August 19, 2005

Get up and running quickly with EasyPHP

Author: Chris Lynch

LAMP installations (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) are a staple of many intranet and Internet open source applications. The "L" component in LAMP is perhaps less important than the other components, since many LAMP applications will run just as happily on a Windows platform as they will on Linux. Consider, for instance, EasyPHP, an "out of the box" Apache, MySQL, and PHP installation for Windows.

EasyPHP's latest version, version 1.8, contains:

A wizard-based Windows installer makes installation extremely easy. The program places an icon in your system tray from which you can call the EasyPHP control panel, which shows you the status of your services (Apache and MySQL) and allows you to stop, start, and configure these services. If you're running Internet Information Server on a Windows machine, your Apache installation will fail to start up because IIS already has port 80 tied up. You'll need to reconfigure either IIS or Apache to use a different port, or just shut down IIS. (I prefer to shut down IIS and just run Apache.)

You configure Apache, PHP, and MySQL by editing the standard configuration files. EasyPHP does not make configuring these services any easier than normal, although it does provide quick links to the configuration file themselves. The default configuration adequately ran TikiWiki, Wordpress, BitWeaver, and PHPBB for me.

EasyPHP also installs PHPMyAdmin to help you configure and control your system. This popular MySQL admin tool allows you to perform all the basic database administration tasks required to set up applications using your new AMP installation, though you'll still need MySQL Admin or a grasp of the MySQL command line tools to create your first database.

Standing between you and PHPMyAdmin, and most of the other tools, however, is one small problem: Most of EasyPHP is written in French. While the developers have done a sterling job at internationalizing the software, there are still areas where non-French speaking users may find themselves in the dark. Given the language barrier, EasyPHP is not yet ready for the corporate desktop.

Ultimately, EasyPHP is not a toolkit to make setting up Apache, PHP, or MySQL easy, but rather to make setting them up fast. Within minutes of installing EasyPHP, you'll be ready to install and configure applications that sit on the (L)AMP platform. If you have a Windows desktop and want to use your favorite (L)AMP package, EasyPHP could be the quick fix tool that you are looking for.


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