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Lifehacker: The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, and Better, Third Edition by Gina Trapani, Adam Pash

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Hack 72: Run Full-Fledged Webapps from Your Home Computer

Level Advanced

Platform Windows

Cost Free

In the previous hack, you set up a home web server capable of serving files — like your MP3 collection — to any computer over the Internet. It’s a handy trick for accessing files away from home, but your home web server can also run full-fledged webapps — like your own blog or online photo gallery.

In addition to a web server, most webapps require a software stack that includes a database server (for storing data in your webapps) and a programming or scripting language (for generating dynamic pages and communicating with the database). This hack looks at some free webapps you can run on your home server and details how to set up a server stack on Windows using the free WampServer software (www.wampserver.com/en).

NOTE Mac users interested in a simple-to-set-up PHP/MySQL/Apache server stack should check out Wamp-like OS X alternative, MAMP, available for free at www.mamp.info/en/. The following instructions focus on Windows and WampServer, but the same basic rules apply to Macs and MAMP.

Web Applications You Can Run from Your Home Computer

You may be surprised with all feature-rich web applications you can download and easily set up on your home computer. The following options are free and open source:

  • WordPress: A popular blogging platform.

http://wordpress.org

  • Gallery: A photo gallery webapp.

http://gallery.menalto.com

  • MediaWiki: A collaborative wiki tool — the same one that ...

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