In Chapter 1, you installed 7 either MAMP for Mac OS X or WAMP for Windows. That collection of programs, all conveniently bundled together, gave you not just PHP but also MySQL, plus an Apache web server and a few other goodies like phpMyAdmin and SQLiteManager. It’s easy to install and lets you control all your programs from a centralized manager.
On the other hand, convenience almost always costs you control. In the case of WAMP, you lose the ability to pick a specific version of PHP. In fact, you’re often going to end up with a version of PHP that’s several months behind the latest stable release, simply because that’s the amount of time it takes the good folks at WAMP to update their bundle to that release. (For more information on releases, see the box on Take Control of Your PHP Installation.)
Most of the time, none of this is an issue. But, as you become more familiar with PHP (and more advanced) you might want to take back some of the control you gave up for the convenience of WAMP. If that’s the case, then you’ll want to install PHP manually, and this appendix instructs you how.