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Author: Jeffrey F. Hill | Website: http://www.flash-db.com

Installing Apache 2.0 web server, PHP 4.2.0, MySQL 3.23, and PHPMyAdmin on windows for use with Flash.


Introduction

This article attempts to detail the installation of the Apache 2.0 web server, the PHP version 4.2.0 scripting language, the latest MySQL DBMS, and PHPMyAdmin on a windows (98, ME, XP, etc) desktop. Although their are a couple of tools that will do the installation of all these for you - the knowledge gained from setting these items up yourself far outweighs the any time saved with the auto-install programs.

Because Mac OS X - comes with most of these tools already installed ( read this article for more of the same but on a Mac), as well as almost all Linux distributions, and most versions of Unix we will not be discussing those OS's in this article, however since these tools work basically the same in any environment you may still find something useful here.

With all of Flash/PHP applications and tutorials available on the internet and books one item that many people have trouble with is working with those scripts on their local computer.  That being the case this article is meant as a guide for Flash designers and programmers on how to set up a complete development platform for use with dynamic server-side flash site's on your home, work, or whatever computer you happen to be working on at the time.  Examples and small exercise's on how to configure and use the above tools are also documented.  Also a small example of a Flash/PHP/MySQL app.  Not to many articles/tutorials go over how to setup/install/use your own web server, database, and scripting language - so parts of this can become somewhat technical - but stick with it and you'll get it all working together.

This combination allows you to turn your home computer into a server that anyone with your IP address will be able to view just as if it was any other website on the internet (if you allow them) - the advantage being that you are the systems administer, and will not have to FTP anywhere to upload files.  Meaning it's a whole lot easier to test things out without having to upload your files to a different server every time you want to test out your dynamic flash movie.  Installing all these tools on your home computer gives you a real insight on how the rest of the internet works - that and if you ever have a problem with one of the techie's that run your current hosting company, you'll be able to give a much more detailed description of why they have no idea what their talking about (or how much you appreciate them!). 

Note:  This is an unofficial reference.  It's meant only as a guide to help you get started exploring this area on your home computer.  The topics cover only the very tip of the iceberg of what is possible with these tools.  For any serious development where security, stability, and power is an issue consult a professional and have them set things up for you, and please don't use windows.  Most of the time Shared hosting companies or companies that offer dedicated servers can provide you with this on the Unix platform of your choice. 

Note: For those of you that have little experience in this area, things can get frustrating and complicated fairly fast when first starting out.  Sometimes it can be difficult to use configuration files instead of a user interface, and while their are user interface's available for these tools - it's much more sensible to use the config file instead to gain a better understanding of what's going on.  As a side note: because the configuration files are basically text based files, it's possible to create your own interface for these tools.  I would love to see someone create a Flash version of PHPMyAdmin, it's possible, but would take some serious time.

Note: These programs/tools, much like most internet protocols and standards, where created for a Unix environment and only ported over to windows.  Even out of their native environment the do seem to work exceptionally well in this case, however. 

If your having problems ask questions either on the Flashkit.com scripting and backend message board - or on the message board at Flash-db.com and someone will have an answer for you right away.

Overview

We'll go over the details of each installation in the order below on the following pages.

Apache 2.0 Web Server:  The Apache web server is used on more websites then all other web servers combined.  And is the basis for many others.   The new 2.0 version has new improvements for a windows environment making it run equally as well on any version of windows as it does on Unix, BeOS, OS/2 etc.  

PHP 4.2.0:  PHP is one of the many server side scripting languages that allow you to interact with the server (such as writing text files, inserting info into a database, sending email, etc).  One of the greatest advantages of PHP is that it can be used equally as well on any OS/server combination.  The PHP scripting language has evolved and continues to evolve every day through contributions and work by thousands upon thousands of developers world-wide.  This continual evolution process makes PHP one of, if not the most, powerful and feature rich server side scripting language available to any developer.  At the time of writing PHP 4.2.0 is the latest release of this evolutionary process.

MySQL: MySQL is a database management system.  MySQL is one of the most popular SQL database server's.  In recent benchmarks it's faster then similar DBMS's such as Oracle and MS SQL (for web based querying) - but does lack some of the User Interface  features of those systems.  In this article we will be installing MySQL version 3.23.   However you may want to download the newer MySQL 4.0 (Installation should be about the same).  MySQL 4.0 includes new features such as Transaction support, the Union Statement, and will soon include greater Foreign key rules.  While most of us will never use these new features they are important when you start getting into more advanced applications.

PHPMyAdmin: PHPMyAdim allows you to easily manage your MySQL database from any browser.  While their are quite a few other web based tools that allow you to easily work with MySQL this is one of the easiest and widely used.  More and more hosting companies are including this feature for you to use in conjunction with your site you have hosted on their servers.  Having this installed on your local machine makes transferring, backing up, working with, and creating your database much easier then having to use the command line.  This is basically a User Interface for MySQL that you can use from a web browser such as Internet explorer or Netscape.

Lets get started installing and configuring..

» Level Advanced

Added: 2002-05-08
Rating: 9 Votes: 108
(10 being the highest)
» Author
Jeffrey Hill is a freelance web developer from Boulder, Colorado. He specializes in creating and developing dynamic database driven Flash content, applications, and content management systems. Specialty's include SQL, PHP, Perl, XML, web services, and Flash clients for web services.
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