With the abundance of communication between the browser and a server in these days of AJAX and JSON data interchange, there has never been a better time to get your own development web server set up so that you can test all those dynamic scripts you’re writing. This article will show you how to do it using some of the most popular software.
Next up is the PHP installation. With Windows XP, we had reached the stage where PHP could install itself and configure itself to work with Apache automatically, meaning that we didn't need to worry about copying system files or DLLs all over the place or editing Apache's configuration file manually. Unfortunately, however, the current PHP installer does not have this ability with Vista, and although the installer will run okay, it does not include several important files. We can install PHP manually very easily though; first, create a new folder on your C: drive and call it php. Next, unpack the php-5.2.6-Win32.zip file to this new directory.
We now need to update the Path environment variable. To do this open the Environment Variables dialog (Control Panel System Advanced system settings Environment Variables) and select the Path item in the System Variables section. Click the Edit button and add C:php; to the end of the existing text. You'll need to restart your machine for the change to take effect.
At this point we need to create a php.ini file which tells PHP how to work correctly. There is a template in the C:php folder called php.ini-recommended. Open this in a text editor and scroll down to the Paths and Directories section (it should start on line 515). In this section there is a line that reads extension_dir = "./", you'll need to change this to extension_dir = "c:phpext" instead. Now save the file as php.ini. You'll need to restart your machine again at this point.
Next we'll need to configure Apache to use the newly installed PHP. Reopen the httpd.conf Apache configuration file in your text editor and find the LoadModule directives (they are near the top of the file and begin on line 61). Below the last LoadModule directive add the following code block:
####### PHP Config ###########
LoadModule php5_module "C:/php/php5apache2_2.dll"
AddType application/x-httpd-php .php
This tells Apache to load the PHP module, adds the PHP file extension to the list of recognized mime-types and tells Apache where the php.ini configuration file resides. This is all we need to do. Make sure you save the httpd.conf file and restart Apache. To test that PHP is working correctly, create a new PHP file that has the following line of code in it:
<?php phpinfo(); ?>
Save this file in the C:apache site folder as phpinfo.php, and then in your browser address bar type: http://localhost/phpinfo.php. You should see this:
This page lists loads of information concerning your PHP and Apache setup and is useful for checking that additional modules, such as MySQL, have installed correctly.