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gives us an easy way to create a form that, when submitted, will load the very
same page, but this time with the $name variable specified.6
If we structure all the pages on our site in this way, visitors will be prompted for
their name by the first page they attempt to view, whichever page this happens
to be. Once they enter their name and click "GO", they'll be presented with the
exact page they requested. The name they entered is then passed in the query
string of every link from that point onward, ensuring that they are prompted
only once.
In this chapter, we've had a taste of the PHP server-side scripting language by
exploring all the basic language features: statements, variables, operators, and
control structures. The sample applications we've seen have been reasonably
simple, but don't let that dissuade you. The real power of PHP is in the hundreds
of built-in functions that let you access data in a MySQL database, send email,
dynamically generate images, and even create Adobe Acrobat PDF files on the
In Chapter 4, we'll delve into the MySQL functions in PHP, to show how to
publish the joke database that we created in Chapter 2 on the Web. This chapter
will set the scene for the ultimate goal of this book—creating a complete content
management system for your Website in PHP and MySQL.
The $_SERVER array was introduced in PHP 4.1. In previous versions of PHP, these values were
available in an array called $HTTP_SERVER_VARS. Also, when register_globals is set to On in the
php.ini file (the default setting in PHP versions prior to 4.2), $_SERVER['PHP_SELF'] was available
simply as $PHP_SELF.