By Deane Barker on January 30, 2005

When it comes to AMP (Apache; MySQL; Perl, Python, or PHP) installers, we at Gadgetopia started with FoxServ. That project kind of died, so a few weeks ago, we touted the benefits of Sokkit. That product, while very good, wasn’t free, which was a drag (though, at $24.95, it’s still a heck of a deal).

In the comments to the entry on Sokkit, someone mentioned XAMPP. I’ve been playing with that tool for a week or so, and I’ve settled on this as my AMP platform of choice.

XAMPP is free, from an organization named “Apache Friends.” Like the other tools, it installs a host of open-source-ish apps, but — unlike the others — it’s not just for Windows. XAMPP comes in Linux and Solaris versions as well.

XAMPP for Windows comes in three versions: Windows installer, self-extracting executable, and traditional zip file. I got the zip, and I recommend you do too. Extract it to “C:\xampp,” then run two BAT files that install Apache and MySQL as services, and you’re done without any behind-the-scenes, installer voodoo — everything is nice and straightforward, meaning XAMPP should uninstall as easily as it “installed” (corresponding BAT files are provided to uninstall the services).

XAMPP installs with a bevy of tools. I haven’t played with this all, but from the extracted directory structure, there’s AMP, Webalizer (a Web log analyzer), MercuryMail (an SMTP server), FileZillaFTP (an FTP server), and phpMyAdmin (a Web-based MySQL client). Additionally, XAMPP has “add-ons” for Python, Tomcat, Cocoon, and Perl (though it looks to me that Perl is in the default install anyway).

So, there you have it. XAMPP is what I’m using exclusively now for my Windows development environments, and I’m thrilled with it. It’s very above-board — all the pieces to the system are laid out nicely, and they all install “in the open” giving me an AMP installation in which I have complete confidence. Nicely done.

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  1. It sounds like you reinstall web servers as often as I check my e-mail. This is something I’m going to check out, though. I need a server at work to be a dedicated bandwidth tester.

  2. I really don’t. I used FoxServ for a couple years until its PHP version got too dated on me. Only then did I go looking for something else and found Sokkit, then I was directed to XAMPP before my Sokkit trial period was up.

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