Just as you might find it useful to install PHP apart from the WAMP stack on a Windows-based computer as described in Appendix A, you might similarly find it useful to install MySQL without using WAMP (Windows) or MAMP (Mac OS X). By installing MySQL manually, you can control the versions you’re using, the paths MySQL and related programs use, and all the MySQL-specific environment variables.
Of course, manual installation isn’t for everyone. Avoiding MAMP or WAMP doesn’t make MySQL work any better, per se; installing MySQL yourself is mostly an exercise in getting a better handle on what’s going on with your system. On the other hand, that’s a good goal in and of itself and can actually help you become a better programmer.
The MySQL database is easy to get, easy to install, and easy to use, even without the convenience of WAMP and MAMP. The process is slightly different for Windows and Mac OS X, but the end result is the same: an installation of MySQL that’s separate from the web server and from your computer’s copy of PHP.
Installing MySQL on Windows is straightforward. You just need to know one thing: whether your computer is running the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows. For example, in Windows 7 you can determine this by clicking your Start menu, right-clicking Computer, and then selecting Properties from the pop-up menu. You should see something like Figure B-1.
Figure B-1. The computer shown here ...