML pages, embed PHP code within HTML, and interact with JavaScript for asynchronous tasks using AJAX. This integration enables developers to create dynamic, interactive websites that update content without reloading the entire page.

How PHP can be used for frontend development depends heavily on how it interacts with PHP backend writing. This may sound obvious, but the system works within specific parameters and phrases. Once you apply it somewhere else, it will mimic that system even in a new job.

PHP helps frontend developers by sending HTML code to the user’s browser. It acts as a pass-through for other codes and enables the site to work faster. You may want this because your backend is written in PHP and needs a good “translator” language. PHP backend can handle a lot of data, but interacting with that data via another language can cause issues.

PHP in Backend

Here, PHP backend writing sets a strong foundation and keeps you working. The language performs at its best in this environment and has set the standard for development.

PHP easily stores and manipulates data in large quantities. Once you determine and add values, PHP takes the wheel. Managing backend struggles is much easier with PHP around. It can also retrieve data and display that to users within the same keystrokes. This is especially easy with PHP in your front-end development, as there is no need for a translator.

Where Does PHP Fit? Frontend or Backend?

PHP distinctly fits backend web development. It plays a crucial role in data processing, handling form submissions, managing user sessions, interacting with databases, and dynamically generating HTML content. However, it’s essential to understand how PHP interacts with front-end technologies.

PHP generates HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code rendered in the user’s browser. While PHP doesn’t run on the frontend, its output is essential for the frontend experience. This interaction makes it an integral part of the full-stack development process, generating dynamic web pages.

We Can Help You Find the Best PHP Experts for Your Project!

PHP is an essential tool for server-side programming, allowing developers to create dynamic, interactive websites. However, dedicating internal resources to PHP development for a particular project might not always be the most efficient use of a company’s time. And by outsourcing PHP development, efforts could be redirected toward other crucial aspects of the business.

WillDom connects businesses with top-tier PHP development talent, easing the burden of recruitment and onboarding. When you partner with us, you get access to a pool of pre-vetted, skilled PHP developers ready to integrate seamlessly into your projects. We are committed to quality and focus on fostering solid client-developer relationships.

Contact WillDom today to take your company’s web development to new heights!

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