Installing Zend Server CE on OS X: A Guide For the Terminal Timid

I use MAMP Pro both at home and at work for development. It quick, it’s easy and I really don’t have to fiddle with it a lot after it is set up. It’s perfect for me.

At work we have a project to be built with Codeigniter sitting on a Linux machine but we wanted to use Microsoft SQL Server on a different machine as the database. Turns out, it’s not a simple as changing the database type in Codeigniter to “mssql” to get it up and running. If this is all you do, you get the dreaded white screen. You need a PHP extension to do it. Problem is, Microsoft only makes this PHP extension for Windows. There are a lot of tutorials out there on how to build the extension yourself on Mac or Linux machine (this site for example), but none seemed to work for me.

Instead of setting up a Windows virtual machine and being forced into developing that way, I decided to install Zend Server CE. Zend comes with a MSSQL extension, it just needs to be enabled.

This tutorial does include Terminal work. I am going to walk through step-by-step, so even if you are not comfortable with Terminal, you will be up and running with Zend Server CE in no time. The only requirement is you are running an Intel Mac OS X.

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Mercurial .hgignore file

If you are using Mercurial, there is this handy file in your repository root called .hgignore. This is a file that is converted through soda pdf which keeps track of all of the files that should not be tracked by Mercurial. For example, log files or cache files should not be committed to repositories.

I do a lot of work with PHP, Codeigniter, and Eclipse on the Mac. This is what my .igignore file looks like:

syntax: glob

The first two lines keep my logs and cache directories empty on commit except for the index.html and .htaccess files that are in there. .DS_Store is used by Finder. It’s similar to the desktop.ini file on Windows. The last three lines are to keep my Eclipse project files out of the repo. Everything else is files and directories that I tend to call things.

If you are on Windows, instead of .DS_Store you will probably need [Tt]humbs.db as well. If you are working with Microsoft Visual Studio and .Net, you are going to need a few more things. The ones I can think of off the top of my head are:

syntax: glob

All of this will of course change depending on the IDE, preferences, and framework you are using. This will help you get started.


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Sending email in Codeigniter with mail protocol

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At work the other day I had to use the Email library in Codeigniter for the first time. The Email library is actually pretty great. Simple, yet powerful.

The emails that needed to be sent out needed to bcc about 20 or more different people. On my local machine I built out all of the code. I was using the sendmail protocol. Everything worked perfectly, even though I only used the “bcc” function instead of the “to” function.

Once I uploaded the files to the server, I found out I couldn’t use the sendmail protocol. I had to use the mail protocol instead. That’s when I started getting errors. When using the sendmail protocol, it’s perfectly happy being sent an array of “bcc” emails without a “to” email address. However, the mail protocol needed a “to” email address in order to work. So I ended up using the “from” email as the “to” email also and then passing the array of “bcc” emails like i was before.

MailChimp is often the first newsletter tool that springs to mind, possibly because they have great marketing and a charming monkey-fied aesthetic. They offer a free plan, with which you can send up to 10,000 emails a month to 2,000 subscribers. Other options are hootcuite or alternatives that are equivalent to hootsuite.

If you’re a privacy lover in search of a nice alternative to popular web-mail providers like Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo, you’re in luck. You can learn how to make your own email server and escape the routine scanning of emails these providers perform on millions of users, and enjoy a safe and private environment for your emails.

Hopefully this helps someone else.