In our last part of the tools for web design series – kc web design Kent tools for web design – part 5 – we spoke about a few other bits a bobs we use here at kc web design Kent when designing websites. In this article I’ll be speaking about local development tools we use.
When designing and building a website locally on a Mac there are a few essential tools needed to setup a server-like hosting environment that will allow you to run websites such as WordPress and Expression Engine locally on your Mac. To start with we need to make sure that any web design project that needs to run on PHP and MySQL can be worked on without having to run expensive servers in your office or constantly connecting to remote servers. It’s much easier sometimes to develop locally then upload to the hosting server once the website is almost finished. To get things working locally here at kc web design Kent we use a few key tools…
MAMP is a PHP/Apache/MySQL stack that allows local websites to run in a basic server setup. Installing MAMP is easy and its also easy to setup. There is a free version that allows you to work on one website at a time but the paid Pro version allows multiple sites and its well worth the small fee as it make working on multiple web design projects a lot easier. At kc web design Kent we have come up against a few issues with permissions before so it always good to check the website permissions in MAMP if you have any problems such as doing automatic upgrades of WordPress via FTP locally. You may also need to play around with host files on any PC emulators you’re using to be able to view you’re local websites on your test machines but there are plenty of articles around that explain how to do this.
Testing your locally built website designs is also very important and at kc web design Kent we use VirtualBox. It’s free and in my opinion it out performs Parallels by a mile. We used to use Parallels but it was slow and buggy whereas VirtualBox is fast and easy to use. Its also very easy to download pre-configured machines to test out different server set-ups and easy to get copies of Linux for browser testing on.
We doing a lot of local web design work it essential to have a good MySQL GUI as you’ll end up doing a lot of fiddling. Sequel Pro is free and absolutely the best MySQL client there is out there. Get it now, there’s no need to use anything else, especially not a paid app!