Exploring The Diverse World of PHP and Its Importance in Information Technology
We’re exploring how dynamic PHP is within Gapstars itself!
Welcome to another instalment of the Gapstars Explorer Series. Complementing this month’s focus on PHP, we will discuss what PHP is and the domain in which it is used. We’ll be covering:
- PHP at a Glance
- PHP At Large
- Usage of PHP among Gapstars’ partners
Right. Let’s jump in.
PHP at a Glance
PHP, short for “Hypertext Preprocessor”, started as an open-source project. The first version of PHP was developed by Rasmus Lerdorf back in 1994.
As a staple server-side scripting language in web development today, it is known for its simplicity and easy usability. It’s hugely popular thanks to its ability to integrate with many popular databases, and its support for major protocols such as POP3, IMAP and LDAP.
Apart from web development, PHP can still come in handy for tasks that use a command line.
PHP At Large
Many of the modern World Wide Web’s mainstay features have PHP associated with them.
In this section, we will talk about three of them. Namely,
- Two-Factor Authentication
- Real-Time Applications
- REST APIs and Web Services
If you use Gmail, Facebook or Instagram, you might have noticed on-screen messages asking you to enable two-factor authentication for extra account security. It is one of the most common ways used today to enhance security.
How it works is, after logging in to a website or an app with your username and password, a prompt asks you to provide a security code. It could be a code generated via a separate authenticator app, a text sent to your mobile, or a code sent to your email.
Two-factor authentication systems typically use PHP to function. It is because PHP can effectively:
- Generate a secure, random token and store that in a database.
- Send a code (token) via email.
- Connect to an SMS provider’s API and send the code (token) as an SMS.
Real-Time Applications include Chatbots, Monitoring Systems, Social Media Sites, Browser-Based games and such.
PHP is used hand-in-hand with other backend technologies such as Node.JS to make these applications run smoother and more effectively.
REST APIs and Web Services
An API (Application Programming Interface) is an entity that allows one piece of software to talk to another. There are different types of APIs, but today, REST APIs see widespread use.
Few examples of REST APIs are the Twitter API or the Facebook Graph API. Here, REST stands for “Representational State Transfer”. A REST API acts similar to how a website behaves. It would relay a call from a client to a server and send data back via the HTTP protocol.
Essentially, Web Services (including REST services) are machine-to-machine, HTTP(S) based data exchange systems.
While dynamic websites exchange data through HTML input forms with human users, web services communicate with systems such as other web services, devices and remote applications via protocols such as CSV, XML and JSON.
Web Services and REST APIs are written predominantly in PHP.
As SaaS (Software as a Service) entails a software distribution model in which the software is hosted on a cloud platform and made available to users via the internet, PHP is widely used throughout their development.
Gapstars Partners Who Use PHP in Their Products
Otrium is an online fashion marketplace. The concept behind Otrium is rather simple. Once items from top-fashion brands reach end-of-season status, brands can list those items under Otrium and sell them. That way, Otrium enables top-fashion brands to sell their entire back-inventory.
Top-fashion brands are often reluctant to sell their unsold clothes under low price tags in their own stores. But with Otrium, brands can gain an extra sales channel for their unsold products.
Otrium raised $26 million in its latest Series B funding round.
As an e-commerce platform, PHP is used heavily inside Otrium.
Fixico is an end-to-end car damage repair management platform. Fixico takes a pioneering approach to car damage repair by taking a digital approach. Fixico gives access to a marketplace with a network of more than 2000 body repair shops. Fixico’s clients include Bosch, Mastercard and Ballast Nedam.
As a web-based service, PHP is widely used inside Fixico.
Pastbook lets you create instant photo books using your Facebook and Instagram pictures. In addition to that, they also let you create Calendars, Posters and Cards.
They have won multiple awards lately, such as Winner of Deloitte Fast50 in Media & Entertainment, listed by Inc. in their Inc5000 list, and listed by Wired as Europe’s 100 hottest startups.
As a web service, Pastbook relies heavily on PHP.
To summarise, PHP is a staple in web development as well as cloud-enabled web services today. It is used widely in one of the modern World Wide Web’s mainstay features. Due to its versatility, simplicity and easy integration capabilities, it’ll see widespread use as the industry continues to grow.
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