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

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

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