PHP Variables: The Basics

As a PHP developer, you’ll use variables extensively in your code to store and manipulate data. This article will cover the basics of PHP variables and how you can use them in your projects.

First, let’s define what a variable is. In PHP, a variable is a container that holds a value, which can be a number, a string of text, an array, an object, or any other data type. You can think of a variable as a labeled box that you can put things in and take things out of.

To create a variable in PHP, you start with the $ symbol, followed by the variable’s name. Variable names can consist of letters, numbers, and underscores, but they must start with a letter or underscore. Here’s an example:

$my_variable = "Hello world!";

In this code, we’ve created a variable called $my_variable and assigned it the value "Hello world!", which is a string of text. Notice that we use the = operator to assign a value to the variable.

Once you’ve created a variable, you can access its value by using its name. For example, you can use the echo statement to print the value of the $my_variable variable like this:

Once you’ve created a variable, you can access its value by using its name. For example, you can use the echo statement to print the value of the $my_variable variable like this:

echo $my_variable;

This will output the string "Hello world!" to the screen.

It’s important to note that the value of a variable can change over time. For example, you can update the value of the $my_variable variable like this:

$my_variable = "Goodbye world!";

Now the value of $my_variable is "Goodbye world!" instead of "Hello world!". You can also use variables to perform calculations and other operations. For example, you can use the + operator to add two numbers like this:

$x = 5;
$y = 10;
$z = $x + $y;
echo $z;

In this code, we’ve created three variables: $x, $y, and $z. We’ve assigned the value 5 to $x, the value 10 to $y, and the result of adding $x and $y to $z. When we print the value of $z using the echo statement, it outputs 15.

As you can see, PHP variables are an essential part of the language and are used to store and manipulate data. In the next section, we’ll explore PHP data types and how they can help you work with different kinds of data in your code.