It is widely accepted that during the process of building your website, you should not make it available for people to use over the Internet. Making a site live, while still in the process of making changes and breaking and fixing things, means that it is possible for people to find the site, attempt to use it, and form an exceedingly bad opinion of your web development skills. In the worst case, malicious users might gain access to sensitive information due to improperly implemented security settings, among other things.

Rather than allowing the public access to a work-in-progress, it is far better to set up a PHP-enabled web server on your home or office PC — or some other platform if available. This server, along with PHP and the database, can then be used to design and build everything before deploying the final product to the live site.

This chapter, therefore, will ensure that you have a development environment correctly and efficiently setup in order to begin working on Drupal directly in the chapters that follow.

Specifically, the following important topics are covered:

A brief introduction to the technologies involved Obtaining and installing Apache, MySQL, and PHP Obtaining and installing Drupal Troubleshooting common problems A short tour of Drupal

Installation and setup for Apache, MySQL, and PHP will only be covered for Windows because the process for setting up a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack is very well documented and should be quite easy.


Setting Up The Development Environment

Before we begin, however, there is one crucial bit of advice to be given:

Ensure that you have access to a good, preferably broadband Internet connection, as you will be downloading a fair amount of software.

If you already have a development environment setup and running, feel free to skip the first few sections and move directly to the section titled Obtaining and Installing Drupal. Alternatively, if you already have Drupal working but wish to learn how to upgrade to a newer version, then go to the section titled Upgrading Drupal in Appendix A.

It should also be noted that because Drupal has been developed with flexibility in mind, it is possible to use it off IIS as an alternative web server, as well as utilize PostgreSQL as an alternative database because support for these are actively being developed. By far and away, however, the most popular combination is Apache, MySQL, and PHP, so this is what is covered here.

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