Self-Hosting Web Developers Take Note: XAMPP Is Heaven-Sent

Over the past 5 years or so, a term has arisen in the web-savvy world: LAMP-powered. In the generic case, LAMP stands for “LinuxApacheMySQLPHP (the “P” can also stand for Perl). This combination of operating system, webserver, database and programming language[s] allows for an incredible range of dynamic web content and incredible flexibility for users and developers alike.
Most, if not all of the major Linux distributions make installing and setting up Apache, MySQL and PHP/Perl extremely easy, either at OS install time or at a later date. Those on Macintosh, Solaris or Windows-based systems, however, often have a rougher go of it. It’s often a relatively aggravating task to track down the relevant packages and get everything installed, especially for Mac and Win users (Solaris users can always fall back on SunFreeWare or Blastwave for prefab packages). If you’re looking to host dynamic content on a *AMP/P platform, you’re in for a rough road.
This is where XAMPP comes in. We’ve been over the “AMP/P” portion before, and, as any computer programmer will tell you, “X” tends to make a good stand-in variable in just about any situation. In this case, the X replaces “Mac OSX”, “Windows”, “Solaris” or “Linux” – XAMPP is an Apache/MySQL/PHP/Perl distribution in a single package for each of those OSes. It’s incredibly slick and, in my case, saved me several hours of labor in the past week. I was enlisted to install an AMP setup on one of the Windows machines at my wife’s office in order to allow users in her office to generate reports, catalog information, track inventory, etc. and instead of having to hunt down and configure Windows distributions of each tool, I simply installed one instance of XAMPP. I was up and running within about five minutes.
If you have any interest in serving up dynamic content easily and quickly, with a minimum of administrative and installation hassle, give XAMPP a look. Heck, if you’re tied to Windows but hosting your website on a Linux server, you could even use your ‘Doze box as a testbed for your designs and applications before deploying them to your hosted environment. It almost makes the whole process too easy.
Side note: For those of you looking for a good Windows-based PHP IDE, give Maguma Open Studio a look. They recently open-sourced their project and turned it into a SourceForge project. Hopefully that means that a Linux version is forthcoming, as Open Studio is an excellent IDE for PHP-based projects.

One comment

  1. I have XAMPP installed on both windows (desktop) and linux (laptop) and I love it. I’ve been using it since January when I needed a quick lamp install for a class at school. It’s very easy to use and, like you said, deals with “a minimum of administrative and installation hassle”. Very nice indeed.

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