Quick and Dirty WordPress Development

Lately, I’ve been working on updating a few of the websites I host.

My usual style is to ssh into my remote host and edit directly, or once in a while via sFTP. Occasionally, that feels a bit too removed – I’d rather implement and test quick-and-dirty changes quickly, without having to make sure I’m still connected, sign in again, edit, test, etc.

I found myself itching to make a local copy of the site I was working on right here on my laptop, but the site uses WordPress, which also requires MySQL, plus there are some tweaks to make (see http://maestric.com/doc/mac/apache_php_mysql_snow_leopard ), and so forth.

I cheated. I went looking for a combo MySQL/Wordpress installer.

What I found was a “sandbox”. Bitnami’s WordPress ‘stack’ installs all the files needed to run a full-blown WordPress, including PHP and MySQL, in a self-contained folder. One 3-click install and a quick link/shortcut/alias later, and I could just “cd” into my installation, or manipulate the files through the Finder (or on Windows, Explorer).

I can now develop to my heart’s content even when completely offline. I could of course do this anyway by installing MySQL and WordPress (PHP is already there), but there is always the possibility that system updates might break one or more interdependencies between the tools.

Added bonus? Bitnami is free.