PHP Includes 101 - Basic Introduction

PHP includes can save webmasters literally hundreds of hours coding and recoding every time they need to make a simple change to a sites, some of which can have hundreds of pages!

For simplicity sake, lets say you have a website with 10 or so pages, and you want to update the navigation. You don't want the hassle of updating every single page. That's where includes come in handy.

Your basic include will look like this.

<?php include ( 'includes/navigation.php' ); ?>

That's it! What I typically do is design a page as usual, then begin breaking sections up into includes. To use this effectively:



1.  Find sections or tables that will repeat throughout the site.
2.  Cut the section of code out and paste it into another file.
3.  Save this file into an includes folder.
4.  Where the original section was, insert your PHP include code, referencing the  

     file name.

Let's say I want to use the highlighted code on multiple pages.

<table>
<tr>
<td>
This table will be on every page.
</td>
</tr>
</table>
<table>
<tr>
<td>
This is some other content.
</td>
</tr>
</table>

I'll include it like this.

<?php include ( 'includes/table.php' ); ?>
<table>
<tr>
<td>
This is some other content.
</td>
</tr>
</table>

Now if I change table.php later, it will change on every page automatically. It's just like using image tags, but instead of image files, you are including pieces of html. This can save you hours and hours.