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Outputting dynamic text

From: PHP with MySQL Essential Training

Video: Outputting dynamic text

If you remember back to the introduction where I talked about why you would want to use PHP. The real power of PHP comes from the ability to Output Dynamic Text. That's what makes it different than just an HTML website. If, for example, we have an auction website and a new item has been posted for sale, it gets stored in the database. PHP goes and grabs it out of the database, and now the HTML page that the user sees is different than what it was a few minutes ago. This new item has been dynamically added to the page. So we're going to start looking at how we can output dynamic text and we're going to start really simple by just outputting a few words.

Outputting dynamic text

If you remember back to the introduction where I talked about why you would want to use PHP. The real power of PHP comes from the ability to Output Dynamic Text. That's what makes it different than just an HTML website. If, for example, we have an auction website and a new item has been posted for sale, it gets stored in the database. PHP goes and grabs it out of the database, and now the HTML page that the user sees is different than what it was a few minutes ago. This new item has been dynamically added to the page. So we're going to start looking at how we can output dynamic text and we're going to start really simple by just outputting a few words.

And then we'll build up to being able to pull things from the database and to actually output more elaborate stuff. To start with, we're going to learn the most important PHP that you need to know, which is the echo command, or function. Echo is just simply going to turn whatever we say, back to the user, it's like an echo. We say something, that's what gets echoed back to the user so that they see it. You can think of it like printing it to the users browser and we'll use it inside our PHP tags with whatever we want to echo back. So for example open php tags echo space and then inside quotes, Hello world semicolon At the end and then close our PHP text. That will send to the users browser embed on the page Hello world no quotes just the characters from the H to the D Let's create a page where we can try this out. Now, instead of doing it on one of these other existing pages I'm going to go into my text editor, TextMate, and I'm going to choose New From Template. Now that's little different than what we did before, instead of just creating a new file I'm going to create an HTML file, and I'm going to pick the transitional version.

That's just going to give me some basic HTML at the top. I'm going to remove some of these bits. Make it a little simpler and do some indentation on it. And I'm going to save this file in my site's directory. I'm just going to save it as basic.html and that will be an HTML file that I can pull up any time I want to work with and to make a copy from. Now notice it's .html so we can't put PHP in it. But now I'm going to do Save As on that document. And I'll make a new one from it, and I'll call it helloworld.php.

Okay, so that's in the same folder, I now I have both of those. This one I'll be coming back to often when I really want to get some HTML again, and then this is the one we're working with now, .php. Ready for PHP to be embedded. Put Hello World at the top, and let's embed our php code here. Let's open up our tags, php echo, open the quotes, Hello World, exclamation point then the semicolon, and then close our php tags. So there we go, nice and simple. We'll save it, always important that you must save it, because Apache is going to read whatever is saved on the hard drive. Whatever's open in the text editor and not saved, that's only on our screen. Let's go into Firefox and let's open up localhost and kevinskoglund/helloworld.php, and there it is. Now lets do View Source on that.

Under Tools for web developer, I have the ability to do Page Source, and you can see that it output all of the HTML. And then right here, it just dropped in that text. No quotes around it, just dropped that text right into the body. So you see how we can embed PHP. That's what we would have expected to happen, it output it right there. Now if we take away the echo, if we just have the string by itself, and we reload the page, then it doesn't output it. We still get the HTML, we can still view our source. And see it's there, but it didn't output anything.

The echo is a very important part of outputting that to us. So let's try another one. We're going to learn how to concatenate two parts together. So we have Hello World, but this time let's put quotes here so that it's two different quoted strings. Hello inside quotes and World inside quotes, and I've got an extra space in here right before World. This period is going to concatenate them together, that is smash them together dynamically generating one new thing they get echoed back. This is a very common technique just to echo things and also to concatenate things together.

If we go here and we take a look, you see we get Hello World two times. Now, it's not on a new line. Right, there's nothing here to tell us to go to a new line, it just echoes one, then the white space. This is just HTML white space, it just says put one space in there. And then followed by our next command. If we want to actually have a line return, well then we need to format it with our HTML. We need to have like a br tag. So, it's a very important point just because we see a new line here between our PHP tags doesn't mean it generates a new line. We still have to write the HTML to make that happen. Alright, next I just want to show you that we can also generate some numbers. Let's try doing 2 plus 3 and we'll just return that back. Let's first take a look, let's put another br tag. Let's take a look at it this way, and notice that it didn't output anything. Well, it's because I didn't echo it.

I always need to echo it, it did the calculation, it did actually add 2 plus 3, but then it just threw away that value. It didn't do anything with it, because I didn't tell it to print it to the screen using echo. Now, the one last point that I want to make here is that the semicolon is a separator that I've told you, you always need. It's a good habit to always have in your PHP. In this case when it's a one line you don't actually need it. Apache is able to tell when it's parsing the PHP that this is the end of the PHP because we have an ending tag here. And it will keep it separate from this one because it's in a separate tag. So we don't strictly speaking have to have the semicolons. However, I think it's a really good practice to just always, always, always use the semicolons.

An that way you won't be tripped up by the sometimes that you use it and sometimes you don't. Just get in the habit of always using a semicolon, and you'll never run into problems. Now that we're able to output dynamic text, I want us to pause for a second, and take a look at how the web server processes these PHP pages. Because I think that process is going to be instructive. We'll do that in the next movie.

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This video is part of

Image for PHP with MySQL Essential Training
PHP with MySQL Essential Training

131 video lessons · 39104 viewers

Kevin Skoglund
Author

 
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  1. 4m 8s
    1. Welcome
      1m 0s
    2. Using the exercise files
      3m 8s
  2. 15m 6s
    1. What is PHP?
      3m 52s
    2. The history of PHP
      2m 51s
    3. Why choose PHP?
      4m 10s
    4. Installation overview
      4m 13s
  3. 54m 53s
    1. Overview
      2m 33s
    2. Working with Apache Web Server
      6m 56s
    3. Changing the document root
      7m 24s
    4. Enabling PHP
      6m 16s
    5. Upgrading PHP
      3m 30s
    6. Configuring PHP
      10m 3s
    7. Installing MySQL
      5m 46s
    8. Configuring MySQL
      7m 24s
    9. Text editor
      5m 1s
  4. 31m 25s
    1. Overview
      3m 27s
    2. Installing WampServer
      5m 46s
    3. Finding the document root
      2m 24s
    4. Configuring PHP
      8m 12s
    5. Configuring MySQL
      5m 45s
    6. Text editor
      5m 51s
  5. 19m 12s
    1. Embedding PHP code on a page
      6m 43s
    2. Outputting dynamic text
      5m 55s
    3. The operational trail
      2m 27s
    4. Inserting code comments
      4m 7s
  6. 1h 18m
    1. Variables
      7m 50s
    2. Strings
      4m 38s
    3. String functions
      8m 54s
    4. Numbers part one: Integers
      6m 27s
    5. Numbers part two: Floating points
      5m 25s
    6. Arrays
      10m 0s
    7. Associative arrays
      6m 37s
    8. Array functions
      6m 33s
    9. Booleans
      3m 50s
    10. NULL and empty
      5m 15s
    11. Type juggling and casting
      8m 27s
    12. Constants
      4m 43s
  7. 27m 37s
    1. If statements
      6m 0s
    2. Else and elseif statements
      4m 16s
    3. Logical operators
      7m 30s
    4. Switch statements
      9m 51s
  8. 42m 15s
    1. While loops
      8m 41s
    2. For loops
      5m 59s
    3. Foreach loops
      8m 16s
    4. Continue
      8m 28s
    5. Break
      4m 8s
    6. Understanding array pointers
      6m 43s
  9. 37m 25s
    1. Defining functions
      8m 25s
    2. Function arguments
      5m 32s
    3. Returning values from a function
      7m 33s
    4. Multiple return values
      4m 53s
    5. Scope and global variables
      6m 2s
    6. Setting default argument values
      5m 0s
  10. 20m 18s
    1. Common problems
      3m 47s
    2. Warnings and errors
      8m 36s
    3. Debugging and troubleshooting
      7m 55s
  11. 57m 57s
    1. Links and URLs
      5m 33s
    2. Using GET values
      5m 35s
    3. Encoding GET values
      8m 41s
    4. Encoding for HTML
      9m 26s
    5. Including and requiring files
      7m 40s
    6. Modifying headers
      6m 45s
    7. Page redirection
      6m 43s
    8. Output buffering
      7m 34s
  12. 1h 3m
    1. Building forms
      7m 28s
    2. Detecting form submissions
      5m 59s
    3. Single-page form processing
      7m 57s
    4. Validating form values
      10m 40s
    5. Problems with validation logic
      9m 54s
    6. Displaying validation errors
      7m 23s
    7. Custom validation functions
      6m 28s
    8. Single-page form with validations
      7m 25s
  13. 28m 5s
    1. Working with cookies
      2m 49s
    2. Setting cookie values
      5m 55s
    3. Reading cookie values
      6m 1s
    4. Unsetting cookie values
      4m 51s
    5. Working with sessions
      8m 29s
  14. 48m 39s
    1. MySQL introduction
      6m 43s
    2. Creating a database
      7m 41s
    3. Creating a database table
      7m 42s
    4. CRUD in MySQL
      5m 48s
    5. Populating a MySQL database
      7m 32s
    6. Relational database tables
      6m 40s
    7. Populating the relational table
      6m 33s
  15. 56m 4s
    1. Database APIs in PHP
      4m 51s
    2. Connecting to MySQL with PHP
      7m 45s
    3. Retrieving data from MySQL
      8m 47s
    4. Working with retrieved data
      6m 12s
    5. Creating records with PHP
      6m 58s
    6. Updating and deleting records with PHP
      9m 6s
    7. SQL injection
      3m 5s
    8. Escaping strings for MySQL
      6m 45s
    9. Introducing prepared statements
      2m 35s
  16. 35m 58s
    1. Blueprinting the application
      7m 19s
    2. Building the CMS database
      5m 14s
    3. Establishing your work area
      4m 38s
    4. Creating and styling the first page
      4m 22s
    5. Making page assets reusable
      6m 36s
    6. Connecting the application to the database
      7m 49s
  17. 32m 49s
    1. Adding pages to the navigation subjects
      5m 58s
    2. Refactoring the navigation
      6m 7s
    3. Selecting pages from the navigation
      6m 2s
    4. Highlighting the current page
      5m 26s
    5. Moving the navigation to a function
      9m 16s
  18. 1h 45m
    1. Finding a subject in the database
      9m 48s
    2. Refactoring the page selection
      10m 52s
    3. Creating a new subject form
      6m 55s
    4. Processing form values and adding subjects
      11m 20s
    5. Passing data in the session
      9m 16s
    6. Validating form values
      9m 40s
    7. Creating an edit subject form
      8m 30s
    8. Using single-page submission
      7m 44s
    9. Deleting a subject
      9m 44s
    10. Cleaning up
      10m 37s
    11. Assignment: Pages CRUD
      4m 30s
    12. Assignment results: Pages CRUD
      6m 10s
  19. 39m 26s
    1. The public appearance
      8m 52s
    2. Using a context for conditional code
      11m 37s
    3. Adding a default subject behavior
      6m 9s
    4. The public content area
      5m 51s
    5. Protecting page visibility
      6m 57s
  20. 1h 3m
    1. User authentication overview
      4m 3s
    2. Admin CRUD
      8m 41s
    3. Encrypting passwords
      7m 26s
    4. Salting passwords
      5m 42s
    5. Adding password encryption to CMS
      11m 54s
    6. New PHP password functions
      3m 13s
    7. Creating a login system
      11m 28s
    8. Checking for authorization
      5m 48s
    9. Creating a logout page
      5m 40s
  21. 2m 4s
    1. Next steps
      2m 4s

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