Standing here today, anyone would agree that the web is the future! And web application development is the future of software engineering. Given the demand we have today for web development, building web based solutions is already a lucrative job in the wild. If we look at the web hosting providers, we shall notice that majority of the web hosts offer Linux hosting at a very cheap rate. Why is that so? Because Linux is free and open source. The operating system is also stable and powerful . So it is very likely that your clients want to do their web projects on the Linux platform. In this age, we don’t need to discuss the popularity of PHP. It is now the de-facto scripting language for web automations. And for database?  MySQL is another very popular choice which has proven track records in performance and stability when it comes to relational database management solutions. While Linux has many web servers for it, Apache is the clear winner with more than 40% of market share. So, thus evolve the killing web development platform – LAMP which stands for Linux, Apache,  MySQL and PHP. It is the most popular platform for web development today and thousands and millions of web sites and web apps are being built on top of it.

LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP)

Well, the LAMP stack is cool, so how does that matter to me? It matters.  If you’re an average web developer there is every chance you work on Microsoft Windows. The architecture of the Linux operating system differs from the Microsoft Windows operating system in many ways. For example the naming of files are case sensitive on Linux, on Windows we don’t have to bother about that. Again on Linux there are different user permissions which have been present in the latest version of MS Windows but still in a significantly different way. I have seen people stumbling on these issues and becoming clueless. So I highly recommend – if you are a web developer, get used to the Linux world, get used to the LAMP stack and build some awesome web applications on this awesome platform.

When I say that, when I talk about crafting some super cool solutions on the LAMP stack, your absent mind might start visualizing a long haired geeky guy storming his keyboard on the command line of a Linux terminal. Ah, now thats a nightmare! Isn’t it? Don’t get worried, Linux has changed a lot. It is no longer a “command line only” operating system, we now have eye candy visual styles on the graphical user interfaces of the most popular linux distributions. But don’t fear the command line or what is commonly known as the terminal – it’ll give you powers beyond your imagination. Get used to the terminal and you’ll love every key stroke on it.

If you think what I have written so far makes sense and you want to try the LAMP platform, I am going to help you with some brief guidelines. To start working, first we need to install Linux on our computer. Out of the many different versions of the Linux operating system, I shall recommend you “Ubuntu Linux”. Ubuntu has a special type of installation method named “Wubi”. It lets you install Ubuntu as a normal software inside Windows. We shall use this method. This way, you can try out the Linux OS and the LAMP platform without making any major changes to your system.  Lets follow these simple steps to install the Linux operating system on our workstation:

1) Get Ubuntu:

You can download the Windows Installer and double click on it to start the install Ubuntu inside your Microsoft Windows. After installation completes, restart the machine and you’ll see an entry for Ubuntu in the boot menu. Select that entry and press enter to login to Ubuntu.

2) Understanding Software Repositories:

Ubuntu, like most linux operating systems provide the facility to install softwares from their online repositories. It makes software management easy. You select what you need and the everything will download and install automatically. For the first time use, we need to fetch the list of the available software repositories and update the local list.

So, from the top menu bar we go to : Applications > Accessories > Terminal. Now type the following command and press enter:

sudo apt-get update

After this the list will be updated and you’ll see the details on your screen.

3) Installing LAMP Server:

Now, we are ready to install LAMP Server on Ubuntu. We already have a terminal open. Just type this line there and press enter:

sudo apt-get install lamp-server^

Wait until it finishes and then we have a lamp server setup on our machine. It will ask for different configuration options while installing, please take your time and carefully answer those. After everything is done properly, please visit: http://localhost on firefox. You can launch the firefox browser by navigating to: Applications > Internet > Firefox.

Please note that the document root of the server is: /var/www. The user “root” owns this directory. You might want to change the ownership so that you have full access. Type the following code on a terminal and press enter:

sudo nautilus /var

It’ll open the /var directory with root permission. Now right click on the “www” directory and go to the “Permissions” tab to change ownership and tweak any other permission requirements.

That’s it! We now have a working lamp server on our pc and we’re ready to take advantage of the powerful LAMP stack.