TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Panther Roars, Database Meows

Volume Number: 19 (2003)
Issue Number: 12
Column Tag: Programming

UNTANGLING THE WEB

Panther Roars, Database Meows

by Kevin Hemenway

Panther worth your time? Databases besides Filemaker? Pffffttt.

Panther worth your time? Databases besides Filemaker? Pffffttt.

"What's new in Panther?" you shout with mindless adulation, anxious saliva and drool waiting to soil the pages of your newest MacTech. Bad news, bub: absolutely nothing: nothing to write about, nothing to justify your upgrading, nothing worth your time, effort, or worrisome heart palpitations. I was hoping I could pound out a peck of pickled pages on pathetic Panther proselytizing, but no, Apple has spurned my deadly Shaolin technique.

I am, of course, talking specifically about web serving.

Mr. Piser, I Think You Should Come Up Here

Sure, a lot of other incredible drool-worthy stuff has happened in the latest OS: Expose, word completion in certain applications (via Option-Escape or F5), FileVault for the paranoids, gcc 3.3 and distributed building, a finished version of X11, Xcode, blah, blah, blah. But web serving? Nothing, nadda, zilch. Happily, this is not really a negative--it's hard to improve on something that was nearly perfect in the first place (of course, this all depends on your needs, desires, and expectations).

Which isn't to say there's nothing new with the Apache web server and its related technology... just nothing monumental, merely incremental, ornamental, and supplemental. I'd have loved to see Apache 2.0 and MySQL 4.0, but let's cover the relevant changes we got instead. Note that I'll only cover areas we've touched upon in the previous columns: explaining the differences between features we've yet to use isn't very productive. When the time comes, if there are crucial differences between Jaguar and Panther, I'll address them.

  • Apache is now version 1.3.28; the latest available for Jaguar was 1.3.27. 1.3.28 is mostly a security and bugfix release so, although welcome, there's nothing to really get excited about. If you're interested in the specifics and technicalities, you can read the sordid details at http://www.apache.org/dist/httpd/CHANGES_1.3 (which also lists modifications for the just-released, as of this writing, 1.3.29).

  • The output of httpd -V (which shows what Apache has been compiled with) includes a new entry: -D DYNAMIC_MODULE_LIMIT=64. This is a standard Apache compile-time setting, and controls how many modules can be dynamically loaded (fairly obvious, eh?). "64" is the standard Apache default; its explicit definition here is unnecessary (but there's no harm in doing so). More info at http://httpd.apache.org/dev/apidoc/apidoc_DYNAMIC_MODULE_LIMIT.html.

    <
  • Our included PHP is now version 4.3.2 (as grep PHP /var/log/httpd/error_log confirms). Even though 4.3.4 or higher will probably be available by the time you read this, a number of good security, performance, and language enhancements were made from 4.1.2 (the latest Jaguar version) onward. Most notably, PEAR (the "PHP Extension and Application Repository") is now part of PHP by default, although it seems to be broken in 10.3--see "Homework Malignments" below for analysis.

    The PHP configuration has been improved in /etc/httpd.conf. Under Apache 1.3.27, we had the AddModule and LoadModule lines, as well as AddType's for .php and .phps (see last month's Untangling the Web). We've got the same thing in 1.3.28, but they've been slightly improved (Listing 1). First, the MIME types are more tightly defined--they'll only come into play when the PHP module is loaded (IfModule is a simple conditional... if mod_php was loaded, then do this). The second improvement is the addition of index.php to the DirectoryIndex, which allows that file to be served by default when someone requests a directory (http://disobey.com/example/).

  • As you'd expect from a new PHP install, the <? phpinfo(); ?> we learned about last issue is different (Figure 1). Along with a heavier command line that explicitly enables a few features, the configuration file (php.ini) has moved from /usr/lib/ to /etc/, an arguably smarter location. If you've installed the recommended php.ini (http://cvs.php.net/co.php/php-src/php.ini-recommended), be sure to move it and restart Apache (sudo apachectl restart). Even with the upgrade, the default Apple-supplied PHP doesn't come close to the number of features and built-ins provided by Liyanage's version (http://www.entropy.ch/software/macosx/php/) or Server Logistics' Complete PHP (http://www.serverlogistics.com/php4.php).

  • Perl, which we talked about during our two CGI articles, has been upgraded to 5.8.1-RC3; the final version of 5.8.1 has since been released. If you already know a thing or two about Perl, be forewarned that any modules you've compiled under Jaguar's 5.6.0 (like XML::Parser, HTML::Parser, Compress::Zlib, etc.) will need to be reinstalled, as the two different Perls are not binary compatible. Also note that cpan, similar to perl -MCPAN -esomething, is also available (find out more with man cpan).

Listing 1: Configuring PHP under Panther

The improved PHP configuration from httpd.conf

<IfModule mod_php4.c>
      # If php is turned on, we respect .php and .phps files.
      AddType application/x-httpd-php .php
      AddType application/x-httpd-php-source .phps
      # Since most users will want index.php to work we
      # also automatically enable index.php
      <IfModule mod_dir.c>
            DirectoryIndex index.html index.php
      </IfModule>
</IfModule>


Figure 1: The output of PHP 4.3.2's phpinfo() under Panther.

Wait, Wait, Hold Up Dog... MySQL?

"Apache 2.0 and MySQL 4.0?" What's this MySQL (http://www.mysql.com/) thingy thing? Quite simply, it's your new Filemaker or 4D, only without the pretty pictures. Pronounced my-ess-que-ell, it's one of the most popular free and open sourced databases, installed and readily available to most web hosting accounts you'd normally pay monthly fees for. It's also installed by default in Apple's Mac OS X Server. Another, arguably stronger, database program is PostgreSQL (http://www.pgsql.com/) but, in a move sure to flirt with disaster, I'll rudely ignore it for most of my Untangling the Web columns. Enough emails convincing me otherwise will certainly sway my decision.

Since this column assumes you're not using OS X Server, our first step is to install MySQL. Incidentally, this is also the most complicated, not because it's difficult, but because there are so many different directions in which to approach it:

  • Compile the Source Code: The geekiest among us will take MySQL's raw source code and compile it from scratch. This is the approach taken by Jay Greenspan in his Apple Internet Developer article (http://developer.apple.com/internet/macosx/osdb.html). Incidentally, I offered the same approach in a similar web-serving series for 10.1: http://www.macdevcenter.com/pub/a/mac/2002

    /03/08/apache_mac_5.html. While compiling from source gives you ultimate control, I've yet to see a situation that wasn't adequately handled by using a pre-packaged version (below).

  • Install the Official Binary: MySQL provides Mac OS X double-clickable installers in "Standard", "Max", or "Debug" varieties (http://www.mysql.com/downloads/mysql-4.0.html). "Standard" is recommended for most, "Max" contains features that have yet to be fully tested, and "Debug" is suicidal for production environments. If you're always anxious for a double-clickable of the latest version in a timely fashioned, you can't do better than using the officials.

  • Install Using a Package System: If you're a fan of automated installers like Fink (http://fink.sourceforge.net/) or DarwinPorts (http://www.opendarwin.org/), there's probably a MySQL package waiting for you (for fink: fink list mysql; for DarwinPorts, check the "databases" category). Package systems can usually upgrade everything you've installed in one fell-swoop (fink selfupdate and fink update-all, for example), and they're one of the easiest ways to uninstall a package too (something that most other alternatives have no equivalent).

  • Install an Unofficial Binary: Various user-created double-clickables exist, most notably ServerLogistics' Complete MySQL (http://www.serverlogistics.com/mysql.php). While not "official", they're often "value-added" in some way, and Complete MySQL is no different: it comes with a handy System Preference pane for controlling MySQL (Figure 3), a Mac OS X StartupItem (see "Homework Malignments" for some tips on building your own; the official binary also ships with one), and various drivers for database connectivity with ODBC or JDBC. Unofficial binaries may not be updated as regularly as the official releases, and you run the risk of them not being continued at all (due to lack of interest, impetus, or inspiration).

Which adventure should you embark on? As much as I like the thrills of a shiny new "official" release, the added treasure of ServerLogistics' unofficial binary can save you a couple of steps in your initial exploration. Regardless which path you choose to install MySQL, its continued configuration and administration is the same: you can use the command line to do everything, or nearly everything through GUIs (like CocoaMySQL, phpMyAdmin, etc.) or code (like PHP). We'll cover CocoaMySQL (http://cocoamysql.sourceforge.net/) and PHP database coding (http://www.php.net/mysql) in our next column and, if there's time, possibly phpMyAdmin (http://www.phpmyadmin.net/).

Installing Complete MySQL

Complete MySQL comes with a rather verbose installation document, but we'll cover the process quickly here. Go ahead and download the latest version (4.0.15 at the time of this writing; the latest official release is 4.0.16). Extract and mount, double-click the MySQL.pkg, agree to everything, and pause for a second when you get to the "Select a Destination" screen.

It continually surprises me how many people don't know about the File > Show Files command. Within any installer built using Apple's package system, you can always get a list of the files that are about to installed simply by choosing that menu item (Figure 2 shows the file lists for both the official MySQL binary and Complete MySQL). The list can be saved, printed, and used as a roadmap if, and when, you want to uninstall the package (though some creative license will need to be applied to find out where the package's root install directory is, represented as ./).


Figure 2: Using "Show Files" gives you a roadmap for uninstalling in the future.

Once the Installer finishes, you should be able to browse to /Library/MySQL and see a bunch of newly added files. Likewise, you should notice that a MySQL StartupItem has been installed into /Library/StartupItems. Note that even though MySQL has successfully been installed, it has not been automatically started... there's still some initialization to do.

Next, install the MySQL Preference Pane. Since I alone will be administrating MySQL, I've dragged my copy into /Users/morbus/Library/PreferencePanes/; if you'd like it accessible to any user on the machine, choose /Library/PreferencePanes/ instead. Once it's in place, open up your System Preferences, and choose the new "MySQL" item (Figure 3).


Figure 3: The newly installed MySQL Preference Pane.

To finalize your installation of MySQL, you'll want to first "Initialize" the database, than assign a password to the MySQL root user. MySQL database users have nothing to do with users that you've created within OS X, so don't get them confused. Once MySQL has been initialized, "Start" the server, then "Set Root Password" (Figure 4).


Figure 4: Setting MySQL's root password in the MySQL Preference Pane.

We can ensure that MySQL is running a few different ways: by checking the newly created logfiles (at /Library/MySQL/data/computername.local.err; you'll need to authenticate as an administrative user to do so), or by checking the currently running processes via the shell (ps auwx) or Panther's Activity Monitor (Figure 5), a much improved replacement for Jaguar's Process Viewer. If you've got hundreds of processes, use the "Filter" input to narrow in on "mysql".


Figure 5: Verify MySQL is running with Panther's Activity Viewer

Homework Malignments

In our next column, we'll look into interacting with our new MySQL database: administrative tasks from the command line, visual interaction with GUI-based tools like CocoaMySQL, inserting and manipulating database records with PHP, and more. We'll really just be scratching the surface on what's possible, but it'll give you enough knowledge to start your own database project, or feel relatively confident about installing someone else's. For now, students may contact the teacher at morbus@disobey.com.

  • Who's in the attic?

  • In non-Panther versions of OS X, Apple manually installed the optional PEAR, as well as a number of PEAR-released modules, into /System/Library/PHP. In Panther, they probably opted not to do this since PEAR became a default PHP extension. Unfortunately, it appears that the PEAR installation under 10.3 is incomplete (witness the "missing System.php" complaint when running /usr/bin/pear). Simply copying an existing System.php from Jaguar won't work, so you'll want to grab the latest from http://cvs.php.net/cvs.php/php-src/pear/System.php. Save this file to your Desktop and copy it into place with sudo cp ~/Desktop/System.php /usr/lib/php. You should then be able to run PEAR without a problem (list PEAR modules currently installed with sudo pear list).

  • Every time Mac OS X boots, zillions of things occur... a fair portion of this zillion is controlled by StartupItems, files that say what should run and when. To create your own StartupItems, take a look at "Creating SystemStarter Startup Item Bundles" (http://www.opensource.apple.com/projects/documentation/howto/html/SystemStarter_HOWTO.html) and "Start Me Up: Writing and Understanding OS X StartupItems" (http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/mac/2003/10/21/startup.html).

  • If you're interested in seeing what the MySQL PreferencePane actually does for you, the installation PDF provided with Complete MySQL has the command line equivalents.


Kevin Hemenway, coauthor of Mac OS X Hacks and Spidering Hacks, is better known as Morbus Iff, the creator of disobey.com, which bills itself as "content for the discontented." Publisher and developer of more home cooking than you could ever imagine (like the popular open-sourced aggregator AmphetaDesk, the best-kept gaming secret Gamegrene.com, the ever ignorable Nonsense Network, etc.), he is absolutely and positively disgusted by the lack of Jolt cola within walking distance. Contact him at morbus@disobey.com.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Google Earth 7.1.8.3036 - View and contr...
Google Earth gives you a wealth of imagery and geographic information. Explore destinations like Maui and Paris, or browse content from Wikipedia, National Geographic, and more. Google Earth combines... Read more
QuickBooks 16.1.11.1556 R12 - Financial...
QuickBooks helps you manage your business easily and efficiently. Organize your finances all in one place, track money going in and out of your business, and spot areas where you can save. Built for... Read more
FileZilla 3.24.0 - Fast and reliable FTP...
FileZilla (ported from Windows) is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface. Version 3.24.0: New The context menu for remote file search... Read more
Bookends 12.7.8 - Reference management a...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Bookends uses the cloud to sync reference libraries on all the Macs you use.... Read more
Duplicate Annihilator 5.8.3 - Find and d...
Duplicate Annihilator takes on the time-consuming task of comparing the images in your iPhoto library using effective algorithms to make sure that no duplicate escapes. Duplicate Annihilator detects... Read more
BusyContacts 1.1.6 - Fast, efficient con...
BusyContacts is a contact manager for OS X that makes creating, finding, and managing contacts faster and more efficient. It brings to contact management the same power, flexibility, and sharing... Read more
MarsEdit 3.7.10 - Quick and convenient b...
MarsEdit is a blog editor for OS X that makes editing your blog like writing email, with spell-checking, drafts, multiple windows, and even AppleScript support. It works with with most blog services... Read more
BusyCal 3.1.4 - Powerful calendar app wi...
BusyCal is an award-winning desktop calendar that combines personal productivity features for individuals with powerful calendar sharing capabilities for families and workgroups. Its unique features... Read more
VirtualBox 5.1.14 - x86 virtualization s...
VirtualBox is a family of powerful x86 virtualization products for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers... Read more
Bookends 12.7.8 - Reference management a...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Bookends uses the cloud to sync reference libraries on all the Macs you use.... Read more

Super Mario Run dashes onto Android in M...
Super Mario Run was one of the biggest mobile launches in 2016 before it was met with a lukewarm response by many. While the game itself plays a treat, it's pretty hard to swallow the steep price for the full game. With that said, Android users... | Read more »
WarFriends Beginner's Guide: How to...
Chillingo's new game, WarFriends, is finally available world wide, and so far it's a refreshing change from common mobile game trends. The game's a mix of tower defense, third person shooter, and collectible card game. There's a lot to unpack here... | Read more »
Super Gridland (Entertainment)
Super Gridland 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Entertainment Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Match. Build. Survive. "exquisitely tuned" - Rock Paper Shotgun No in-app purches, and no ads! | Read more »
Red's Kingdom (Games)
Red's Kingdom 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Mad King Mac has kidnapped your father and stolen your golden nut! Solve puzzles and battle goons as you explore and battle your... | Read more »
Turbo League Guide: How to tame the cont...
| Read more »
Fire Emblem: Heroes coming to Google Pla...
Nintendo gave us our first look at Fire Emblem: Heroes, the upcoming mobile Fire Emblem game the company hinted at last year. Revealed at the Fire Emblem Direct event held today, the game will condense the series' tactical RPG combat into bite-... | Read more »
ReSlice (Music)
ReSlice 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $9.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Audio Slice Machine Slice your audio samples with ReSlice and create flexible musical atoms which can be triggered by MIDI notes or... | Read more »
Stickman Surfer rides in with the tide t...
Stickson is back and this time he's taken up yet another extreme sport - surfing. Stickman Surfer is out this Thursday on both iOS and Android, so if you've been following the other Stickman adventures, you might be interested in picking this one... | Read more »
Z-Exemplar (Games)
Z-Exemplar 1.4 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.4 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
5 dastardly difficult roguelikes like th...
Edmund McMillen's popular roguelike creation The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth has finally crawled onto mobile devices. It's a grotesque dual-stick shooter that tosses you into an endless, procedurally generated basement as you, the pitiable Isaac,... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Twelve South Releases RelaxedLeather Cases fo...
Inspired by the laid-back luxury of burnished leather boots and crafted in rich tones of taupe, herb and marsala, RelaxedLeather cases deliver smart, easy protection for the iPhone 7. Each genuine... Read more
Week’s Best Deal: New 2016 13-inch 2.0GHz Mac...
Amazon has the new 2016 13″ 2.0GHz non-Touch Bar MacBook Pros on sale for a limited time for $225 off MSRP including free shipping: - 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pro, Space Gray (MLL42LL/A): $1274.99 $225 off... Read more
Back in stock: Apple refurbished Mac minis fr...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac minis available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
Apple Ranked ‘Most Intimate Brand’
The top ranked ‘”intimate” brands continued to outperform the S&P and Fortune 500 indices in revenue and profit over the past 10 years, according to MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2017 Report, the largest... Read more
B-Eng introduces SSD Health Check for Mac OS
Fehraltorf, Switzerland based independant Swiss company- B-Eng has announced the release and immediate availability of SSD Health Check 1.0, the company’s new hard drive utility for Mac OS X. As the... Read more
Apple’s Education discount saves up to $300 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free: -... Read more
4-core 3.7GHz Mac Pro on sale for $2290, save...
Guitar Center has the 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro (MD253LL/A) on sale for $2289.97 including free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Their price is a $710 savings over standard MSRP for... Read more
128GB Apple iPad Air 2, refurbished, availabl...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 128GB iPad Air 2s WiFis available for $419 including free shipping. That’s an $80 savings over standard MSRP for this model. A standard Apple one-year warranty is... Read more
13-inch 2.7GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 2015 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina Apple MacBook Pro on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro (MF839LL/A): $... Read more
Laptop Market – Flight To Quality? – The ‘Boo...
Preliminary quarterly PC shipments data released by Gartner Inc. last week reveal an interesting disparity between sales performance of major name PC vendors as opposed to that of less well-known... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- Deer Pa...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Technician - nfrastructure (United S...
Let’s Work Together Apple Technician This position is based in Portland, ME Life at nfrastructure At nfrastructure, we understand that our success results from our Read more
*Apple* Mobile Master - Best Buy (United Sta...
**467692BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobile Master **Location Number:** 000602-Columbia MO-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Mobile Master Read more
*Apple* MAC Infrastructure Engineer - InnoCo...
Summary: Responsible for all aspects of Apple Desktop hardware. This includes research, design, test, and deploy technologies being researched by the desktop Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.