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Because WordPress is an application that relies on PHP and MySQL, you'll need to setup a local development environment to work with it. While going through all of the steps to create such development environment is beyond the scope of this course, I am going to lay out the requirements and give you some pointers, including one to a freely available lynda.com course. For WordPress to run, you'll need the following setup, whether on your hosted site or on your local system. You'll need a web server, like Apache or Microsoft's Internet Information Server, known as IIS.
You'll also need a PHP server with a version of 5.2.4 or higher. Finally, you'll need a MySQL server, version 5.0 or higher. That will cover you if you're using any of the more recent WordPress versions 3.2 and up. If you're working on a legacy site that uses WordPress 3.1, you can use a PHP server version, 4.3 or higher, and a MySQL server version, 4.1.2 or higher.
You'll still need a web server in either case. Make sure that your web site host meets these requirements before you embark on using WordPress for a site. You'll find that most do. Should you need to set up a local development environment, there are several options. You can install the components--the web server, PHP, and MySQL--separately, or you can opt to install one of the several bundled systems that are available. Here are three that work quite well. WampServer for Windows is available in both a 32- and a 64-bit version. We'll be using the 64-bit version of WAMP server during this course.
For Mac OS X you can use MAMP. When you go to the MAMP homepage, you'll see that there are two versions: a standard and a pro version available. For most development work, you really only need the standard version. Finally, if you want to use one bundled server system for both Windows and Mac and you're working with a Windows 32-bit system, there is XAMPP. Now all of the bundled systems come with PHPmyAdmin installed to use as a database manager. If you're installing the components separately, I highly recommend that you also opt to include PHPmyAdmin or some similar database manager.
For a detailed explanation of how you setup your local development environment, see the freely available course by David Gassner, Installing Apache MySQL and PHP, found in the lynda.com Online Training Library. Next, you'll need to setup WordPress locally. For a detailed explanation, see my course Dreamweaver and WordPress: Core Concepts. As an overview, here's what you'll need to do. First, create a database in MySQL with PHPmyAdmin or a similar application.
Then copy your WordPress files to a new folder in your web root. The web root varies according to the type of server installation package. Here with WAMP, the web root will be in C:\wamp\www. With MAMP, M-A-M-P, on the Mac, it's in the MAMP Application htdocs folder. Then after you've copied those files into the web root, open up a browser and go to localhost, whatever the folder name is.
There you'll see the start of the WordPress installation with the query, Should we create a configuration file? Click Yes and you're off to the races. You'll need to enter in your database name, the server name--which is often localhost, but not always--and your username and password if any for your database. The final step is to create your Dreamweaver environment. In Dreamweaver, you'll need to set up a Dreamweaver site pointing to the same folder that you've set up in your local web server root. You will also need to create a new testing server in Dreamweaver.
Make sure you connect using the Local/Network settings, point to that same site folder, and on the Advanced tab select PHP MySQL as a server model. Make sure that you check the Testing server checkbox in the Server list. That can be somewhat of a gotcha, because Dreamweaver by default will select remote server for you. Make sure you make that switch to the testing server. Once your local development environment is established, you'll be able to create and develop WordPress sites, as well as work with PHP and MySQL separately in Dreamweaver.
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