The PHP manual is provided in several formats. These formats can be divided
into two groups: online readable formats, and downloadable packages.
Some publishers have made available printed versions of this manual. We
cannot recommend any of those, as they tend to become out-of-date very
You can read the manual online at /
and on the numerous mirror sites. For best performance, you should choose
the mirror site closest to you. You can view the manual in either its plain
(print-friendly) HTML format or an HTML format that integrates the manual
into the look and feel of the PHP website itself.
An advantage of the online manual over most of the offline formats is the
integration of user-contributed
notes. An obvious disadvantage is that you have to be online to view
the manual in the online formats.
There are several offline formats of the manual, and the most appropriate
format for you depends on what operating system you use and your personal
reading style. For information on how the manual is generated in so many
formats, read the 'How we generate the
formats' section of this appendix.
The most cross-platform formats of the manual are the HTML and plain-text
versions. The HTML format is provided both as a single HTML file and as
a package of individual files for each section (which results in a
collection of several thousand files). The HTML and plaintext formats are
provided as tar files compressed using the bzip2 archiver.
Another popular cross-platform format, and the format most suited to
printing, is PDF (also known as Adobe Acrobat). But before you rush to
download this format and hit the Print button, be warned that the manual is
nearly 2000 pages long, and constantly being revised.
If you do not already have a program capable of viewing PDF format
files, you may need to download Adobe
For owners of Palm-compatible handhelds, the Palm document and iSilo
formats are ideal for this platform. You can bring your handheld with you
on your daily commute and use a DOC
or iSilo reader to brush up on your
PHP knowledge, or just use it as a quick reference.
For Windows platforms, the Windows HTML Help version of the manual soups up
the HTML format for use with the Windows HTML Help application. This
version provides full-text search, a full index, and bookmarking. Many
popular Windows PHP development environments also integrate with this
version of the documentation to provide easy access.