April – Week 3

Will’s video about career advice hopefully helped you put things in perspective, as you may now, or previously realised, the world of web design and development are prone to being sliced in half. Front-end and back-end, I’ve often read that specialising in one or the other is good advice, whereas trying to be a hardcore full-stack developer is a quick road to drink and gutter drudgery. I’m of the opinion knowing at least a bit of both first is the best way, later branching into specialisation, but by then, to you at least, all this will just be a distant memory.

Today we’ll venture more towards development, grab what we need and then get the hell out. Stacks:

The stack of software, mainly comprised of open source software, will contain an operating system, Web server, database server, and programming language. One of the most most well-known web stacks is LAMP.
From webopedia.com

So we have to get a bunch of servers and a foreign (to us!) programming language working in tandem. Fortunately it’s mostly painless. We’ll be using XAMPP (or LAMP/MAMP if your on Linux/Mac), so we’ve got Apache (web server), MySQL (database), and PHP (our server-side language). Using a stack on our local machine will give us a great deal of power, we’re creating our own mini test arena for our website, we can start using content dynamically. What the hell does that mean you say! Onwards.

Now at this point I was very unsure about what I was doing, so I needed a video that didn’t assume I was already a ninja developer. Step in RiverCityGraphix. He’s got 12 videos about how to setup a server and use some simple PHP pages and databases. I found the videos simple and easy to follow, a lot of people gloss over information because they think it’s easy (perhaps yours truly is guilty of this too!). Anyway I watched all of his videos but a warning for you, I’m pretty sure he’s using an older version of PHP, therefore once your server and database is up and you understand a little of PHP, move on. (We’ll come back to PHP later.) Now all your websites go in your xampp/htdocs folder and localhost is your new friend. Note: If you want to move out of htdocs and create multiple hosts, try looking here. I had a bit of trouble doing this, and I’ll be honest figuring out the in’s and out’s of Apache server configurations is just one of those things for the brave to attempt in their own time.

1. Get your XAMPP (or equivalent) up and running with RiverCityGraphix.

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