Development Playground :: XAMPP

by derek on July 27, 2007 · 17 comments

XAMPP

What process do you use to test changes to your blog?
Some of you may have a separate install of WordPress on your host that you use as a sandbox area while others may make tweaks to your live site and hope for the best.
I’ve been making some changes to my site and working on a custom theme but I have been using a tool called XAMPP. Have you ever heard of XAMPP?
What is XAMPP?
XAMPP is an Apache web server that contains MySQL, PHP and Perl all packaged together in one tidy little package. XAMPP is very easy to install and there are currently four different distributions:

Why use XAMPP?
The main reason to use XAMPP is that it allows you an easy way to create a development environment for your web applications that does not require you to be online.
When I started to test changes to my theme and header, I simply grabbed a current backup of my files and exported the MySQL database from my hosting account to my local installation of XAMPP. Now I can install new themes, edit files or do just about anything without impacting my live site. Once I am satisfied with any changes, I can deploy the updates to my live site.

Sample Redesign

The snapshot above is one of the themes that I was experimenting with to see how I liked the look. Using XAMPP, I can work completely offline and not worry about disrupting the live site.
How about another great reason to use XAMPP?
For anyone that is nervous about running WordPress upgrades, XAMPP can provide some peace of mind as you can test the upgrade on a clone of your live site to make sure everything works properly.
Build Your Own Sandbox
I highly recommend XAMPP and think it is a great solution for developing and testing your web applications. One word of caution would be that XAMPP’s default configuration has all of the options turned on, which is not the most secure way to run your installation of XAMPP.
While the security is not a concern for a development machine, many of us are connected to a high-speed Interweb connection and even with a firewall and/or router you will want to lock things down a little more. To do this, you need to run the XAMPP Security Console and assign passwords as they are blank by default and open to the network.
XAMPP is a very valuable tool to use for testing and working on new designs. While I have only used and tested the Windows distribution, it is very easy to install and have your new sandbox ready for use.
Give XAMPP a try and let me know what you think.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Gray July 27, 2007 at 7:04 pm

I wish I would of went with a package deal like XAMPP for my local development environment…I ended up going with a manual WAMP setup at home…and let me tell you it was quite a pain getting everything setup and talking. Thanks for the tip Derek, I am sure many bloggers will find this tip useful!

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ryan July 27, 2007 at 7:30 pm

Yep, I use XAMPP all the time. Very simple to understand.

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Blogging Money Online July 27, 2007 at 9:37 pm

Thanks for writing about this, I have been wondering if there was something like this out there which didn’t require the internet. Will definitely give it a shot…

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Brown Baron July 28, 2007 at 2:22 am

I’ve been using XAMPP for quite a while now. It’s one of my can’t-live-without apps. Great post as usual buddy 🙂

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derek July 28, 2007 at 5:14 am

@Chris :: Yeah, the XAMPP install is so much easier and can be up and running in just a few minutes.
@BMO :: You’re welcome! I hope you are able to give XAMPP a try and that you like it as much as I do. I spent quite a bit of time today using my XAMPP install as I was tinkering with a new theme.
@Brown Baron :: Thanks! It had been awhile since I really used XAMPP but it got a workout today! 🙂

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Ms. Latina Renee July 29, 2007 at 2:46 am

This is a very useful post. I may give it a try on my Relationships blog. 🙂
I love the current design of the page but its grayed out. Have you ever experienced this?

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Rose July 29, 2007 at 1:43 pm

Never heard of it. It looks like a very useful tool.

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derek July 29, 2007 at 9:43 pm

If you like making changes to your site or testing out new plugins, themes, etc. then I think this tool is essential. It is very easy to use and prevents you from making a mistake on your live site.

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Saman Sadeghi July 31, 2007 at 1:17 pm

Very interesting! I have a separate install that I use for a sandbox but this seems like a better idea – Thanks for the info!
You’ve been Stumbled!

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derek July 31, 2007 at 4:47 pm

Thanks for the Stumble! I think you will really like XAMPP if you give it a try as it is so easy to use and really makes for a great offline development environment of your site.
One bit of advice, you will need to go into the admin panel and update your site links to point to your localhost, otherwise all of your admin links will redirect you to your live site.

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Chris Gray July 31, 2007 at 5:27 pm

While I’m not using XAMPP, this same scenario happened to me at home on my development server. I ended changing my live blog links and deactivating all of my plug-ins (thinking I was on my “test” site). Took almost a day for my host to grant me phpMyAdmin access to go in and fix it.

derek July 31, 2007 at 5:55 pm

Lol, when I first installed XAMPP for use on my personal finance site I had made a few updates to the live site before I noticed what I was doing.
You do have to be careful when you first start using this or any similar tool.

Saman Sadeghi July 31, 2007 at 11:54 pm

Oh – that’s a good tip!

johnrobin March 18, 2008 at 11:50 am

I used XAMPP but seems have troubles while I was using it. It seemed because I used to use Appserve for localhost web server.

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Jayendra kumar August 14, 2009 at 2:23 pm

I am using Xamp Web Server. Your information will be beneficial for me. Thanks
.-= Jayendra kumar´s last blog .. =-.

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