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Wicked Cool PHP by Brian Ward, William Steinmetz

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#18: Adding Extensions to PHP

If you're a serious developer, eventually you'll hit the limits of a stock PHP build. Although PHP has plenty of built-in capability, it does not have native encryption, graphics, a convenient way to access other web pages, or XML data access functions.

The way PHP accomplishes these tasks is through a number of extensions that employ third-party libraries to do the hard work. Some of the handier extensions are as follows.

cURL

cURL allows your PHP server to access other websites, sending and receiving information via a URL-like protocol. (You'll most commonly use HTTP, which lets you talk to other web pages, and FTP, which allows you to upload and download files.) In practical terms, this means you can have your server ...

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