In order to avoid any headaches while going through the case studies in this book, it’s best to install the necessary software and configure your environment the right way from the start. Although we assume you already have some experience developing PHP applications, we’ll quickly go through the steps to install your machine with the necessary software.
The good news is that all the required software is free, powerful, and (finally!) comes with installers that make the programs easy for anyone to set up and configure. The bad news is that there are many possible configurations, so the instructions written might not apply 100% to you (for example, if you are using Windows, you may prefer to use IIS instead of Apache, and so on).
We’ll cover the installation instructions separately for Windows and *nix based machines. We’ll also cover preparing the database that is used in many examples throughout the book; these instructions apply to both Windows and *nix users, so be sure not to miss this section at the end of the appendix.
To build websites with AJAX and PHP you will need (quite unsurprisingly) to install PHP. The preferred version is PHP 5, because we use some of its features in Chapter 11. You also need a web server. We will cover installing Apache, which is the web server preferred by most PHP developers and web hosting companies. Because we’ve tried to make the examples in this book as relevant as possible for real-world scenarios, many of them need a database. We cover installing MySQL, which is the most popular database server in the PHP world. Because we used simple SQL code, you can easily use another database server without major code changes, or older versions of MySQL.
At the end of this chapter, we’ll cover installing phpMyAdmin, which is a very useful web tool for administering your databases. You’ll then learn how to use this tool to create a new database, and then a database user with full privileges to this database.
In the following pages, you’ll learn how to:
Install Apache 2, PHP 5, and MySQL 5 on your Windows machine
Install Apache 2, PHP 5, and MySQL 5 on your *nix machine
Create a new database and then a database user using phpMyAdmin
Programmers who don’t want to install the required software manually have the option of using a software package such as XAMPP, which bundles all of them (and many more) in a single installer file. XAMPP is packaged for Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, and Solaris, and is free of charge. You can get XAMPP from http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp.html.
If you decide to use XAMPP, you can skip directly to setting up the
ajaxdatabase, as shown at the end of this appendix.