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Installing a XAMPP server
When developing anything at all, be it an application, a website, or a game, the creator always has a staging area. A staging area is like a laboratory; it is meant for building and testing everything before showing it to the world. Even after releasing a game, you will first make changes in the laboratory to see if things don't blow up in your face. Blowing up in your own face is fine, but you don't want this to happen
to your gamers. Our staging area will be a local server, and during the course of this book we will use XAMPP. The X in XAMPP is an indication that this server is available for different operating systems (cross environmental, hence X).

The other characters (AMPP) stand for Apache, MySQL, PHP, and Perl. You can install XAMPP on Windows, Linux, or Mac depending on which version you download and install. There are alternatives for XAMPP such as WAMP (for Windows) and LAMP (for Linux). These alternatives are fine too, of course.
Apache is the open source web server software that enables you to run your code. MySQL is an open source database system that enables you to store and query data with the SQL language. PHP is a language that is capable of connecting the SQL commands (which can manipulate a database) to the website or game code (JavaScript). Perl is often called "the Swiss army knife of programming languages" because of its versatility in uses. Installing a XAMPP server is rather straightforward.

You can go to the following website and download the appropriate installer for your system:

After installing the XAMPP server, which is basically going through a standard installation wizard, it is time to check out the XAMPP Control Panel page.

In this panel you can see the different components of the server, which can be switched on and off. You will want to make sure that at least the Apache component is up and running. The others can be on too, but Apache is absolutely necessary for running your game.

Now go to your browser. During the course of this book we will be using the Chrome and Firefox browsers. However, it is recommended to also install the latest Internet Explorer and Safari browsers for testing. In the address bar simply type
localhost. Localhost is the default location for a locally installed server. Do you see the following XAMPP splash screen?
Well congratulations, you have successfully set up your own local server!
A known issue is the occupation of your necessary ports by IIS (Internet Information Services). You might have to disable or even remove them in order to free your ports for XAMPP.
For MAMP (M stands for Mac), it is possible that you will need to specify the port 8888 in order for it to work. So type localhost: 8888 instead of just localhost.
Summing up the preceding content, the steps will be as follows:

1. Download and install XAMMP.
2. Open the control panel and start Apache.
3. Open your browser and type localhost in the address bar.
What comes is the index of your local host server.

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