Hi, this is my first post on this list. I've never used PHP, but I'm interested in exploring it, along with MySQL and Apache server software.

Very briefly, my main focus is on designing webpages. I've been unemployed for several months and have been using my extra time to learn new computer skills, primarily Dreamweaver and Cascading Style Sheets.

I'm working with Windows XP, but I'd like to get away from Windows eventually. I got Linux installed on my computer a couple months ago, but I haven't found time to learn it yet. Then I apparently forgot part of my password, so I'm locked out! So I'm going to stick with the Windows platform for now.

I started downloading MySQL just today, when one of your members recommended I join this list. He also recommended Apache, so I checked it out and discovered that you can download pre-configured packages of PHP, MySQL and Apache at http://www.hotscripts.com/PHP/Software_and_Servers/Installation_Kits/

So here are my first questions:

1. Which package should I download - the first one (Firepages phpdev)?

2. Since this is all new to me, I don't want to do anything that will somehow screw up my other software. I don't really understand servers and would like to ask if installing Apache will give me two servers, or will it replace IIS? I just want to make sure I can continue previewing my webpages and was concerned that I might somehow screw things up if I install Apache wrong. Eventually, it would probably be nice to have Apache software up and running on a Linux platform and use IIS on the Microsoft platform when necessary.

Finally, here's an example of my immediate goal, which I understand would involve MySQL and PHP: http://www.geobop.com/marini/2.htm I want to create really nice, interactive tables featuring information on the world's nations and animals. I posted the questions on this page to a Dreamweaver group, but they indicate where I'm headed.


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