Chapter 2. Setting Up a Development Server

If you wish to develop internet applications but don’t have your own development server, you will have to upload every modification you make to a server somewhere else on the web before you can test it.

Even on a fast broadband connection, this can still represent a significant slowdown in development time. On a local computer, however, testing can be as easy as saving an update (usually just a matter of clicking once on an icon) and then hitting the Refresh button in your browser.

Another advantage of a development server is that you don’t have to worry about embarrassing errors or security problems while you’re writing and testing, whereas you need to be aware of what people may see or do with your application when it’s on a public website. It’s best to iron everything out while you’re still on a home or small office system, presumably protected by firewalls and other safeguards.

Once you have your own development server, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without one, and it’s easy to set one up. Just follow the steps in the following sections, using the appropriate instructions for a PC, a Mac, or a Linux system.

In this chapter, we cover just the server side of the web experience, as described in Chapter 1. But to test the results of your work—particularly when we start using JavaScript, CSS, and HTML5 later in this book—you should ideally have an instance of every major web browser running on some system convenient to you. Whenever ...

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