macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 21, 2012
Hi there mac pro's, wonder if i could pick your collective brains please.

I'm after a bit of a break down on all the programs and processes that i have downloaded recently on my quest to build a website.

I started in notepad just learning html and css, viewing in safari- to be honest i thought there wasn't a great deal more to it! I know, how wrong i was.

I am now learning PHP. My search now has basically led me to download and start trying to get to grips with Netbeans. From there i have been led to download MAMP, with included MySQL and apache. Running OS X 10.6.8.

Now i have a basic understanding of what these are, but not really what they do/ how they work, which is essential to progressing- feel a bit out of my depth. As in, what is the basic process of design, testing and hosting and how do these programs combine to get my site up. Is there anything else i need that i am missing? Did i/ do i really need MAMP and netbeans? Do i also need to install the 'PHP language' as such, or do i just code it and my browser recognises it? Or is this the 'P' in MAMP and i already have it?

This might sound daft, but i can find little info specifically related to what i want to know! Also, when i am actually ready to host my site, how do i get my site files to the server- do i send them to whoever has my domain name then, or is it done through my computer/ files somehow?

I would specifically like to know what exactly apache and mysql do too- i mean i think one is a server and one is a database, but what info exactly would go on a database for example... does a server hold any files of info, or just send it?!

Last thing, i would also like to know if there is any standard on saving site files to make it easier to host. like does it matter how they are arranged if they all link to each other? I guess what i'm asking is, i assume when i host my site i will just send one file to the domain people, does it matter how the inner files are arranged and saved?

Ahh, sorry, this must be frustrating to read too! If these lame n00b posts do your head in, please accept my apologies and move on, but any help, explanations or guidance VERY much appreciated! I bet loads of this is irrelevant, but just knowing that should help!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!


macrumors 68030
Oct 31, 2007
Austin, TX
You're asking a lot of questions that are all over the map. Responding to them all would take a novella at least.

Go back and figure out the first thing you feel you need to understand to progress. Just one question, and I'm sure we can help you.

I'll get you started. MAMP is essentially a standalone server implementation with Apache, PHP, and MySQL preconfigured.
It's meant to be used for testing locally, and is easy to get setup and started with.

MAMP is used because PHP is a server side language. You know how you can create an HTML file in a text editor and open it directly in the browser? Well that won't work with PHP. PHP code must be parsed by a server and then the results of the script are sent by the server to the browser. The parsing part is where MAMP comes in.

Also, don't be afraid to Google. There are tons of good tutorials out there that explain the kind of basic "getting started" questions that you have. Try looking for "Learning PHP/MySQL Tutorial".


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 21, 2012
Ok, fair one, that was a bit full on! Thank you though, that reply was helpful.

I thought someone might mention 'Google it'- I have tried this but the trouble is it's hard to find how they all work together! What needs what to function etc- if i can understand the process i can work out what i need for myself.

Cool, so then, a browser can't make sense of PHP script unless it's passed through a server first, only html. And MAMP is acting as a server on my computer, passing my parsed PHP pages to my browser.

I guess if i were to condense it i would ask the following:

-What do Apache and MySQL actually do?

-Where do databases come into all of this?

-And do i need to know anything now, before i get too far into building a site, that may save me a lot of time at the end when i realise it has to be done a certain way? I'm thinking stuff like having files arranged correctly (changing file extensions) or just anything obvious anyone may think of that might help!

Vague, frustrating, i know... sorry.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 21, 2012
WOW!! 11 hours! That's awesome, thank you, sure to find what i need in there!

I better put the kettle on and get on it then...

Thanks for the help :D


macrumors regular
Jun 6, 2007
Louisiana, United States
Do i also need to install the 'PHP language' as such, or do i just code it and my browser recognises it?

It's also important to note that PHP is never "seen" by the browser. That is to say that the user's / visitor's computer and browser have no interaction with PHP. Therefore it is considered to be "server-side" rather than "browser-side."

The information that the user's browser receives has ALREADY been passed through your PHP script before it is sent over the internet. PHP happens "server side" and then things like css and javascript are interpreted on the "user's side."

To speak a bit about MYSQL - a database is a way of holding large amounts of information. A storage room, basically. This information will then be manipulated, edited, and called upon by some server-side script (a PHP script, perhaps) so that it can be made useful for a user. You could conceivably store any type of information in your database, but some things lend themselves to this style of storage. The biggest advantage of MYSQL databases other than the organizational concept itself is the speed with which information can be accessed and manipulated.
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