If you are familiar with the basics of PHP, then you’re probably wondering how you can use it to make your website more appealing. The possibilities are endless, and you can write your own PHP scripts or implement widely available scripts from around the web. Let’s get started with 15 creative uses for PHP for your website!
E-commerce is one of the major uses for PHP. From a small business level to an enterprise level, businesses are always looking to create additional streams of revenue online. If you know how to integrate existing e-commerce solutions or build your own from scratch, this gives you a distinct advantage with your clients.
If you want to build your own shopping cart application, you can either code the entire application from scratch or implement a PHP framework. If you are an intermediate to advanced PHP coder, I personally recommend using a framework such as CodeIgniter or CakePHP. CakePHP has a bakery section with readily available source code for e-commerce applications. For instance, you can integrate Paypal with your site using ready-made scripts. CodeIgniter has a user guide and a few tutorials to get you up and running quickly. Both of these frameworks have extensive documentation on how to create web applications from the ground up; which one you use is really a matter of personal preference.
If you are new to PHP, or you just know some basic PHP programming, I would suggest using an existing e-commerce solution. Some of the available options are:
While I understand that each of these solutions has its own quirks, it might be easier to spend a few days with the documentation or a tutorial than to learn PHP from the ground up. It really depends on how much time you are willing to invest in tackling e-commerce.
2. Project Management Tools
For both freelancers and web development firms alike, project management is an important aspect of your business. Your clients need a resource to be able to check the progress of the work and provide feedback. Ideally, with a good project management system in place, your clients will be thoroughly pleased with the end result.
There are several excellent web-based project management tools on the market today. If you can afford to use a subscription service, I would highly recommend Basecamp. Although Basecamp was written in Ruby on Rails, it is an excellent advertisement for effective, streamlined project management solutions. For those of us who do not necessarily need a subscription-based product, you can build your own!
3. Graphical User Interface
For those of you who are up to the challenge, you can extend your PHP installation to create desktop applications. This one is a challenge because it requires some extensive knowledge of PHP and it might also be easier to create desktop applications in other programming languages. If PHP is your favorite programming language, then you can use some of these PHP extensions to get you started creating GUIapplications.
- PHP GTK – This extension is a popular open source that implements the GIMP toolkit
- ZZEE PHP GUI – A paid solution that allows you to turn your PHP scripts into Windows applications
The main advantage of creating your own PHP GUI’s is that you will learn a great deal about the language itself!
4. Building an Online Community
Whether your website is about business, entertainment, or products and services, internet users need to feel connected to the product or message. For example, if you develop web applications, a forum where your customers can discuss issues might be a good idea. As a user, if I have a question and I need support right away, a hotline or an e-mail form is often insufficient. With an online community, your visitors can help solve each other’s product-related issues, and even answer technical questions. You still have to provide some level of after-sales support, but a community can effectively decrease your workload and provide useful feedback.
You can build your own PHP-driven online community, or choose from widely available scripts that you can implement into your website. Again, if you plan to build your own forum from scratch, I do recommend the use of a PHP Framework. CodeIgniter, for example, has classes and helpers to take care of the most routine tasks you can think of. Beyond that, you can use several different forum building tools. Some popular ones include:
5. Developing Facebook Applications
You can integrate Facebook with your website using PHP. If you have developed Facebook applications using another language or you would like to get started with PHP, the Facebook developer’s wiki can help you to get started. The developer’s wiki explains the Facebook PHP client library and provides detailed instructions on how to install and use the files included in the library. This is certainly worth a look if you are interested in programming for the Facebook platform. For Facebook users interested in the back-end of the platform, this would be a natural step.
6. Generating PDF Files
The PDF format is Adobe’s proprietary file type for document exchange. Using a library called PDFLib, you can generate PDF files with PHP. This library is already included with PHP5; to access it, you need to uncomment the appropriate lines in your PHP configuration file. An example of why creating PDF files might come in useful is, if you were building an online invoicing application and you wanted to output an HTML-generated invoice in PDF format. You can then send the invoice via e-mail or print a copy of it to your client.
7. Parsing XML Files
Php permits you to parse Xml documents. Parsing Xml is a vital characteristic of Php 5 since not all programs can yield the substance of a Xml document; so you can make a parser in Php to expedite this methodology. Utilizing Xml is paramount for Rss channels, and likewise for information space and rendering information on distinctive mechanisms – for instance, cells utilize a usage of Xml called Wml (Wireless Markup Language). Working with Xml indexes in Php is comparative to taking care of the opening, shutting, and perusing of a record. The steps included are making a Xml parser, setting capacities to handle your opening and shutting Xml tags, opening the record for perusing, perusing the index incrementally then after that end it.
Source From http://net.tutsplus.com