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Once you've installed XAMPP on Windows, you can manage it through the XAMPP Control Panel and through a variety of PHP based applications that you can access through the Control Panel. To get to the main homepage, click the Admin button next to Apache. That will take you to a page that has a number of links to various administrative apps. For example, the phpinfo link takes you to a simple PHP page nested within the homepage that reports your PHP configuration. Similarly, under the Tools section of the menu, you can click on phpMyAdmin.
That takes you to the web-based interface where you can create databases and create tables and data. Click the Back button from there to return to the XAMPP homepage. You can also click on pearinfo. PEAR is a package of extensions included with PHP and once again this page simply reports your configuration. There are also some demo apps you can explore. For example the Phone Book is a PHP- based application that incorporates SQLite, a very lightweight SQL database that doesn't need a server.
You can add data through the Phone Book. I'll add John Smith, and give him a fictional phone number, and then click Add, and you'll see that the data is correctly added. You can click Show the source code and you'll be able to explore the PHP page that's executing all of the functionality. So you can use all of these applications to learn a little bit more about PHP. Some of the other tools available here apply to applications that I haven't started yet. For example FileZilla FTP is an FTP server that's included with XAMPP for Windows.
To start it up, go back to the XAMPP Control Panel. You will see FileZilla listed there along with the Mercury email server. Those applications are outside the scope of this course. That is, our focus is on Apache, MySQL, and PHP. But if you need those servers, you have them already as part of your XAMPP installation. Finally, I'll show you a very valuable tool that's included with the XAMPP Control Panel, the Port-Check tool. When you click Port-Check, the XAMPP Control Panel opens a command line window and reports all of the ports that are being used by various server applications.
So for example, it shows that ports 80 and 81 and 443 are being used by Apache, 3306 by MySQL, and all the other ports that are listed here are reserved for these installed applications. But because the applications aren't currently running, they're reported as free at the moment. You can use this tool to diagnose port conflicts. That is, when you have more than one server application that are trying to listen on the same port. After exploring the list of ports, press Enter to continue and close that window.
Finally, a few more things about the XAMPP Control Panel application. if you try to close the Control Panel application by clicking the X in the upper-right corner, it actually just minimizes the application. It doesn't really close it. To return to the application, go to your system tray and you'll find the system tray icon for XAMPP listed there. Click and it reopens the Control Panel application. When you're done with your servers, click the Stop button for both Apache and for MySQL.
Make sure the buttons show the strings Start. That means all of your servers are shut down. Then click Exit and the XAMPP Control Panel will be completely shut down. To return to the XAMPP Control Panel, go to your Start menu, and if you're working in Windows 7 or Windows Vista, you can simply type XAMPP and you'll find the XAMPP Control Panel listed there, and you'll be ready to start over again. So that's a look at some of the administrative options available in XAMPP for Windows. The Windows version of the XAMPP software bundle is completely free and gives you a very easy way to get started with Apache, MySQL, and PHP.
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