The most popular web server software in the world is Apache.  Apache is free and open source.  It works well with MySQL, a database engine and PHP, a programming environment.  Setting up a server that is “live” on the web requires a significant amount of software knowledge and configure. XAMPP overcomes all that.  XAMPP will install Apache, MySQL, PHP and Perl with one click.

XAMPP is ideal for development projects or a quick activity limited to students in a single classroom.  A teacher can download XAMPP and install it on a Windows, OSX or Linux machine.  XAMPP will run many popular web applications like WordPress and MediaWiki.  A teacher can then have students use these applications running on XAMPP to write about topics related to curriculum material and critique each other’s writing.  Students can compile information about a specific topic in a private wiki and write their own articles.  Since XAMPP runs on a computer without being connected directly to the Internet, all of this is activity is behind a school firewall and safe from public viewing.  This creates the potential for students to use social networking software without the concern of interaction with strangers in the outside world.

Since XAMPP is free, each student can install the software on her own computer.  This is the ideal development environment to learn how to create web pages and develop applications using the PHP and Perl programming languages.  Since these programming languages run on the most popular web server, the projects can easily be copied to “live” web servers that also run the Apache web server.

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