Website Development Sandbox

As the official release of LicenseKeeper 1.0 looms near, the new design for the Outer Level website has been in serious development over the past several days.

There’s a large list of things to incorporate into a website that needs to sell commercial software. Credit Card processing, Support pages, Product Pages, and lots of marketing gobbly gook.

Developing and testing this stuff on a live web server is hazardous. You don’t want people accidentally stumbling on your online store before it’s ready to actually take orders. Maybe you don’t want that secret product announcement to be leaked to the public. Like a good developer should, you do your work on a development server.

My development server happens to be my normal development workstation — my Mac Pro. Since it runs Mac OS X, it has all the UNIX web server goodies: Apache, php, MySQL, etc. Great! Let’s get started.

Err… How come php doesn’t work? Umm, how do I configure and start MySQL? Even if you know how to get this stuff configured, it’s a hassle. There a bunch of tutorials on the internet, but even they are a bit long and tedious. Really, I have better things to do… like actually working on my website, not trouble shooting my Apache configuration files.

A friend of mine pointed me to a very cool application called MAMP. For the last week I’ve been happily working on several website designs, each in their own sandbox. Each with their own DocumentRoot path.

If I need to take my work on the road. No need to configure Apache et al on the MacBook Pro. A quick subversion checkout of my website files and a quick download of MAMP… Boom! Website development to go.