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The XAMPP software stack includes everything you need to run PHP applications Apache, PHP, and MySQL. And the Windows version includes a lot of other optional software. You can download XAMPP from www.apachefriends.org. The link labeled XAMPP for Windows will download the most recent version, but you can also click the download link at the top and you'll have some choices. As of the time of this recording, there were two versions available, one running PHP 5.4, and one with PHP 5.5.
Notice that they're both 32 bit. They'll run on either 32 or 64 bit Windows. I've already downloaded the installer to my desktop, and I'll start it up now. Make sure to run the installer as administrator, that'll avoid a few problems later on. I'll right-click and choose run as administrator, and then, if you see any user account control dialogues, the publisher should be BitRock Incorporated. If it is, click Yes and continue on through the installation.
Notice that as the installation starts up you see a Bitnami splash screen going by. I'll explain that relationship in a moment. You might see this dialog pop up, too. Claiming that you have an antivirus software package running. If you do, it's recommended that you turn it off during the installation, but you might see this dialog even without an antivirus package. The last time I checked, the URL displayed in this dialog box didn't work, but the information that it provides is available in another place on the Apache Friends website.
I'll go to my browser and click a bookmark I've already set up. And this is in the FAQ page at faq_windows.html under the Apache Friends route. Scroll down and look for a note about antivirus software. It's labelled, how do I configure my antivirus application? You'll find some general information about working with antivirus software, including how to set up exceptions. As you do the installation, if you're using the Windows Firewall, you'll be able to add those exceptions as you install, and as you start up the servers for the first time.
I'll return to the installation and continue by clicking Yes. On this screen, you're told not to install XAMPP in the folder Program Files, x86. You really shouldn't install this software in any folder that has a space in the name. And you'll see during the installation that the default is a folder called C:\XAMPP. I'll click OK, and that takes me to the initial screen. Notice, once again, the Bitnami graphic.
Bitnami is an organization that has its own AMP Stacks that I'll talk about in a later chapter of the course. But Bitnami has an arrangement with the XAMPP folks where Bitnami provides add-on modules. So, if you install XAMPP, you can then go get additional modules from Bitnami for products like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and other popular web applications and add them to your XAMPP install. I'll click next, and on this screen, I'll see all of the different software that's available.
There's an FTP server, a mail server, Tomcat, which is a Java-based server, Webalizer and Fake Sendmail. And I don't need any of those. If all you're doing is very simple PHP development, you can uncheck all of those options. And you might not even need Perl. This will minimize the size of your installation, and speed up the installation process. You'll definitely need Apache and PHP and you might need MySQL, if you don't already have it installed, and you might need PHP MyAdmin, the web application you can use to manage your MySQL server.
I'll click Next, and this tells the installer where to install the XAMPP files. I'll accept the default, C:\XAMPP, and click Next again. And on this screen, I'll uncheck the option to learn more about Bitnami. This would just take you to a web page at the Bitnami site. I'll click Next again, and then finally when I click next this time, I'll start the installation. It'll take a few minutes to copy all of the files over and start up the servers for the first time.
Along the way, as I mentioned, you might see firewall dialogs. If you see a request to set an exception for a firewall, I recommend accepting it, because that's what will allow XAMPP to communicate effectively with the rest of your system and with the outside world. You'll also see a screen that tells you a little bit more about Bitnami for XAMPP, those add-on modules that I mentioned for popular content management systems. Here's an example of the Windows Firewall Security Alert. It's telling me that I need to set up an exception that lets the Apache HTTP server work on this system.
I will click Allow Access, and now Apache can work as designed. When you get to this screen, the installation is complete. I'll leave this option checked to start the control panel, that's the XAMPP control panel not the Windows control panel. The first time you start up the control panel you might see these messages telling you that there are errors trying to start up Apache that port 80 and port 443 are somehow already in use.
Here's how you can fix this very easily. Shut down the XAMPP control panel, now go to Windows Explorer or File Explorer if you're working on Windows 8, and go to the XAMPP installation folder, C:\ XAMPP. Scroll down and locate the Control Panel application, it's named XAMPP-control. If you start it up just by double-clicking you'll once again see those errors. I'll close it, and this time I will right-click on it, and choose run as administrator.
If you see a user account controlled dialog, click Yes. And this time, you should see the messages that Apache is already running on port 80, and port 443. And now you can start up my SQL for the first time. I'll click Start, and, once again, I see a Windows Firewall Security alert. I'll click Allow Access, and now my SQL can do its work on my system. And now both Apache and mySQL are running.
For Apache, you can get to the administrative home page by clicking the Admin button. That'll take you to local host, to the initial page where you select your language. I'll choose English. And from this page, you can click on the link to open PHP MyAdmin. And this should show you the administrative interface for your MySQL server. I'll close that web page and show you a couple of other tools that are available in the XAMPP control panel. This Config button opens a dialog box that let's you manage the behavior of the XAMPP server environment.
For example, you could say that you want Apache and MySQL to start up automatically when you launch the control panel. You can also modify the language you're working in, and with this button labelled, Service and Port Settings, you can change the ports that your Apache and MySQL servers are listening on. I'll close those, the Shell button takes you to a command window, and you'll already be in the XAMPP folder, C:/XAMPP.
The Explorer button takes you to File Explorer and shows you the installation folder for XAMPP, and the services button will take you to the Windows control panel's local services console. I'll close this service in console and return to the XAMPP control panel. Once you are done working with XAMPP, you can leave it by clicking on the quit button or just closing the control panel window. Here are couple of other things to know about the XAMPP installation. The XAMPP folder has an Apache folder, and under that you'll find a conf or configuration folder.
And this is where you'll configure your Apache server. This is the httpd.conf file. Going back to the XAMPP folder, this is the htdocs folder. This is where you would put your HTML and image files and other web assets. And finally, PHP MyAdmin is where the PHP MyAdmin web application is installed. So, that's a look at how to get started with the Windows version of XAMPP. Again, it includes the essentials, Apache, MySQL, and PHP, but also has a lot of optional software that you can either use or ignore.
The most important thing to remember is that when you're opening that control panel especially the first time, open it as administrator. And then both Apache and MySQL should start up as expected.
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