Have you ever wondered how many on-line forms ensure data is entered in a particular format and error free? A good example would be a telephone number with area code such as (905) 257-1728. What is to prevent an end-user from leaving out the area code or using a dot instead of a dash? Using PHP and Regular Expressions, data entry can be restricted to conform to established criteria also known as pattern matching. Other examples include verifying the format of a Visa #, a postal / zip code or even determining if an e-mail address is valid. Once data is entered within an input field of a form it can be checked against pre-defined patterns called regular expressions. For more information on the use of pattern matching please visit www.regularexpressions.info. 17 Designs routinely incorporates Regular Expressions with PHP server-side scripting into our on-line forms web development.
PHP, originally standing for Personal Home Page, is a server scripting language designed for producing dynamic web content commonly seen in on-line product catalogues. Written in the C programming language by Danish / Greenlandic programmer Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994, Lerdorf created PHP for the Internet community allowing others to shape its growth and success. Due to its open source availability and suitability for web development, not to mention that it can be embedded directly into HTML code, PHP quickly evolved to global usage. Now in its fifth release and soon to be sixth, PHP has risen in popularity exponentially and is used by developers that prefer not to pay a licensing fee for their dynamic content.