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TECHNICAL FAQ Technical FAQ Using PHP for easy scripting
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The use of PHP/FI is now available on the NetCulture servers.

PHP/FI is a server-side html-embedded scripting language. It lets you write simple scripts inside .HTML files much like JavaScript, except unlike JavaScript, PHP/FI is not browser-dependant. JavaScript is a client-side html-embedded language while PHP/FI is a server-side language.

PHP/FI is loaded as an Apache module on the NetCulture servers. This therefore changes slightly the way that it should be referenced. Two things to remember, 1/ ensure that the PHP html file is named with a .phtml extension, ii/ reference the file as a normal html file as in http://www.yourdomain.com/test.phtml

A large amount of information is available on the PHP/FI web site, this includes examples and complete documentation. We have included below a feature list of the product.

Major Features
With support for the new FastCGI standard, PHP/FI can take advantage of the speed improvements gained through this mechanism. Loaded as an Apache module on the NetCulture servers, PHP/FI becomes an extremely powerful and extremely fast alternative to CGI programming.

Access Logging
With the access logging capabilities of PHP/FI, clients can maintain their own hit counting and logging. This does not use the system's central access log files in any way, and provides real-time access monitoring.
We have a Log Viewer Script which provides a quick summary of the hits on a set of pages. In addition, the package is configured to generate a footer on every page which shows access information, for example :-

2014 total hits since Wednesday March 6. 79 hits today.
Last access on Monday April 21 at 10:05:27 from htmldev.admin.NetCulture.net
Page was last updated on Sunday April 13, 1997 at 1:04:50

MySQL Support
MySQL is a complex and efficient SQL Engine available on the NetCulture systems. PHP provides support for embedded SQL right inside a .html file. There is no easier way of building a database-enabled web page system than with the combination of MySQL and PHP.

RFC-1867 File Upload Support
File Upload is a new feature in Netscape 2.0. It lets users upload files to a web server. PHP/FI provides the actual Mime decoding to make this work and also provides the additional framework to do something useful with the uploaded file once it has been received.

HTTP-based authentication control
PHP/FI can be used to create customised HTTP-based authentication mechanisms for the Apache web server.

Variables, Arrays, Associative Arrays
PHP/FI supports typed variables, arrays, and even Perl-like associative arrays. These can all be passed from one web page to another using either GET or POST method forms.

Conditionals, While Loops
PHP/FI supports a full-featured C-like scripting language. You can have ‘if / then / elseif / else / endif' conditions as well as while loops and ‘switch / case' statements to guide the logical flow of how the html page should be displayed.

Extended Regular Expressions
Regular expressions are heavily used for pattern matching, pattern substitutions and general string manipulation. PHP/FI supports all common regular expression operations.

Raw HTTP Header Control
The ability to have web pages send customised raw HTTP headers based on some condition is essential for high-level web site design. A frequent use is to send a Location: URL header to redirect the calling client to some other URL. It can also be used to turn off cacheing or manipulate the last update header of pages.

On-the-fly GIF image creation
PHP/FI has support for Thomas Boutell's GD image library which makes it possible to generate GIF images on the fly. NetCulture offers full support of ‘GD' on all servers.

For more information on it's uses, please see the main PHP/FI web site available here.

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