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Windows: Install and Configure WAMP for PHP Development

The Apache web server software application, MySQL database, and PHP interpreter are separate modules that work together to allow for testing of a dynamic PHP web site. Windows has none of these modules built-in, and so they must all be installed.

While you could install them separately, it is easiest to download and install them from a single bundled package. There are several companies that build these packages, and so there are certainly a few to choose from: XAMPP, AMPSS, and WampServer being a few popular options.

Today we will be installing WampServer, because it is among the fastest and easiest solutions.

Downloading WampServer

WampServer can be downloaded for free on the company’s web site.

  1. To get to the WampServer web site, go to www.wampserver.com/en in an internet browser.
  2. NOTE: If you didn’t type "/en" at the end of the web address, then you probably landed on the French version of the site. Click "English" in the top-right corner.

    You are now on the WampServer web site.

  3. To see the different available download options, scroll down to the Downloads section.
  4. You should see five different download options (at the time of this article’s publication). To narrow down which options to choose from, first we must know if our installation of Windows is 64-bit or 32-bit.

  5. To check if your installation of Windows is 64-bit or 32-bit, press the Windows key on the keyboard, and type msinfo32, then press enter.
  6. The System Information window should appear. Under "System Type", which is located a few rows from the top, the value should read as either "x64-based PC" or "x86-based PC."

    If you have an x64-based PC, you will choose one of the WampServer downloads that is labeled "64 bits"; with an x86-based PC, go with "32 bits."

    Now we have to choose the version of PHP and Apache, the options being either 5.3 or 5.4, and 2.2 or 2.4, respectively (at the time of this article’s publication). IU’s webserve server, for which different IU organizations and departments are hosted, has PHP version 5.2 installed (as of this article’s publication), and so we will select the 5.3 WampServer option.

  7. To select WampServer with PHP version 5.3, click either "WAMPSERVER (64 BITS…" or "WAMPSERVER (32 BITS…" depending on if you have an x64-based PC or x86-based PC, as described above.
  8. You should see a "Download WampServer" pop-up warning you that you must have the appropriate Visual C++ package installed on your computer in order for WampServer to work. You may or may not already have this installed.

    In order to verify this information, we can download and run the installer from the link provided.

    WampServer download warning pop-up

  9. To go to the Visual C++ download page, click either the x86 or x64 link, corresponding with your version of Windows.
  10. You should now be on Microsoft’s official download page for this package.

  11. In order to download the Visual C++ installer, click "DOWNLOAD."
  12. The file should begin downloading automatically.

  13. Once the file is downloaded, run the installer.
  14. The installer window should appear. If it is prompting you to either "Repair" or "Remove" Visual C++, then that means that you already have it installed, and you can just simply cancel out the window. Otherwise, go ahead and go through the install wizard, clicking "Next" at each page.

    We are now ensured that Visual C++ is installed, and so we can proceed with downloading WampServer.

  15. Go back to the WampServer page by clicking back on the browser window twice, and if necessary, click on the appropriate WampServer download link again.
  16. The warning pop-up should re-appear.

  17. To go to the WampServer download page, this time click the "you can download it directly" link on the "Download Wampserver" pop-up, shown in the image above.
  18. You will be taken to a page that may have a short countdown timer before your download automatically begins.

  19. Once the WampServer installer file downloads, run it.
  20. The installation wizard should open.

    WampServer installer wizard first page

    The window indicates what version of Apache, MySQL, and PHP will be installed, as well as a few other various applications that may assist you in your future web development.

    We will continue through the installation wizard.

  21. Click "Next" past this wizard’s start page, and license agreement page.
  22. You should now be on a page which allows you to select where WampServer will be installed. This is important. This directory will serve as the primary default location for your web sites. Thus, prevent hurdles to jump over in the future, you should choose a convenient location on one of your storage drive to hold your web files.

    NOTE: Make sure there are no spaces in any of the directories in the path you choose.

  23. Once you have chosen a path, click "Next." Check whether or not you want a "Quick Launch" or Desktop icon, and click "Next," and then click "Install."
  24. WampServer will now install. After it finishes, the installer will ask which web browser you want WampServer to default to. This choice dictates which browser opens when you tab through WampServer’s configuration options in the future.

    Keep in mind that whatever you choose here will not affect which browser can test your web site. You will be able to use whatever browser you like, no matter what you choose.

    The default option is Internet Explorer.

  25. Either simply click "Open" to accept the default browser (Internet Explorer), or locate the executable file for a different browser, and click "Open."
  26. WampServer will now ask you about the default PHP email. This allows you to set up which email address is used for various PHP tasks, for example, where a contact form hosted on your web site will be sent. However, in order for this to work, you’ll have to have an email server installed, which neither Windows nor WampServer comes with, or be using an email service that has one available.

    We will be skipping this today, as it is unnecessary to start testing PHP sites.

  27. To finish the installer and launch WampServer, click "Next," and click "Finish," keeping the "Launch WampServer…" checkbox selected.

WampServer should now be running.

Using WampServer to test a PHP site

If all went well, WampServer should be running. In order to verify this, look for a little WampServer ‘W‘ icon on your Windows taskbar on the right.

'w' icon for WampServer in taskbar.

This icon may appear either green, red, or orange. Green indicates that the server is online. Red indicates that the server is not online. Orange means that the server is online, but there is a problem keeping it from running any sites. If you ever get the orange icon, it is very likely a "port" issue.

NOTE: WampServer uses "port 80" by default in order to connect. So does Skype. If Skype is running, then you will likely run into this orange icon problem. The easy solution is to quit Skype, "Restart All Services" in the WampServer menu, and re-launch Skype, if desired. You can disable Skype from using port 80 by default in the Skype options.

Let’s test WampServer now. First we will activate WampServer’s menu.

  1. To open WampServer’s menu, click the ‘W‘ icon in the taskbar.
  2. A fly-out menu should appear.

    Fly-out menu for WampServer from taskbar icon.

    At the bottom of the menu, you should see "Start All Services," "Stop All Services," and "Restart All Services." If the server is offline (red ‘W’ icon), you can click "Start All Services." to bring WampServer online, making the taskbar icon go green.

    NOTE: If you make any changes to any configuration files associated with PHP, Apache, MySQL, or any other modules or plugins, you will have to click "Restart All Services" in order for the changes to take effect.

  3. To test if WampServer is working, click "Localhost" at the top of the WampServer menu.
  4. The default internet browser you chose earlier should launch or open a new tab, with the address being "localhost." localhost is the default alias for the root of the local server that WampServer is hosting. If all went well, you should see something like this:

    Successful localhost WampServer page.

    If your browser displays something like what the image above shows, then congratulations, WampServer is running successfully, and you can now start creating and editing PHP sites.

    NOTE: If the browser throws an error saying that it cannot find the resource, make sure that WampServer is running. Click "Start All Services" to make sure.

    If the browser says something else, like “forbidden”, then it’s possible that it is an IPv6-related issue. Try the WampServer localhost actual address, "127.0.0.1" in the address bar of the web browser instead, as a simple solution.

    Now that we have verified that WampServer is up and running, let’s create a test PHP document.

  5. Open Notepad, or other text editor of your choosing.
  6. In the text editor, type <?php phpinfo(); ?>
  7. To save this as a PHP file, click File, click Save As…
  8. The root directory where localhost is pointing is in the "www" directory of WampServer’s install location. We will now create a new sub directory within that root, and save our file there.

  9. Navigate to the directory you installed WampServer (default is C:\wamp), double-click the www directory. Click "New folder" and name it "testsite."
  10. To save our file, in the "File name" field, type " index.php, and click "Save."
  11. We now have a php file in a sub-directory of our root called index.php. Let’s test it in a browser.

  12. To test the newly-created PHP file, in a web browser, go to the address: "localhost/testsite"
  13. The browser should now execute the phpinfo() function you wrote, and display the configuration of Apache, MySQL, and PHP, that WampServer has set up.

    NOTE: You didn’t have to type index.php into the address because that file name is configured as a "default" home page file name.

Congratulations, you are now ready to start testing your own PHP web sites! Remember to create a different sub-folder of the www directory to serve as the root for any web site you wish to create or work on. For example, you would create a PHPBA folder within WampServer’s www folder to serve as the root directory for the PHP: The Basics class.

Good luck with your PHP sites!

PHP Workshops: Install and Use PHP Locally

To develop database-driven PHP applications, we need three things, the Apache web server, the PHP processor, and MySQL. This tutorial will walk you through all of the installation and setup that you need to do on your own machine to have a local instance of a Apache/MySQL/PHP (AMP) environment.

The instructions below will walk you through the setup you need for each of our PHP workshops, starting with PHP: The Basics.

At the time of writing, PHP: The Basics is the only PHP workshop offered by IT Training.

PHP: The Basics

The following links contain step-by-step instructions on configuring XAMP for the PHP: The Basics workshop.

Windows 7: The Least You Should Know About Keyboard Shortcuts

Are you stuck in a world dominated by a mouse and clicking around a screen? Have you ever wanted to be more of a “Keyboard Junkie?”

Today, I’m going to introduce you to several keyboard shortcuts that will make your life easier while working in Windows. These keyboard shortcuts are tricks that I have been trying to pass along to participants in my workshops over the years, but now they’re written down in one place for easy reference.

I’m not going to be discussing specific applications, but rather universal shortcuts. I’ve also included some web browser short cuts toward the end that will make your life easier.

Let’s start by taking a tour of the common keys that will be used throughout this post:

Labeled Keyboard

Above, you’ll see several keys pointed out and numbered. The numbers correspond with the list below.

  1. Escape (Esc)
  2. Function Keys (F#)
  3. Tab
  4. Control (Ctrl)
  5. Windows Key (Win)
  6. Alt
  7. Home Group
  8. Arrow Keys
  9. Option Menu
  10. Shift

The only keys that are discussed in this post that are not labeled on the above image are the letter keys.

Read the rest of “Windows 7: The Least You Should Know About Keyboard Shortcuts” »

Windows 7: How to Invert Your Mouse’s Scroll Wheel

In the last year or so, I’ve become increasingly dependent on my tablet for day-to-day computing. I’m finding that I rarely need a full desktop computer, but when I’m in the office, that’s what’s most convenient. Everywhere else, however, I have my tablet in my bag and can pull it out for anything from taking notes in a meeting, to grocery shopping, to entertaining myself or friends, to writing, email, and reading. One of the design philosophies in tablet OS design deals with scrolling the content instead of scrolling the viewport. What I mean is this, if I want to scroll down a page on my tablet (or phone), I push the page upwards, I don’t drag the device’s screen down.

If you were to put your hand on your screen, grab the document/page/file you’re viewing, and try to push it down to see the content below. It simply won’t work.

Here’s a more real-world example: Imagine that you can’t move your eyes; they are permanently fixed viewing a specific location on your desk. When you grab a piece of paper on your desk and move your hand downward, the page moves down, changing your focus to an area higher up on the page. If you move the page up, your focus changes to a location further down the page.

This is how tablet scrolling is designed.

This is something that I’ve found myself having trouble with lately on my desktop computer. I browse to a web page, open an email, edit a document, and I find myself pushing my mouse wheel upwards to scroll down a page rather than rolling it downward. Apple’s Mac OS X Lion has inverted the scroll direction, making for a more uniform experience across a myriad of different devices.

I began thinking, “I wonder if I can do that with my Windows 7 machine in the office.” Turns out, it can be done, and it takes changing a registry value in several places.

Here’s how I did it:

Read the rest of “Windows 7: How to Invert Your Mouse’s Scroll Wheel” »

How to Uninstall Internet Explorer 9

Over the past several months I have been attempting to use Internet Explorer 9. Even though I have read about its strengths (hardware acceleration, security enhancements, option to pin favorites to the Windows 7 taskbar, etc.), I have not been pleased. While I haven’t done a great deal of trouble-shooting to try and figure out why it is not working well for me, this newest version of Microsoft’s web browser freezes up, doesn’t display content, and frequently displays pop-up messages informing me that it is opening web pages in compatibility mode.

A few days ago, I decided that this was simply too annoying to deal with any longer. I deleted IE9 and restored IE8 on my computer.

Are you in the same boat but don’t know how to go back to a previous version of Internet Explorer? If so, and you are working on a PC that is running Windows 7, you can follow the directions below:
Read the rest of “How to Uninstall Internet Explorer 9″ »

Changing Ruler Units from Inches to Centimeters in PowerPoint 2010

By default, the rulers in PowerPoint display measurement in inches. The same is true of the other Microsoft Office applications. If you prefer to view and work with metric units, this setting can be changed from within Microsoft Word and Excel (via Options > Advanced > Display) but not from within PowerPoint.

Read the rest of “Changing Ruler Units from Inches to Centimeters in PowerPoint 2010″ »

Not Another Java Update??!

Every time my friend turns on her laptop, she is prompted to update Java. I have heard her complain about this for months now, and I decided it was time to address this issue.    
     Lots of coffee cups in front of the computer

Read the rest of “Not Another Java Update??!” »

Troubleshooting Hard Drive Problems

Error talk

Uh-oh, the notorious “Windows detected a hard disk problem” error. What now? This article will show you steps you can take to make a proper decision about the problem. These steps can be taken for almost any suspected hard disk problem whether or not you’ve gotten this error.

Windows detected a hard disk problem

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How to upgrade your operating system – in cartoon format

From: http://www.basicinstructions.net/?p=1301

By Scott Meyer

By Scott Meyer

Getting Ready for Windows 7

Note: Windows 7 has been released to IU students faculty and staff earlier than anticipated.  This article has been updated to reflect the new information.

Windows 7 is now available to IU students, faculty and staff, so it’s a good time to think about whether or not you will want to upgrade, and start taking steps to prepare for the upgrade.

In this post, we’ll examine some resources you can use to help make your decision, and try to answer some common questions that might arise.

How to get Windows 7

At IU, you can go to any IU Bookstore to purchase the Ultimate edition for $20.  As of now, only the Ultimate edition will be available, but both 32-bit and 64-bit versions will be available.

32-bit or 64-bit?

The difference between the 32-bit and 64-bit versions will not be apparent just by using the operating system.  From the end-users perspective, they are identical.  However, the 64-bit version of the OS allows Windows to use greater amounts of memory.  A 64-bit operating system requires a 64-bit compatible processor.  If your computer was built in the last 3 years, it is likely capable of using a 64-bit operating system, but check with your computers manufacturer to be certain.

32-bit operating systems have been the default version for a long time, and if you purchased a computer more than a year ago, it likely had a 32-bit OS installed.  The monikers ’32-bit’ and ’64-bit’ refers to the size of the numbers your computer can keep track of.  For lack of a better analogy, it determines how high your computer can count.  With 32-bit addressing, the computer can count as high as 232. For a long time, this was sufficient for computers.  However, as memory requirements get larger, computers have run into a limit.  Your 32-bit computer can only keep track of about 4GB worth of memory, and because of other limitations, even if you have 4GB of RAM in your 32-bit machine, it is probably only utilizing about 3.5 GB.

Should I move to 64-bit?

If you plan on adding 4GB of RAM to your system, then moving to a 64-bit OS would be a good idea.  However, you cannot simply upgrade your OS from 32-bit to 64-bit.  You must do a completely clean installation, which requires some planning and forethought, not to mention time.

Computers that can have more than 4GB of RAM installed in the system are just starting to become common, so if your computer is more than a year old, it is likely it is not possible to install more than 4GB of RAM because of various technical limitations.  Still, you will likely see a performance boost by moving from a 32-bit to a 64-bit operating system.

Be aware that you will need new drivers for your hardware that are specifically written for a 64-bit operating system, but these are fairly common, and shouldn’t be hard to find.  You might also notice that some software manufacturers release ’64-bit’ versions of their applications.  Most of the time, you can still use the 32-bit version, as the OS will be backwards compatible, but after moving to 64-bit, you should choose the 64-bit version of software when applicable.

The bottom line: If you are upgrading and doing a clean install anyway, there’s no compelling reason not to move to 64-bit if your hardware can handle it.  However, moving to 64-bit should probably not be your only reason for upgrading.

For more information on 32-bit vs. 64-bit, including ways to tell if your machine can run a 64-bit OS, see this help article from Microsoft.

Preparing for Windows 7

Now that we understand how to get the software, and which version to get, let’s talk about preparing your system for Windows 7.

Read the rest of “Getting Ready for Windows 7″ »

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