Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Web site testbed

One of the big obstacles to me of getting an idea off the ground is being able to try it out, prototype it, play around with it, before you try to explain the idea to others. I have read about all the great things people are doing with web 2.0 technologies like blogs and wiki's, but it is not always easy to get some space on the web server to try these kinds of things out, nor do you always want them to be publicly accessible. However, I have found that using the free WAMP (Windows, Apache, MySQL, PHP) framework has made installing and experimenting with web software very easy to do. I installed it on my XP computer at my desk and just a few minutes later had a working Joomla web site installed and running. Over the next couple of weeks, I was able to tinker with it in my spare time to make a fairly rich web site that we might model our stations new website after. I also found it very easy to install MediaWiki under WAMP. I have been using this wiki to collaborate with a coworker on building a station policy document. Either of us can edit the framework or add new content to the document without having to email Word docs around or schedule frequent meetings.

I am sure there are better ways of building a business-class system for production, but the WAMP sure makes it easy and fun to tinker with web stuff. Just make sure you understand the potential holes this might open up on whatever computer you install it on.


John McMellen said...

Another good platform for web development is the Web Developer Server Suite for Windows. I actually like it better than WAMP because it has SSL encryption and the Apache Mod-security web app firewall.

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