Web development is a lot of trial-and-error. With PHP and JavaScript, most of it is logical; X happens and Y is true therefore Z will happen. But when you get into formatting (like rounded corners, testing column widths, making faux columns and so on), you have to write your CSS formatting code and then test it out. If it's not to your liking, you change it. There's no real logic about it.

Note: Since writing this post, I've moved on to EasyPHP due to its support for PHP 7.

For the longest time, I would have my webserver up for weeks before the project was finished and use it as a storage and testing medium. I would upload all my files, then run it in a browser and boom, there's the test. But that took up a lot of unnecessary time, and it also meant that if I abandoned or postponed the project, I was using up paid-for webspace, which just didn't make sense.

As a result of this, a friend of mine mentioned WampServer, which essentially turns your computer into a web server. All of my project files are in C:\WampServer\www\kumlinca, then I can just run http://localhost/ (as pictured above) and get a list of the following info:

  • PHP Version
  • Apache Version
  • MySQL Version
  • Apache Module list
  • Links to phpinfo() and phpMyAdmin
  • Links to all of the project folders in the \www\ subdirectory

So I can do all my website testing locally by just modifying the files and running http://localhost/kumlinca/. It's a lot faster, saves space and time, and lets you control everything without need for the Internet. (When my router went down last week during a storm, I was still able to work on my site.)

Best of all, the download is only 16MB, and even with 5 open projects and 6 databases filled with info, the entire folder is still under 300MB (including all executables, data, storage, and project files). You can download WampServer for free, here.

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