Tag: <span>XAMPP</span>

In my copious spare time I have been known to design and build websites. The first website I ever built was for the first company I worked for, back in 1996, so I’ve been at it a while.

However it’s only been the past couple of years that I’ve started to get some larger clients with grander ideas, and that has meant getting a bit more organised. As such I now have a standard questionnaire that I ask all prospective clients to fill in, a standard design proposal document which I use to present back my ideas based on the answers to the questionnaire, and I have a nice little area of my PC which is dedicated to building websites.

The key part of which is XAMPP.

I discovered this marvellous application about 3 years ago, and if you are building websites, or installing and customising anything that requires MySQL and PHP then you must give it a look.

Many people know from their own experience that it’s not easy to install an Apache web server and it gets harder if you want to add MySQL, PHP and Perl.

XAMPP is an easy to install Apache distribution containing MySQL, PHP and Perl. XAMPP is really very easy to install and to use – just download, extract and start.

It really is that simple. Once you’ve downloaded it, start up the Control Panel, start Apache and MySQL, then head to http://localhost. Done!

A lot of my web design work is creating custom themes based around WordPress, sometimes it is just a look and feel but more often than not custom code is required. Now, rather than having to upload a file to a test web server somewhere, I can work locally on the php files, and just refresh the browser to see my changes. Much faster.

XAMPP is one of those applications that, after you’ve used it once you think “how the hell did I manage without this!”.

Given that a lot of technical communicators are looking towards other distribution models (blogs, Wikis and so on), then XAMPP is an easy (and free) way to get a test system setup, allowing you to run short proof of concept projects. I hope you find it as useful as I do.

Tech Work

Without wanting to harp on about it, but hey, it’s my blog so I’m gonna… as covered the other day, and as the Belbin tests confirmed, I’m the guy who likes starting new things but soon gets bored.

I wish I could argue against this but it’s true. I do. I love the planning and design stages, but the rest of the work is drudgery to me. However, as my mother always said “sometimes you have to do things you don’t like”. Admittedly this was usually uttered shortly before I stomped upstairs and slammed my bedroom door in response, and it was more than likely after I questioned WHY I had to .. wash the kitchen windows, tidy my room, etc etc.

But, as mothers are wont to be, she was right. Oh god, have I just admitted that in public??

And so I turn to my latest ‘project’, something which has been in the back of my head for a couple of years but that has long since been filed in the “one day” pile. Just to clarify, that’s not “can be done in one day” but “one day I’ll get around to it” (also known as the “roontuit” pile).

We’ve had a scanner for a couple of years, but by and large it hasn’t really been used, and just sat there gathering dust. Since getting the new PC I’ve been pondering whether to bother hooking it up at all or whether is should be relegated to the cupboard.

I was in mid-ponder the other night when Louise interrupted me to ask if the scanner was hooked up yet..

Putting aside the fact that you should never EVER bother a pondering McLean (we have a tendency to fart quite viciously when startled), I confirmed that no it wasn’t and asked why she was wanting it done. Apparently she wasn’t to “scan something, duh”, which was the obvious answer to a rather obvious question

So I spent an hour or so downloading updated drivers, figuring out where to plug it in, and getting the scanner up and running. Ohh and on that topic, a big thanks to HP, it was really kind of you to wrap the drivers for the scanner within a 245MB software pack. Muppets.

Anyway, now that it’s hooked up and working my thoughts drift to the not inconsiderable amount of “old-fashioned” printed photos that are lying in a box in our loft. I’ve got plenty of room on this PC and we ARE in a digital age after all, so surely the obvious thing is to start scanning them all in. To be super-extra productive, whilst I’m doing that I can continue the ongoing “rip all the CDs and get them boxed and into the loft” project, all whilst hacking away at the “getting Movable Type to work with XAMPP” project.

Of course, by now, you’ll have realised that I’ll get partway through box one of the photos and my attention will be diverted. I really must stop doing that and develop some willpower… more on that.. tomorrow.

Personal Musings

I know a few of you use Movable Type. If so, how do you build a test system? For WordPress work I use XAMPP on my PC, it’s an absolute doddle.

There are Perl add-ons for XAMPP, and I found a guide to installing Movable Type in a XAMPP system but the buggering thing won’t work. I’ve checked and double-checked paths, filenames and all that gubbins but still get errors. There MUST be an easier way.. or is that why people switch to WordPress (or something else?).


At the risk of illiciting “told you so” style comments… I’m having hassles with iTunes. For some reason it just stops working. I was working at home yesterday and listening to music quite happily. I restarted my PC at one point after having installed some new software and iTunes refused to start!

A couple of un-installs later and some not inconsiderable time spent browsing the iTunes support forums found me uninstalling QuickTime only, repairing the install and it works. So far. I’ve not yet had to reboot and try it again so I’m reserving judgement. From what I can tell, once again, it seems like Apple haven’t tested their software properly, and the forums suggest that’s true as well as there are many people having issues with the fact they have different logins on their Windows boxes and iTunes is ‘losing’ preference files, then crashing when it can’t find them. Not elegant and pretty basic if you ask me.


My other blog has stalled. Mainly because I want to tweak the design a little before I publish. I have a few articles written up but can’t find the enthusiasm to get it going. What happened? Less than a month ago I was raring to go, fired up and… ohh what. That’s what one of the articles is about. As a quick aside, has anyone taken the Belbin team role tests? If so, what ‘team role’ are you? And can you guess which one I am??


Anyone know of a flat, vertical, wall-mountable, radio alarm clock? Thinner the better, must have digital clock and radio alarm and be wall-mountable. In case you didn’t get all that the first time…


And yes, I’m still “twittering”.

Tech Work