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|21 August 2001||First (ignorant) thoughts following the experience of installing Apache-PHP-MySQL...|
|It may seem, reading the timings, that I'm going very, very slow in doing all this. Partly that's true - I'm also trying to document it all as I go along, plus my main computer experience is win95/98 plus Macs, plus a tiny bit of Sun, and most of the UNIX experience is only of interfacing with them via Windows' clients - but I'm also getting ready to fly to the USA on the 29th (Lake Tahoe if you are interested) to attend my son's wedding, plus keeping up my day-job.|
|Apache has definitely got it's Windows' act sorted out better than PHP, and PHP better than MySQL. I would also say, though, (shields UP) that the UNIX folks need to learn some lessons from Windows on usability and accessibility.
If there is one thing that Microsoft have got to grips with, it is in providing solutions that are both accessible and easy to use. This has also been hard learned. Let's take the issue of configuration files:
|10 or so years ago a program would provide a text file which contained lines such as "memory=128". I've made this one up, but the idea was to provide a simple means of configuring the hardware/software. Everybody knows this in terms of the timer on a Microwave, and the classic Modem example is of the Hayes Corporation. One of the reasons that Hayes moved from a couple of people assembling modems on their kitchen table to a multi-million dollar corporation is that they provided a simpler way (now known as the Hayes Commands) than the hardware jumpers previously used to configure a modem.
When Windows first emerged, the win.ini file (amongst others) was provided to do this job. Unfortunately, Windows being an open system (remember, Windows® was the Linux of its day) one programmer would insert win.ini commands that stopped other programs from working. With Windows 95 Microsoft introduced the Registry but also - importantly - the Control Panel.
The Registry is a large database. It became the place to put all the configuration options and, because each program's options were kept separate from every other program's options, there could be no conflicts. An ability was also provided to edit the Registry direct (Regedit) but this is a scary business - make a mistake and the whole OS may stop working. This is where the Control Panel comes into its own.
|The idea of the Control Panel is to make it easy for anyone to alter the program's configuration options. The Control Panel applet (a term nicked from the Macintosh) reads the Registry values and presents this - possibly vast - info visually using tick-boxes, option boxes, drop-down lists, text-boxes, help-screens and so on. After all, why have to remember vast lists of obscure values when it can all be provided in a visual format and changed with a few mouse clicks? There's only 2 reasons that I can think of...
First, none of these 3 programs provide Control Panel applets. All provide configuration files - it's just like going back 10 years. The programmers have tried to help by putting lots (and lots) of text into the files explaining the options, but this just serves to put large distance between inter-connecting options and make them difficult to find. This is fine, of course, if you understand all the obscure options inside-out, but a nightmare if you don't. I've spent hours & hours reading through lots & lots of files trying to gets to grips with all this.
|OK - what are the 2 reasons above? (check shields are still up & that the Warp drive is ready)