Are you local(host)?

As most of you who read this site will know, I’m planning a redesign for this site. As most of you know know me will have probably guessed, I haven’t got very far. I have, however, managed to copy this site over to my local machine, database and all, and get a copy of it up and running so that I can muck around with the layout without disrupting everything for you, the viewing public.

To anyone looking to do the same kind of thing on a Mac, I can heartily recommend XAMPP for Mac OS X: it’s an OS X package containing Apache, MySQL, Perl and PHP. Setting it up is a doddle if you’ve set up an Apache server before and probably not too tricky if you haven’t: the only problem I’ve found with it so far is that it still uses the Apache 1 style of configuration (i.e. all lumped into one big file) rather than the system used in Apache 2 where the configuration is split up into many files, each dealing with their own little bit. That’s pretty minor as quibbles go though.

In conclusion, XAMPP good, Napster bad.

3 Responses to “Are you local(host)?”

    •  Gravatar for Jonty
    • From Jonty
    • Tuesday 26 July 2005 at 23:40

    By coincidence I’ve recently setup the above, excluding Perl, on my Windows XP machine. I have to say that, even without an installer, it was very painless (admittedly I’d done this before so I knew what to expect).

    Apache for Windows comes with a very nice Windows installer which happily handles the basic configuration, with a mere couple of changes being made to the ‘httpd.conf’ file and you’re off. PHP is also very easy to install on Apache, with the documentation detailing exactly what should be added to Apache’s configuration to set things up and running. The only minor problem I encountered was with unfound files, but copying the culprits from the PHP directory to ‘C:\WINDOWS\system32’ does the job. Finally MySQL also comes with a very nice installer (even if finding the ‘essentials’ package is a little hard (~14MB vs 30MB+)). The only problem I encountered is the installer not liking MySQL to be a manual service, but I’ve found installing it as an automatic service and then changing the settings to manual via ‘services.msc’ does the trick. I’ve also installed PHPMyAdmin because it’s a very handy tool and more friendly, in some ways, than some ‘proper’ programs out there (if anyone can suggest a good, free, Windows MySQL utility I’d be grateful, though).

    So, in short, whilst I wouldn’t like to run a server off my XP machine, for developing I can happily report that setting up a manually-launched, service-based Apache/PHP/MySQL test environment in Windows is a doddle :)

    Looking forward to seeing your new site 😀

    •  Gravatar for Ben
    • From Ben
    • Wednesday 27 July 2005 at 09:21

    The new MySQL installer for Windows is outstandingly good (MySQL 4.1). The wizard configuration it now has is excellent. Sadly no mainstream host I’m aware of is using it yet so you have to roll on with the clunky 4.0 installation.

    As for MySQL tools: I’ve taken to using MySQL’s own free suite: MySQL Administrator and Query Browser. They’re both pretty well designed.

    •  Gravatar for Jonty
    • From Jonty
    • Wednesday 27 July 2005 at 14:31

    I agree, Ben, I found the Windows installer very helpful indeed for a n3wb1e such as myself setting things up. As for hosts, Hosting Unlimited, who I and my design clients use, are running MySQL 4.1.13 on all their servers. I’m not too au fait on what each update brings, but it’s nice to know they’re relatively up to date (still no word on PHP 5 support, sadly, but I’m sure it’ll follow in time).

    As for MySQL’s own tools, I’ve never really got to grips with them but they do seem well designed. Perhaps I just need a bit more patience, thanks for the links :)