Screw Apple, just use MAMP

October 9, 2008

I needed to roll a quick test webserver today. The idea was to tinker with using WordPress.org to host a site containing info for our clients. All I’d need was the web service, MySQL and PHP. Cool, everything’s built into OS X Server.

I spent the better part of an hour trying to get Apple’s version working. I’d used the Web service before for basic sites or for other services that depend upon it. However, I could not get into the MySQL. I enabled the service, set a password, and turned it on. Could not figure out how to log in. Apparently there used to be a GUI tool in /Applications/Server but not anymore. Tried logging in through the Terminal, but it kept telling me the login was wrong.

So, irritated, I decided to investigate MAMP. One of our clients uses it, though I couldn’t figure out why they were using MAMP on an Xserve that already has all this stuff. After today, I have a pretty good idea. Instead of messing around with Server Admin, creating sites there, trying to get into MySQL, blah blah blah… you just drag MAMP into the Applications folder and run it.

Wait… wha?

It shouldn’t be this easy, but it is. MAMP is way more Mac-like than Apple’s own setup. You just drag the MAMP folder into /Applications and run the MAMP application. It automatically starts the servers and pops open a start page in Safari. There you find preconfigured web management tools for everything, most importantly in my case MySQL. To sweeten it even more, it’s more regularly updated than Apple’s built in builds so you always have current versions of Apache, MySQL, PHP 4 and PHP 5.

After quickly making a database, I did WordPress’s “legendary 5-minute install” and away it went. You could literally get a web server running WordPress in 15 minutes with this. Yeah, you can also install the software as independent packages, but why bother when MAMP is so easy? The only downfall I can see is that it seems the MAMP app has to run to start the services. This would mean that if the server reboots, the services may not start until someone logs in and either launches MAMP or has it launch automatically on login. Going to experiment with that and see how it works, but it’s not a big deal. Who ever reboots their Mac server anyway? 😉

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