Posted by: lrrp | January 2, 2007

Configuring Your Home Computer to Run Apache Server, PHP, MySQL, ColdFusion, and IIS

Configuring Your Home Computer to Run Apache Server, PHP, MySQL, ColdFusion, and IIS

This tutorial for installing WAMP Server (Apache, PHP, MySQL, and phpMyAdmin) was written for the students in the Web Page Design program at the Contra Costa ROP. This tutorial will cover basic server installation for web development testing purposes on your home computer. This tutorial will not cover all of the necessary security settings used to create a public web server.

We currently use three texts for web database development:

Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 – ISBN 0-619-21420-1 – Covers Dreamweaver from the ground up. This text also includes an introduction to web database development using PHP/MySQL and ASP/Access. This book is required for all students in the program.

Dreamweaver MX 2004 with ASP, Coldfusion, and PHP – ISBN 0-321-24157-6 – Covers some basic Dreamweaver functions, but the reader should have some prior experience using Dreamweaver to fully comprehend the text. Students can learn the basics of three different scripting languages, PHP/MySQL, ASP/Access, and Coldfusion/Access, by completing this book. Elective course.

Sams Teach Yourself PHP, MySQL, and Apache – ISBN 0-672-32489-X – For students who would like to learn how to hand-code PHP/MySQL applications. Elective course.
Definition of Terms

PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor is a scripting language that is embedded in HTML. PHP scripting code is frequently used to connect web pages to MySQL databases to create dynamic web sites. Some popular examples of PHP driven web sites would be blogs, message boards, and Wikis. PHP files are actually plain text files; they can be created in TextPad or any other Plain Text Editor. In a text editor set the Save As type to text and save the file with a .php extension. Note: You must type the .php yourself. PHP files can also be created with Dreamweaver MX 2004. PHP is “open source” and therefore free. We use the Apache Server to work with PHP files in the classroom.

MySQL is a relational database system. MySQL uses “Structured Query Language” which is the most common database language. It is the most popular “open source” database in the World. MySQL content can be managed via a command line or a web interface. MySQL is “open source” and therefore free. We use the Apache Server to work with MySQL files in the classroom.

Coldfusion is another scripting language used to connect to databases. It performs essentially the same functions as PHP, but it is produced by Macromedia. There is a free developer edition of Coldfusion available on Macromedia’s web site. We use the Apache Server to work with Coldfusion files in the classroom.

phpMyAdmin is a popular PHP driven web interface that allows you to manage your MySQL database content via a web form. It is much easier to learn to use phpMyAdmin to manage your MySQL database content than it is to edit it from the command line. phpMyAdmin is “open source” and therefore free.

Apache is a popular web server that many ISP’s and individuals use to host web pages. When you install Apache on your system your machine becomes a web server. Pages stored on your system in a “special folder” are accessible on the Internet via the machine’s IP address. In order for pages to be viewed on the Internet, the files must be stored in a special directory; this directory is usually called htdocs, public_html, or www. If you use a web host, you probably upload your files to a directory with one of these names. If someone else wants to access your web pages, they must know the IP Address of your machine, i.e., 179.199.9.100. Apache is “open source” and therefore free.

IIS or Internet Information Server is Microsoft’s web server. It performs the same functions as Apache and is used with ASP and Access files primarily, but it can also run PHP and MySQL. It can be installed on Windows based machines (Windows 2000, Windows XP, etc.). IIS is available on the Windows installation CD. Typically you will install Apache or IIS; both servers services should not be running on your machine at the same time. IIS is needed to run ASP/Access applications.

Windows Services are used to run these servers and modules. Once services are installed they can be started and stopped via Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools (switch to classic view if you do not see the Administrative tools) > Services. These Services can be configured to automatically start or to be started manually. The Apache Service and the IIS service should not run at the same time. This will be discussed in more detail later in the tutorial.
PHP and Coldfusion Testing Requirements

In order to test PHP and Coldfusion pages you must have Apache, MySQL, and the PHP and/or Coldfusion module installed on your own computer or have a host that supports PHP or Coldfusion. You can use your f2o.org account, but it is much easier to test your PHP pages on your local machine. If you do not have these modules installed, you would have to upload your PHP pages to your ISP to view them. The beauty of Apache, MySQL, and PHP is that they’re free. If you are working in the classroom and you are creating PHP web pages, you must start the Apache Web Server at the beginning of class each day.

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