Daily Archives: 2007-06-21

Movable Type and WordPress on XAMPP

Both Movable Type and WordPress are powerful, flexible blogging engines. Both are available in downloadable, install-it-yourself versions that can be uploaded to typical web hosting accounts that support Apache, MySQL, PHP and Perl. But, if you want to play with these tools locally, there’s a great package call XAMPP – “…an easy to install Apache distribution containing MySQL, PHP and Perl.”

Once XAMPP is installed, your test bed is ready for applications like WordPress and Movable Type. Since it’s on your own Windows box, you can play around with configuration, templates, styles, and so on. I’m using it on Windows XP and used the instructions that follow to set everything up.

Installing XAMPP

The XAMPP packages are pretty big (about 100MB for the combination I chose), but downloading is the slowest part. After that, they’ll be up and running in a few minutes with these steps:

  1. Start at the XAMPP for Windows project page and download XAMPP for Windows (basic package) and the Perl add-on
  2. Install XAMPP, choosing default options and location c:\xampp
  3. Install Perl add-on, choosing default options
  4. Run the XAMPP Control Panel and start both Apache and MySQL
  5. Read the XAMPP instructions for changing the MySQL root password

At this point you should have a working installation of Apache with MySQL, PHP, and Perl. You can choose to run Apache and MySQL as Windows services, but I prefer to start and stop them through the XAMPP control panel. I’m only using this for testing, so I don’t need them to be running full time.

Installing WordPress

Now that we have our base system, getting WordPress running locally is pretty straightforward. I used these steps to install WP 2.2.1:

  1. Visit the WordPress download page and download WP in Zip format
  2. Extract the files to c:\xampp\htdocs, making sure to use the folder names inside the Zip file (if done correctly, you should have a file `c:\xampp\htdocs\wordpress\index.php`)
  3. Open the local phpMyAdmin page and login using updated root password you set earlier
  4. Select Databases and create a database named `wordpress` with encoding `utf8_unicode_ci`
  5. Select Privileges tab and create a user `wordpress` and password of your choice, allowing all privileges for the `wordpress` database
  6. With a text editor, open file `c:\xampp\htdocs\wordpress\wp-config-sample.php`; edit the file to set DB_NAME to `wordpress`, DB_USER to `wordpress`, and DB_PASSWORD you chose above; save the file in the same location but named `wp-config.php`
  7. Finally, open the local WordPress install page and follow the steps to complete the setup

(Credit to Tamba 2 for the WordPress steps.)

Installing Movable Type

Now we’ll install Movable Type and see how it compares to WP. I used these steps to install the new MT 4 Beta 3:

  1. Visit the Movable Type 4 page and download the latest beta in Zip format
  2. Extract the files to `c:\xampp\cgi-bin`, making sure to use the folder names inside the zip; then, rename the default folder (like “MT-4.0-beta…”) to just “mt4” (if done correctly, you should have a file `c:\xampp\cgi-bin\mt4\mt.cgi`)
  3. From the location `c:\xampp\cgi-bin\mt4`, move the entire `mt-static` folder to `c:\xampp\htdocs`
  4. Open the local phpMyAdmin page and login using updated root password you set earlier
  5. Select Databases and create a database named `movabletype` with encoding `utf8_unicode_ci`
  6. Select Privileges tab and create a user `movabletype` and password of your choice, allowing all privileges for the `movabletype` database
  7. In the folder `c:\xampp\cgi-bin\mt4`, edit all the *.cgi files and change the first line to: `#!c:\xampp\perl\bin\perl.exe`
  8. Finally, open up the local Movable Type install page and follow the steps to complete the setup

(Credit to the etc. blog for the .cgi file editing tip)

Conclusion

Not including download time, setting everything up should take about an hour. Then, you’ll have your own test bed for trying out both blogging tools, experimenting with styles, and trying out new releases.