Those of you who’ve known me for a while know that I’m a fan of beginning with the finishing touches whenever I can. While the idea sounds easy enough, it’s not a fool-proof method of building business applications especially when you consider the prep that is involved.
To begin a website with the finishing touches, we need to start with the idea that any computer can become a server. All you need are the appropriate applications to announce your presence to the world.
The thing is, the “appropriate software” is a list of things such as
- an operating system – Microsoft, Apple, Linux, or another.
- server software – Apache, LAMP, MAMP, etc.
- the database – MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, etc.
- software for any languages your applications will be using – PHP, Ruby, Perl, etc.
After all those are up and running you’re ready to install your Content Management System, eLearning, Photo Gallery, or whatever else you might need to conquer the internet.
While this may not sound like too many steps, for those without a lot of experience, the process may not be as straightforward as it sounds. The term “Dependency Hell” comes to mind when I think about how the process could turn sour.
This morning, however, I stumbled upon BitNami. While I haven’t had the chance to use it yet, the idea has me fluttering with the first blush of puppy love.
I’d suggest you take a look at their site for complete information, but, in short, the beauty of BitNami comes through in the steps that follow the operating system in my list above.
Rather than downloading and installing all of the other components separately, the BitNami stack does it for you. The server software, programming language support, database, and application come together in one tidy install.
Now I’m not saying that there won’t be tweaks left to perform, but when you’re jumping ahead to the spit-polish phase, BitNami can make it easier for you to get there.
Now I’m not all raves at this point. One major shortcoming is that they’re lacking any sort of shopping cart system like OSCommerce or Magento. But like most projects, a quick trip to their forums show me that you could request an application. I even saw that OSCommerce will come down the pipe if there are enough votes for it.
I’ll be keeping my eye on BitNami because I think it holds a lot of potential to help small businesses get up and running faster. Faster also means less money out-of-pocket. Especially if/when the offerings grow and more of my favorite FOSS Internet suites are available.