Learning PHP wouldn’t be that difficult for beginners, if they have some prior exposure to other programming languages like C, C++ or Java. Most of the coding paradigms like conditional structures. Loop blocks are very similar to that of other high level languages. PHP runs with most of the webservers and run in many top operating systems.
Ever since PHP is projected as a main stream programming language, it has been considered mainly for developing dynamic web pages. Apart from web applications, PHP is a strong contender for developing standalone applications also. PHP-GTK is a combination of PHP with Gimp Tool Kit (GTK) framework that enables development of standalone UI applications without the need of any webserver. Even more interesting, PHP scripts can also be used for embedded applications development. Unbelievable!, have a look here.
Recent releases of PHP also include support for object oriented programming. PHP provides many inbuilt libraries as reuse components and new libraries are imported easily. These libraries improve the robustness and flexibility of the language. This enables new developers to focus on the application logic rather than worrying about the functionalities. Having good knowledge of the available libraries enables rapid development of applications.