Do PHP projects need a build file?

I spent this semester building a project (though to be honest, it’s more of a buggy prototype) with PHP and MySQL. Since is for a class, we have to submit a paper describing the “dependencies” of the project. One of the questions I have to answer is “How does the user build (e.g., compile, link) your product? Describe how to use any build scripts you provide.”

It’s been a couple days since I’ve agonized over this question…
My research tells me that PHP is an interpreted language and does not need to be compiled, so I do not provide any separate build files. So instead for this question, I’ve described how to run my project on any computer provided XAMPP has been downloaded.

So my question is: is that what is meant by “build”? Is “build” just the same as “run”? Is anyone more familiar with the term pretty sure that I’ve missed the point?


Well, that is a loaded question. What it means in the real professional world is what the install package is about. This means in terms of dependencies, what outside libraries you might need. Let’s say your project creates a PDF file, you use some sort of PDF library to create it. If your project is 100% self-contained, it has no dependencies. Sometime dependencies include disk storage of files or the project itself.

But, it most likely means what version of Apache or PHP is needed. If you set up your project to run on PHP 7.0, it may not run correctly on PHP 8.0. I am taking a guess that the teacher wants to know what the system needs.

And, yes, you are correct, PHP is an interpreted language. But, it has many levels and it runs on an Apache server, but, is emulated on Xamp and Wampp apps. Often it is best just to ask the teacher. They should like questions if they are not very basic ones. Good luck.

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Oh man, I wish I could just ask the teacher :sob: It’s Thanksgiving Break so they won’t respond, and this is literally due the Sunday before school even starts back up again.

But thank you for your response – at the very least I now know to include the versions of each tool I’m using.

Well, most teachers would respond to a short email. As far as the ones I know of.
But, put as much info about your tools in and hope that is enough. Good luck.

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I would classify the dependencies as the Web server, MySQL/ MariaDB installed, and PHP version whatever.

Other than that, do you actually have dependencies on something else?

Other than the languages I used, nope, no other dependencies.
My main question wasn’t really about the dependencies though, but about how to answer the question “How does the user build (e.g., compile, link) your product? Describe how to use any build scripts you provide.” I had decided to just say that it doesn’t need to be built and provide steps on how to run the program given all the source code.

I think in my current context, I would say this is a SaaS product; therefore it does not need to be built, compiled, or installed by a User.

Yep, that sounds about right – it can simply be accessed through the appropriate link on the student development server for now.

Out of curiosity though (and pure ignorance), what types of products require a build file?

Distributed systems, anything compiled, like a war or jar packages.

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