Updating The Uniform Server (Again)

It used to be that software companies released updates about every 6 months (or so), but seldom more often. Then Netscape established a more-or-less monthly cycle for new releases, which pundits called “Netscape time”.  Since I was involved with distributing these updates to thousands of desktops, it was quite a big deal. We would have just finished vetting the last release, when here was a new one, and it usually had a dozen changes included.

These days we have that problem expanded ten (or twenty) times as much. In The Uniform Server WAMP, for example, there are many different open source components, such as Apache, PHP, MySQL, and several others.  Continue reading

Running Multiple WAMPs

UniServer, Part 3

Let’s say you want to have more than one test server on your computer.  Since our servers (Apache and MySQL) use IP ports for communications, they get cranky when we try to have two instances use the same ports.  If we only have certain ports available, what should we do?  The obvious solution is to choose other ports and set the new servers to use them.  This process has been greatly simplified in UniServer, and is one of its primary features. Continue reading

Hey, Dude, Where’s My Localhost?

Updated 31 August 2011

If you are using Windows 7, you may have already run into the same problem with your WAMP stack that I did.  This started when I spent the last few weeks changing from Vista to Windows 7 on my laptop.  I had to do a “custom” install, since the original version was Vista Home and I was moving to Win 7 Professional.   Almost everything is reinstalled and the system runs better (but different) than before.  There are many new paradigms, small and large, introduced in Win 7 that will take some adjustment.

During the reinstallation, I plopped down XAMPP and Uniform Server, and since they were just copies from my Vista load (now erased) I assumed that they would work without a problem.  Ha Ha.  Thanks, Microsoft, for all the  missing clues about your IPv6 surprise.

You see, Windows 7 prefers to return an IPv6 address for localhost.  That’s all cool, IF your application software can handle IPv6 addresses.  Apache has no problem; it handles IPv6 with an easy change in the config file. MySQL, which uses a TCP port for its preferred method of connection with Apache, is different.   The problem is that MySQL 5 does not support IPv6.  I did some quick research at MySQL.com, and that appears to be true for anything we care about. Continue reading

Ready-to-Go Apps for UniServer

UniServer, Part 2

[Note: I’ve edited this article to reflect the latest updates to the application plugins.]

UniServer has a list of plugins to give you a head-start on installing applications and other functions.

For version 5.6-nano there are several CMS applications and a Wiki. You can Google these individually for detailed information on their usage.  In this series I’m not going to review any of these apps; we’ll save that for later.
*V56_Drupal  Content Management System
*V56_Joomla  Content Management System
*V56_Moodle  Courseware Management System
*V56_WordPress  Content Management System
*V56_Xoops  Content Management System
*V56_MediaWiki  Wikipedia’s Wiki System

There are also several utility programs set up as plugins. The advantage of all these as plugins is that they are ready-to-run as soon as they are installed. Installation usually consists only of running the plugin’s .exe, which unzips into the UniServer stack. That’s very convenient.

Let’s do one right now; I’m selecting WordPress as an example. Continue reading

When Priorities Change

The plans I had a few weeks ago for some new articles took a back seat to natural events.  Living in Chile is interesting, but it also can be difficult when the earth starts shaking.  It’s even worse when that shake is because of a once-in-a-quarter-century major earthquake.  We were very fortunate in that we only lost electricity for three days (which means Internet as well).

Obviously, the situation changed a bit, and we needed to resolve some other problems.   Hopefully, I can get those articles completed soon.

Setting Up Uniform Server

UniServer, Part 1

Uniform Server really is an interesting WAMP stack for two reasons.  First, it was designed to be portable, small and secure, and second, the TCP ports can be reassigned with just a button push so that multiple copies of the stack can run at one time.  The developers also claim that it can be secured sufficiently to be used as a production stack.  In addition, there’s a well-maintained wiki for documentation and a forum for support.  The tray control (UniTray) is very comprehensive, and the welcome and server administration panels have many options and effectively show the system status.

This is also a very simple WAMP to install, since it merely self-extracts to the desired location.  It makes no registry entries, nor puts any files outside its own directory tree.

The main site is The Uniform Server. I think that some people haven’t used this package because many of the illustrations still show earlier versions, implying that the actual system is not up-to-date.  Additionally, earlier versions used a substitute drive letter to implement the operation.  This is not the case anymore (version 5), as a visit to the wiki will show you.  Even the download page on Sourceforge shows a lot of current activity, but the main site can be a bit confusing. Nevertheless, I think this is a good package to use for testing.

Let’s download the package, install it and take a look.  The download is here at Sourceforge, and is currently version 5.5. The team has code-named their releases, with the version 5.x series being called Nano. All the Nano systems are very similar; this wiki page shows the exact differences, as well as being the latest introduction to the system. Continue reading

Securing Your XAMPP

XAMPP, Part 3

In dealing with security, there are some essential concepts that we all need to wrestle with.  On the one side, we want to share our stuff, or at least certain parts of it.  On the other side, we need to keep safe and private the things we don’t want others to know about, steal or damage and destroy.

Perhaps you want to just open your WAMP up to the rest of the machines in your local network.  But if we’re going to open it up to a larger audience, we had best know how to set up the fences and close the open doors.  This article will describe the basic ways we have of securing XAMPP for Windows.

A few words of caution before you do that: Be prudent, and don’t disrupt other people’s operations. If it’s your own network (not your employer’s), you’re free to do whatever you want. However, opening the gate to the Internet requires some serious study of the consequences. There are LOTS of malicious people who would love to put key loggers or Trojans on all the systems connected to your LAN.  DON’T make it easy for them.

In order to make this a bit more useful, I started all the XAMPP programs, including Mercury Mail and FileZilla Server, and then opened http://localhost/xampp to get the XAMPP Status Screen.
Continue reading

XAMPP, We’ve Got Some Explaining to Do

XAMPP, Part 2

Now that you have a basic XAMPP for Windows system installed and running, what’s next?  Let’s first look at the XAMPP Status link.  (You can click on the picture to enlarge it, and use your browser’s “back” button to return here.)

Let’s recap what is currently working according to this chart. Continue reading

Setting up XAMPP on Windows

XAMPP, Part 1

The first WAMP stack I’m reviewing is XAMPP. Because it is a popular package, I thought there should be  a lot of information already available about it, and the obvious first place to look is the ApacheFriends website. While their offerings are available in several other languages, I’m going to stick to English for this series. 😉  I found out, however, that the information can be a bit sparse, so I Googled it and found a few other (somewhat) helpful pages.  I think you’ll find this one both up-to-date and generally more useful (IMHO).

I have been using XAMPP for Windows for about five years and it has proven to be an effective and well-maintained package. It’s an easy package to install and can also be set up as a portable environment, like on a USB memory stick. It has several included subsystems that help make it a good package to perform tests.

Continue reading

Website Software Testing

Over the past few years, I’d get a package that was supposed to help me create a Website for Internet marketing.  “Just add it to your hosting service and you’re ready to go!” Well, not quite.  How does one go about preparing, configuring, testing, and deploying such a package?  There are many more things to do to get it functional.  When you start, it’s almost overwhelming.

Writing an HTML file and displaying it in your browser is so far away from running an online Website, that it defies comparison.  As a next step, you can get a regular shared host service, but that implies that you know what you want to do (to some extent).  It may make you feel a bit queasy, since all your experimentation and partial pages are on the Web for whomever to see.  If you’re just trying to get your arms around it all first, you may feel like you’re jumping onto a moving train. Continue reading