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Are you local?

Posted on August 24, 2013

During recent developments tasks, the benefits of a local testing server have become apparent. With a plethora of options available, the tool in question today is WAMP.

Before we go any further, I should point out that this is an Apache local server on a windows installation, hence the use of WAMP.

Installation

The initial installation of WAMP was fairly straightforward, using the standard inbuilt windows installer to create the file structure and necessary software to begin the process. A hassle-free process, the default installation folder resembles any apache server you may have encountered.

Configuration

Initially the default installation came with PHP 5.4 and Apache 2.4, but this is not the latest version of PHP and therefore does not contain the latest implementation of generators, which was one of the features that was on the list to test. Although older implementations of PHP are available from the WAMP website (a useful feature for testing backwards compatibility of your code on older versions of PHP) were available, no recent of development versions of the latest were. This was disappointing, but understandable due to the nature of the product.

Luckily, a ‘work around’ exists through which the version of PHP can be updated in the same way as on a standard server. With an update of the Apache version and a check to make sure the V numbers matched, 5.5 was up and running as expected.

General use

The Local server has been incredibly handy in developing WordPress logins, and the ability to test and rest the functionality of the plugin in a safe environment before it is put to the main development server means a more rigorous process of bug checking, because every element of the development stage can be logged, checked and monitored for its impact before its put into a development server, where other factors can come into play. In its environment, the modules enabled on the server all contribute to potential issues when developing plugins or interfaces.

The local test server is an incredibly useful tool for any developer or designer, as it can give them complete control over their production environment, and the opportunity to remove and add elements and thereby test their code’s performance across the situations it may encounter. All in all, this will provide a more robust and thoroughly tested product for the end user.

Steven is Engage Web’s go-to man for all things web-related, bringing his knowledge of current trends in web design and development to the team.

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Posted by Steven

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