Hi! I'm currently learning on my own on PHP(I have some basics on HTML). Anyway, I learnt that I need to download php from http://www.php.net/downloads.php

The first two downloads I saw was this:-
* PHP 5.0.4 (tar.bz2) [4,620Kb] - 03 Apr 2005
md5: fb1aac107870f897d26563a9cc5053c0
* PHP 5.0.4 (tar.gz) [5,702Kb] - 03 Apr 2005
md5: 8edf259bcfab4cfc890a4bb4e7c3649f

1. Can someone explain to me what is tar.bz2 and tar.gz?
2. How would I know if my PC doesn't support PHP? I'm using Windows XP...If it helps to let anyone know (I know this sounds silly, but I'm really really lost)
3. What's the usage of MySQL Database and Apache Server? MUST I have this together with PHP?

Many Thanks in advance.

if you are running windows xp then you don't want either one of those, those are for li/unix servers

you want this one:
# PHP 5.0.4 zip package [7,488Kb] - 31 Mar 2005
md5: fff10991a8e6f3b36ee567eb236ae3f4

You OS will support it, as long as you have a webserver, ie apache, iis (requires xp professional), jakarta tomcat, etc...

you do not need MySQL to run PHP, but it is highly recommended (and heck it's free)

OK. Thanks. Now that I've got it downloaded this :-

# PHP 5.0.4 zip package [7,488Kb] - 31 Mar 2005
md5: fff10991a8e6f3b36ee567eb236ae3f4

How do I start? (I think these 'little' details are usually left out from tutorials where they only talk about source codes and not how to use it?! :o :cheesy: )
1. Do I write my codes like how I usually do for HTML (using notepad and then save as filename.html or filename.php) or is there other special programmes that I need to use for PHP?
For starters, lets say I use this code:-

<html>
<body>
<?php echo "Hello World";?> 
</body>
</html>

Many thanks in advance again.... :o

that would be a good file to start with, it must end with a php extension

phtml and php3 have been deprecated so don't use them.

another good file to have for reference is this

<?
     phpinfo();
?>

then scroll down to where it says PHP Variables, add the $ sign to one of those and you can view all the system side variables, one item you will see is _SERVER["HTTP_USER_AGENT"]
so just adding the dollar sign, $_SERVER["HTTP_USER_AGENT"] you can view the users agent of whomever is viewing the page, there are other just take a look at see what you need

1. Do I write my codes like how I usually do for HTML (using notepad and then save as filename.html or filename.php) or is there other special programmes that I need to use for PHP?

Writing PHP is just the same as writing HTML... except it gets interpreted on the server side. So using Notepad is fine, but you will find that there are some pretty cool IDEs for PHP that can be helpful when your starting out.

There are also more powerfull text editors that you might be interested in trying. I have found Textpad and UltraEdit to be pretty good (and smart at editing lots of types of files), but these have restrictive licenses. And I am currently using Notepad++ which is a GPLed product available on sourceforge.

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