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Creating PHP pages

From: Dynamic Dreamweaver Websites: Creating and Validating Forms

Video: Creating PHP pages

I would like to start our work in PHP with an example of the difference between an HTML page and a PHP page. I get asked this question quite often in classes. And it was very confusing to me, initially, as well. So let's start by creating an HTML page. And I'll just click Create New HTML in our Welcome screen. That green screen is known as a Welcome screen. I'll go ahead and save this as test.html. And there's our HTML page.

Creating PHP pages

I would like to start our work in PHP with an example of the difference between an HTML page and a PHP page. I get asked this question quite often in classes. And it was very confusing to me, initially, as well. So let's start by creating an HTML page. And I'll just click Create New HTML in our Welcome screen. That green screen is known as a Welcome screen. I'll go ahead and save this as test.html. And there's our HTML page.

Now, what we're going to do is, let's preview this in the browser. And we should see absolutely nothing. Perfect, that is our HTML page. Now what we're going to do, is modify this. Let's add, hello world, to the page. And this is kind of a programming phrase. When you first learn a programming language, this is usually one of the first things you do within that language is print out, hello world, to the screen.

So, that's what we're going to do. I'll preview this again, just to show it to you. There's our basic HTML. I'm not even going to bother adding a title to this document. And let me close it up. Now here is our HTML page. Notice the rest of our pages are all PHP. It is possible to mix your pages within your website, although I think you'll find its much easier if you just create all PHP pages initially.

What happens is if you want to add some PHP to a page, it can no longer be HTML. And then you have to change the link to that page across the entire site in order to change it to PHP. What we're going to do is just click on this page name. I'm going to get rid of the HTML, and I'm going to put PHP in instead. You can use the Files panel in Dreamweaver to rename. To do so, you just click on it, wait for just a second and click on it again. And that takes care of renaming.

As long as you rename your pages throughout your website in the Files panel here, Dreamweaver will update links for you as well, or at least prompt you to find out if Dreamweaver should or not. So it's always best to rename pages within this Files panel. Let's open up our test.php one more time. The coding on the page is exactly the same. Let's put it in the browser, and preview. And it looks no different.

So you can see, a basic HTML page and a basic PHP page are no different. As we move forward, you'll begin to see why we're going to use PHP as the file extension. And what we will end up doing is mixing PHP code in amongst the HTML on the page. And the only way the web server understands that PHP needs to process it is this file extension. So that's why we need the PHP.

It tells the web server, oh this is a PHP page, I need to send this over to PHP for processing. So that's all there is to creating a PHP page. It works just like an HTML page because it is an HTML page, with some PHP mixed in. So what we're going to do is move into mixing our PHP within the page. This is the only page where we won't have any PHP code mixed in. So that is the difference between an HTML page and a PHP page.

You can see there really is no difference, and on this page with no PHP processing, they are identical.

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