Apache, MySQL, PHP server on Mac OS X with multiple, simultaneous PHP versions

My last week’s blog post on running Apache, MySQL, PHP server on Windows with multiple, simultaneous PHP versions seems to have been a smash hit. This week we’ll be doing the same thing on Mac OS X. For those of you who didn’t click the link, I decided it would be a cool, geeky project to implement an Apache-MySQL-PHP web server without using a pre-packaged server like MAMP or Zend Server. My goal was to have the same sites run under different versions of PHP by just visiting a different URL on my browser. This makes cross-PHP testing of sites a piece of cake.

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Apache, MySQL, PHP server on Windows with multiple, simultaneous PHP versions

I just bought an Intel NUC (Next Unit of Computing) mini-PC to serve as my secondary, Windows-powered development machine (the primary is an Apple Mac Mini). I decided it would be a fun* weekend project to implement an Apache-MySQL-PHP web server without using a pre-packaged server like XAMPP, WAMPServer etc. My goal was to have the same sites run under different versions of PHP by just visiting a different URL on my browser.

* for extremely geek values of “fun”

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The interesting effects of losing a pro bono job

I’m quite sure that most of you wouldn’t bat an eyelid on losing a pro bono job. You proposed to do some work for free, the other party didn’t agree for some odd reason, less work for you, end of story. But once in a while there’s a lesson to be had from such an experience, leading to interesting ripple effects. For example, a Joomla! guy ended up with a WordPress blog. Intrigued?

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The invasion of small form factor computers

Tablets, laptops and the like are great and convenient, but they don’t make much sense for certain needs. Think about media servers / players, home and small office servers (from a simple NAS to special purpose servers), or even educational / kid computers to hook up on the living room’s TV set to save some space and help parents monitor their kid’s activity. These use cases call for small, power-efficient yet powerful and easy to use computers. Over the last few years it has become increasingly easier to get such a machine. In this short article I am going to present the three small form factor computers which have won my heart and a permanent place in my home office.

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Joomla! 3.2 – Two Factor Authentication for Developers

Joomla! 3.2 includes an abundance of new features appealing to end users and developers alike. One of these new features is two factor authentication. In this tutorial you will learn what two factor authentication is and how you can use it in your components to enhance the security of potentially dangerous or important operations, just like most banks do.

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Enabling XDebug on Zend Server on Mac OS X

As I’ve said many times, I am an avid user of Zend Server for local development on my Mac. It has pretty much everything you need, including a simple to use back-end for viewing issues occuring on your server which make debugging easier. Well, on the debugging front it has a major shortcoming: it comes with Zend Debugger which only works with the very expensive Zend Studio IDE. All other IDEs (Eclipse, NetBeans, phpStorm, …) only provide support for XDebug. Every time I update Zend Server I have to install and enable XDebug instead of Zend Debugger. It’s easy and will help you debugging your PHP applications easily on your local environment. This article describes how to do it.

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Flicking the wrong switch

As a Joomla! developer I often find myself providing support to users of my software. Sometimes, despite my best intentions, I hit a stone wall: a server setting is amiss. In this case I explain to my users what the problem is and ask them to contact their host to rectify it. One of the most irritating situations I’ve found myself dealing with is when a host replies “we can’t do this for security reasons”. I would generally accept that, if only the host actually knew what they’re talking about. And, yes, I am specifically talking about the fopen URL wrappers and the fact that they are stupidly disabled on many hosts.

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Keep your files where I can see them!

There is a very common misconception that moving configuration.php outside of your Joomla! root somehow makes your site more secure. It’s so common that you can even find instructions on the Joomla! documentation wiki. Let’s separate the myth from the facts and let’s see why this “security” advice may not be as secure as one might think.

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Book Review: Joomla! 2.5 Beginner’s Guide

You may remember that two years ago I reviewed a great book about Joomla! 1.5 written by Eric Tiggeler. Fast forward two years. Joomla! has come up with a great new stable release, Joomla! 2.5. The need for disseminating the knowledge of the CMS to newcomers –or returning users of previous releases– is higher than ever, with Joomla! already powering almost 3% of all Internet sites out there. Eric has once more picked up the task and did a great job with his new book, “Joomla! 2.5: Beginner’s Guide” available by Packt Publishing.

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