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Thread: php 4 or 5?

  1. #1
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    php 4 or 5?

    I just switched web hosts from SBC to Netfirms. I really like Netfirms but the e-commerce store is based on php. OK, I guess I will be learning php as quick as I can.

    Anyway my question is this. I can choose between php 4 and 5. Should I leave at the default of 4, or should I go ahead and switch to 5? Is php 5 supported by the major browsers. I am not sure how new 5 is.

    Any input is appreciated.
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  2. #2
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    Most PHP5 scripts are backwards compatible with PHP4 see http://www.php.net/manual/en/migrati...compatible.php for those that arent.

    If you are testing your scripts on your own server then I would choose the same PHP version on Netfirms that you are using on your own server. In other words stay with PHP4 (which has been more tested) unless you have a specific reason to change.

    The browsers wont mind which one you use; it is the server side actions that will write the html for the browsers to parse. When you view the source of a php page (client side) all you will see is the html and no php.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks Paul. I will stick with 4.

    I haven't installed php on my computer yet. I am going to but was wondering if there is any security issues with installing the server and all that.

    Hmm, I guess it would just be a matter of locking it down with the firewall. No need for it to access the internet if I am just using it locally. Sorry if it is a silly question, I am very new to php, servers and databases. HTML and CSS are no problem. OK time for the crash course in php.
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  4. #4
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    One more question. Do you recommend installing Apache, MySQL and PHP individually? Or using an "all in one" package for development purposes?

    I was looking at Xampp. It seems to have a very good member rating at php.net.

    Thanks for your time Paul.
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  5. #5
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    I can't recommend the book "PHP and MySQL Web Development," by Welling and Thomson, highly enough. IMHO, it is an absolute must have reference. The included CD contains the Apache, PHP, and MySQL server installs. It also has the entire book in digital format, as well as digital versions of every single example in the book.

    Having never used any of these technologies, but being experienced with server-side scripting and RDBMS, this is the only book I needed to get up and running right away. Obviously it takes a while to get proficient, but getting started was simple and didn't require any downloads. I've got the 2nd edition by the same authors, so it surely is going to be pretty much the same text.

    MySQL and PHP work great together, and pretty much all worthy references talk of them as a team. They're most commonly run on the Apache webserver, but this book shows you how to install them on IIS as well. I suggest avoiding the all-in-one solutions, and buying this book straight away. Eclipse is a well respected, open source IDE you can use to develop your site. You can get a free copy of it from SourceForge.net.

    http://www.bookpool.com/sm/0672326728

  6. #6
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    I use IIS because one just enables it from Add/Remove Windows Components in WinXP (simple and easy). I run a firewall and only have a dynamic IP address on-line so not that concerned by security. PHP and MySQL both come with pretty good HTML manuals - after that there's loads of info on the web in all the usual places with Google Groups often being good for a thorny problem.

    PHP is really a pretty small download and a snitch to install (with the windows installer). You may want to or have to tweak a couple of settings in the <system folder>/php.ini file but it's not what I would call an invasive install.

    With that much done/configured you can run your sripts but remember to access them from http://yourpcsname and not directly from MyComputer.

    If you are not going to be using MySQL as a backend database there's little functional reason to install it. Installation is the easy part - using and administering it is not so straightforward and if you just want to use the Netfirms utilites (commerce and BBs) its not necessary since they come with their own ready to use on-line administrative tools. Of course if you do want to access it with your own scripts to test and learn the stuff that's another matter.
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  7. #7
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    Thanks for the tips. I have been wanting to learn PHP for some time now but I didn't really want to do it now. LOL. I guess it's going to be awhile before I get my store back up and running. Oh well, people can call or email if they want to order something. I will have a full site as soon as I get around to removing the old softcart tags, just without a store function till I get everything sorted out.

    Thanks again. Wish me luck and speed in learning.
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  8. #8
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    I also chose to go the IIS route locally. I use Cold Fusion, which has an Apache install, but I also wanted to teach myself some ASP flavors, and get proficient with MS SQL Server in addition to MS Access. All of the webhosts that I have used offer either Windows or a *nix flavor hosting option.

    The Unix options always seem to offer MySQL for use with PHP, and the CF options can go either way. If you want to go with Access/MS SQL support, there is almost always a significant price increase for a Windows based server. Licensing expense is a real obvious reason, but my choice to install MySQL locally was one of necessity.

    I got a special deal offering 20gigs of storage, and 500 gigs/mo of transfer for $9.95 a month for life. It was an easy choice, but forced me to learn MySQL too. I'll wager your host will charge a lot more for MS database hosting too.

    If this is the case, you won't be able to run the pages you're developing locally without MySQL. You'll have to upload every single change to the server for testing. At the very least you'll also expand your skill set, which typically translates into a financial benefit with respect to gainful employment. Have some confidence in your capabilities and give it a shot. If you can't make it work, you'll be able to uninstall.

    If MySQL is the only available option with your host, you'll still need to learn how to create and manipulate table structure and permissions. There are some really nice free GUI admin tools available nowadays as well.

  9. #9
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    MySQL is the only option. That's good enough for me right now for certain. It is a good plan though. 20GB space and 750GB transfer per month. Five e-commerce stores, five BB's, 100 email, and 30 databases. All the goodies like domain forwarding, subdomains etc., for $9.95 a month. Vast improvement over my outdated, overpriced SBC account. Hell I had a limit of 15 products I could sell. Now I can sell all my products the way I want.

    All I really want to do at the moment is be able to develop my site on my computer without having to upload to the server to see the changes. My first priority is get my store up and running so customers can purchase online again.

    If I had known I was going to have to learn PHP I would have used one of my two free domain names from Netfirms as a secondary domain to develop my new site, and kept the old one at SBC until it was ready. Then switched my primary domain over to netfirms.

    The fortunate thing is my slowest time of year is pretty much here.
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  10. #10
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    Here is a very nice, open-source, web-based, admin tool for MySQL. You can use it to work with your local databases much more easily than the intimidating command prompt. You may also be able to use it to connect to your db at NetFirms, but that depends on what the host supports. My host already has it installed and configured for use with my dbs hosted there.

    http://www.phpmyadmin.net/home_page/index.php

  11. #11
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    My host already has it installed and configured for use with my dbs
    phpmyadmin is also pre-configured and used by Netfirms.

    As well as GUI tools such as WinMySQLAdmin you can use MyODBC and then interface directly using MSAccess (or other front end) to manipulate the tables.

    These tools make manipulating the data much easier but learning to use the command line may have benefits for the learning curve in that any php scripts you write to access the databases are based on a command line structure.

    Of course the other aspect you must get to grips with is SQL itself. If for no other reaon, MSAccess can be helpful in getting to grips with SQL. You can design queries simply using the MSAccess Design Views and then switch to SQL view to see how its "command" has been structured. That specific SQL Query will not be identical to one for MySQL but can still be very helpful in learning the various constructs or for writing out the text which you can copy/paste and modify for your own use.
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  12. #12
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    Was looking for something else and came across This Page which has just about all the basic advice and links for getting started with WAMP(P)! So I thought I might as well post it here.



    I then I came across another great resource for free stuff (with webmasters in mind) at: http://www.thefreecountry.com/sitemap.shtml




    And I might as well include the on-line PHP manual while I'm at it.
    Last edited by Paul Komski; 12-10-2005 at 07:26 PM. Reason: free webmaster stuff added
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  13. #13
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    Thanks Paul. The first link looks very helpful for me. I am having trouble. Can't seem to get PHP to parse the page. I have tried both XAMPP and IIS. It just prompts to download the file.

    I know it's because I don't have it configured right. I was hoping to just install XAMPP so I could get up and running right away, but I guess I will have do some heavy reading. I usually like to jump head first into these kinds of things. Nothing like going ahead and getting your hands dirty to start learning. But I guess that isn't going to work for this.

    I'm going to follow the directions in the link so I can get this thing going.

    Thanks again Paul.
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  14. #14
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    It just prompts to download the file.
    When you use the same browser to view the pages at the PCGuide forums (and other web sites using .php pages) I suspect your browser parses them OK and doesnt prompt to download. So I suspect you are viewing them from explorer and not from http://... (remember me saying "but remember to access them from http://yourpcsname"). What happens if you simply enter localhost (the alternative to your actual pc's name ) into the address bar. That should startup the default homepage of your configured lan-based web. Let's say that is an index.htm page. You would now need to put a link to your php page on that index.htm or default.htm or etc etc page and click on the link to emulate accessing an on-line webpage.

    htm will open from explorer or from a web but php must be opened from a web so that the server has to parse it "server side".


    PS
    With IIS you can use its own snap-in (run %windir%/system32/inetsrv/iis.msc or find it in compmgmt.msc) and then configure the Default WebSite's Propeties (HomeDirectory and Documents) to suit you own real hard drive location.
    Last edited by Paul Komski; 12-10-2005 at 10:41 PM. Reason: PS added
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  15. #15
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    Yes I did that. http://pcname etc., and I tried http://localhost as well. I went into IIS manager and made a virtual directory and everything. And with XAMPP I put the web files in the correct folder.

    I believe the server is running fine because I enabled "browse directory" while using IIS just to check and that works just fine. So I'm guessing it must be something I have to do to PHP.


    You would now need to put a link to your php page on that index.htm or default.htm or etc etc page and click on the link to emulate accessing an on-line webpage.
    Hmm, yes I see what you are saying now that I look at it a little closer. I will try putting a link to php page in a index.htm page and see if that makes a difference.

    I have the individual installs for Apache, MySQL and PHP. Tomorrow I will start over and install them according to the directions in the link you gave me earlier.

    BTW I don't like XAMPP. It seems to take up a lot on CPU time for some reason. Even if I stopped all the services in the control panel.

    Thanks Paul.
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  16. #16
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    I chose to install the applications manually, so I don't know anything about XAMPP. Regarding IIS, your *.php pages are being sent to your browser as the direct source code because IIS doesn't know what to do with them. It sees an unrecognized extension, and just feeds the file to your browser. The browser will render a *.txt file because it knows what they are, and how to handle them.

    To make this work, you need to modify the configuration of IIS. Go to the Computer Management Console and go into the Properties of your website. Next select the "Home Directory" tab, and click the "Configuration" button in the section marked "Application Settings."

    Under the "Mappings" tab, you'll see all of the extensions registered with IIS. These tell the webserver to route files with certain extensions to an appropriate application server for processing, before sending the rendered page to the browser. Check to see if *.php is already in the list for editing, otherwise you'll need to add a new entry. Click "Add," select the php executable (in my case the file is "php-cgi.exe"), and enter ".php" as the extension. I have the "script engine" and "check that file exists" boxes checked.

    I don't think you'll have to reboot, but you'll need to restart the WWW Publishing service. I chose the cgi version of
    PHP, rather than ISAPI, because I was having problems with processing *.php documents in virtual directories. It's something that could probably be resolved fairly easily, but I've read that the ISAPI version is a little buggy, and it wasn't that big a deal to me.

    You don't necessarily need to link into this page from an *.htm document either. Go to the "Documents" tab of your website properties, and make sure that "Enable Default Document" is checked. Now you can add a couple entries like index.php and/or default.php, which IIS will serve up based on the order of priority in your list.

    Hope this helps. Let me know how it goes.

  17. #17
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    Thanks pangea33. I already did the mapping though and it still didn't parse the PHP.

    I have Apache installed and working just a bit ago. Put in a index.htm file just to make sure it worked and it went right to like it should. So I hope when I finish the rest of the installs tomorrow everything will work.

    Thanks again.
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  18. #18
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    jlreich, are you running Apache and IIS at the same time? I've been thinking about doing this, and wondered if there would be problems. It was my suspicion that it would work fine, but would require one of the webservers to run on an alternate port. I guess Google is the obvious next step for me, but thought you might have something to add. Thanks.

  19. #19
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    jlreich you didnt say how you installed PHP. The first time I installed it I didn't go pangea33's manual route but chose the Windows installer. That way the wizards setup the server and make installation almost idiot proof. You don't have the same security or optimisation but, if you not going to serve the internet from your pc, is not all that relevant.

    Using a base index.htm file is not mandatory of course but it is (a) one of the original default files for the root of your www folder when using IIS and (b) a handy place for adding links for all your testing .php pages.

    And presumably there is a php.ini file in your Windows directory.

    If running Apache and IIS at the same time you may need to use one of them on either a different port or with a different IP address; e.g. http://www.joelhughes.com/cygwin_apache.html
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  20. #20
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    Pangea33, no I have been uninstalling everything as I change servers.

    Paul, I used the win32 installer. With IIS it it seemed to go fine, but when I did it with Apache last night it said I had to configure the server manually for some reason even though I choose Apache during setup.

    BTW I'm using PHP 4 because that's what I correctly have installed on Netfirms.
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  21. #21
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    With IIS it it seemed to go fine
    Does this mean PHP was working under IIS but not under Apache??
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  22. #22
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    No what I meant was with PHP configuring the server while installing PHP. Which makes sense now that I noticed it says it will automatically configure most servers with the exception of Apache.

    I believe I have PHP setup correctly now(manual install) since I can go to the page but get a "cannot access database server"(or similar) error. I have installed MySQL but have not configured it yet. So that is the next step. I will see what happens after that. I'm a little brain dead from it all right now so I am going to give it a break for awhile.

    On a side note I am really excited to get into this stuff. It's something I have wanted to do for awhile. I thought about trying this stuff in Suse, but thought it would just make things even more complicated. Besides I have enough on my plate right now.
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  23. #23
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    If php is set up ok the following info.php script should work (as well as giving you the info of course).

    PHP Code:
    <html>
    <body>
    <?php
    phpinfo
    ();
    ?>
    </body>
    </html>
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  24. #24
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    Thumbs up

    Nice going Paul. That worked. So at least I know PHP and Apache are configured correctly. So now I have to get MySQL configured and I should be set.

    I'm about to work on MySQL. I will let you know how it goes.

    Thanks again.
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  25. #25
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    Well I am still having problems opening index.php, but I am thinking it may be the way the database is configured in the actual page. I mean the way the ecommerce page is setup. I am going to look through the manual and they also have a forum for the osCommerce software. I will see what it says about default MySQL configs and such when it is first installed on the Netfirms servers.

    I know the server is setup right because I put my old webpages in the htdoc folder and can access them fine, even on my other computers once I set the firewall to allow it.

    I'm off for more reading..........
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    CM Hyper 212 EVO w/2x SickleFlow 120mm Red
    12x BD-ROM
    Logitech X540 5.1 Surround
    2X Acer 23" LED - Eyefinity: 3840x1080
    Microsoft Sidewinder x4 KB

    "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."
    - Albert Einstein

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