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Frequently Asked Questions

What is PHP?

PHP is an HTML-embedded scripting language. Much of its syntax is borrowed from C, Java and Perl with a couple of unique PHP-specific features thrown in. The goal of the language is to allow web developers to write dynamically generated pages quickly.

What are the differences between PHP 4 and PHP 5?

While PHP 5 was purposely designed to be as compatible as possible with previous versions, there are some significant changes. Some of these changes include:

  • A new OOP model based on the Zend Engine 2.0
  • A new extension for improved MySQL support
  • Built-in native support for SQLite
  • A new error reporting constant, E_STRICT, for run-time code suggestions
  • A host of new functions to simplify code authoring (and reduce the need to write your own functions for many common procedures)

For more detailed information, please view the section on

Migrating from PHP 4 to PHP 5

and the section on

Backwards Incompatible Changes


How can I add text to an image using php?

There is a built in function to add text to an image. The tricky bit is knowing the parameters.

It is not worth learning these, therefore take note of them from an existing example or the manual each time that you need to write text with PHP!

The function used to do this using TrueType fonts is called imagettftext and take a deep breath as here come the parameters:

array imagettftext ( resource $image, float $size, float $angle, int $x, int $y, int $color, string $fontfile, string $text )

What is the relation between the versions?

PHP/FI 2.0 is an early and no longer supported version of PHP. PHP 3 is the successor to PHP/FI 2.0 and is a lot nicer. PHP 5 is the current generation of PHP, which uses the » Zend engine 2 which, among other things, offers many additional OOP features.

How can I mix up the order of values in an array?

A simple way to achieve the result of mixing up the values in an array is to use the shuffle function, which takes the name of the array you want to randomise. Here is a code snippet to demonstrate the shuffle function in action:


This will print something like the below, shuffling up the letters of the alphabet:

[0] => J
[1] => R
[2] => C
[3] => W
[4] => Y
[5] => L
[6] => B
[7] => A
[8] => P
[9] => O
[10] => M
[11] => V
[12] => D
[13] => X
[14] => F
[15] => S
[16] => Q
[17] => G
[18] => I
[19] => H
[20] => N
[21] => Z
[22] => U
[23] => E
[24] => K
[25] => T

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