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How to develop offline?

Started by D.Rich99, July 22, 2019, 02:41:14 PM

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Can someone please explain how to install and develop a forum offline, before then transfering it to my host to get it online.

Thank you.


It would be much easier to do it online. To do it offline would require a webserver installed on your computer.


Do it online. Keep the forum in maintenance mode until complete and ready for production.


This is a very big topic... 

At a very high level, you will need to:
- Install & configure a web server (like Apache)
- Install & configure a DB server (like MySQL)
- Install the forum software
- Develop away!
- Optional - Install & configure something for your source code control

Each of these steps has a fairly steep learning curve. 

There are tools out there that make it easier.   E.g., both XAMPP & EasyPHP offer "all in one" downloads and installs that bring up apache & mysql.

The main benefit of developing & testing locally is the ease of debugging, & has the added benefit of not struggling with any limitations your host may inflict... 

I did the same thing back in late 2016.  I had a #of issues with my forum and wanted to try fixes on a local test server instead of my live site.  I now use EasyPHP (Apache & MySQL), Eclipse (php Debugging), Notepad++ (for editing) and git/Github (to contribute to SMF2.1).  I made local copies of my forum via backup & restore, so now I can flail away safely...

And yes, the learning curve can be frustrating... 
Address the process rather than the outcome.  Then, the outcome becomes more likely.   - Fripp

Aleksi "Lex" Kilpinen

Just to add my 2 cents in to this.
Eventually, you will need to learn to work with your server and a live forum anyway, so as a beginner I think it is easier to skip learning tools you don't really need yet,
and head straight to a live environment. Just, keep backups, make notes, and don't rush it.
A Finnish Project Manager (Support Specialist)
 Happily running multiple SMF 2.x installations.
  Fooling around with i7-10700 @ 2,90GHz-4.80GHz / 16Gb / RTX-2070 Super / 3840x2160 / Win 10 x64

How you can help SMF

"Before you allow people access to your forum, especially in an administrative position, you must be aware that that person can seriously damage your forum. Therefore, you should only allow people that you trust, implicitly, to have such access." -Douglas


Ok, for the time being I will use a free host for working on the basic setup and mods.

Thank you very much for your replies.


I've always found that working offline is most useful if you're going to do a lot of code-related work (e.g. developing your own mods) but if you're installing a forum and adding mods, doing it online is usually just fine. I did exactly that over the weekend, set up a specialised forum, dropped in the one mod I cared about, job done, never set anything up on my local.

The other problem with developing offline is the actual act of moving it online - every developer will be familiar with the symptom "well, it works on my machine..." where there are differences between what is on your machine and what is on the server (and it might be configuration, it might be data).
No good deed goes unpunished
All helpful urges should be circumvented