Like any self-respecting web diva, one of my first jobs on a new laptop is to turn it into a development server. In other words, I need Apache, PHP and MySQL running on my own machine where no one else can see it and I can be as bad as I want to be.
In the past, I’ve had to do this the old-fashioned way, jumping through various scary hoops like downloading raw PHP and editing obscure hidden files. But that was then.
In the intervening years, a series of app’s named things like WAMP and MAMP have come along. (Gotta love techno-babble.) These AMP’s do all this heavy lifting for you. “AMP” stands for Apache, PHP and MySQL. If you tack a W on the front, it’s for a Windows machine. If you tack an M on instead, it’s for (you guessed it) Mac OSX.
I’d heard about MAMP before, but installing is believing. In fact it was so easy I started frantically looking for fancy instructions, but just couldn’t find any. In the end, after downloading, unzipping and moving MAMP to the Applications folder, I finally crossed my fingers and double-clicked it. Voila — in about 10 seconds everything was done for me. It even gives you various choices, like PHP 4 or PHP 5.
And now, just a few hours later, I have localhost copies of things like Drupal running on my little old MacBook. I’m free to be as bad as I want to be.