Development Web Servers

Nothing is more valuable for web development than a test environment, although most people do not want to host a web server on their PC all the time. For developers of web documents and apps that use LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP), there are some great options for creating a development environment on your PC without installing any software.  Here are a few examples.

USBWebServer

  • This is a great all in one software package that contains Apache, PHP, mySQL, PHPmyAdmin, and SMTP.  It is one executable and has a control panel accessible from the system tray.

MoWeS

  • This web server software is downloadable in different configurations.  The web site will allow you to configure the software and then download the pre-configured package. They offer lots of preconfigured packages with options including phpMyADmin, Wordpres, Drupal, and many others.

XAMPP

  • XAMPP has been around for a long time.  It’s a very well put together instance of a LAMP server.  It can be installed or run from any file location.  THe installation option sets apache and other softeware to run as services.  It also features a nice control panel.

Portable Apps

[tab:Portable Apps]

One of my newest likings on the computer front is the simplest idea, yet it just makes so much sense.  Portable apps are a wonderful way to take your favorite programs with you wherever you go.  I’ve always hated how so many programs these days either depend on the operating system too much or install so much bloat into the operating system in order to integrate the software.  One prime example is Adobe.  Portable apps on the other hand demonstrate ideaology I think all developers should follow – keep the program independent of the OS.  An operating system should manage files and system operations, not support your software.  The software should run on top of the OS, independent of what extras the OS has or its configuration.

Portable apps are also great for …well….portability.  There are a lot of little utilities I can carry around on my USB stick to work on friends computers, or work on my projects no matter what computer I’m on.  Most portable apps are open source or free, another great benefit.  I can’t begin to describe how much I appreciate and support developers of open source software.   Unfortunately, one may notice that a lot of the great open source software out there is being bought up by companies that want to reap monetary benefits from their users.

So, that’s my spill on portable apps and open source software.  Now to give some listings of where to find this software.  Click on the second tab on this post to see some links to web sites that catalog lots of portable apps available for free download.

[tab:Portable App Links]

http://portableapps.com/

http://www.portablefreeware.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_portable_software

http://www.pendriveapps.com/

Open-AudIT

I want to take a moment to plug some great software for enterprise or small shop auditing of systems.  Open-AudIT is an open source, web based auditing system for computers on your network.  It is available from Open-AudIT.org.  I’ve found this software very useful in our environment.  It uses WMI to get loads of information about systems and stores them in mySQL database.  The PHP frontend is very easy to use and easily customizable even if you only know a little PHP.  I don’t consider myself an expert by any means, but I’ve constructed a few custom queries that we use often.

The downloadable version is great, but keeping up with their SVN repository really shows where the development of this software is going.  The forums on the site have been very helpful to me, and the fact that all the developers discuss and modify the code frequently really shows that they are doing this project to help people.

So, if you are looking for cool software to inventory, audit, and track systems on your network, I highly recommend you give Open-AudIT a try.  Even if you don’t like it, which I doubt, you’re out nothing but time.