activeCollab on MAMP (and how to upgrade); GTD?

January 23, 2007

First a recap :

activeCollab is an easy to use, web based, open source collaboration and project management tool. Set up an environment where you, your team and your clients can collaborate on active projects using a set of simple, functional tools.

MAMP stands for: Macintosh, Apache, Mysql and PHP. With just a few mouse-clicks, you can install Apache, PHP and MySQL for Mac OS X! (In fact MAMP acts as a single application that you double click to run, just like everything else on your Mac.)

GTD is David Allen‘s Getting Things Done productivity system, for, err, getting things done.

Some time ago I installed activeCollab on a test basis into a MAMP installation. This is part of my (slightly procrastinating) quest for spending time testing systems for being an efficient developer. Since so many good things have been said about BaseCamp (which activeCollab is ‘inspired’ by ๐Ÿ™‚ I thought it may may a great productivity tool.

The only problem I have is just how to actually use activeCollab – being an actively developed project that is yet to make a one-point-oh release, the documentation of real world examples is yet to appear. More on that later.

Anyhow, it came time to upgrade both MAMP and activeCollab – and today was the day.

For some reason I first upgraded MAMP, then activeCollab – and after some trials here is the method I think would work best (naturally your mileage may vary…) My MAMP install is pretty much only running activeCollab (aside from a couple of static pages) so that’s what I’ll focus on here.

First – from the MAMP home page I launched phpMyAdmin and selected the ‘collab’ database. Next I made an export of the database, using ‘select all’ to make sure I get everything. Leaving pretty much everything else as default, I also chose to save as file (in gzip format) which gave me a nice small file to keep on hand as a backup after we are done.

With the database backed up, I then use Finder to create an archive of the MAMP’s htdocs folder. This ensures I have a copy of all static html files as well as the whole activeCollab install.

Now is the time to check MAMP’s preferences for the ports you’re using (and note them down) and then stop the servers.

Now you can move the entire (old) MAMP folder out of your Applications folder to keep it out of the way (at first I tried renaming the folder and the app so I could run the old and new side by side, but that caused all manner of chaos that I would recommend against!)

Nearly there! Install (drag) the new MAMP folder into the ‘Applications’ folder. Now drop the htdocs folder you had archived to replace the new MAMP’s ‘htdocs’ folder (and de-compress it, of course.)

Lastly you can run phpMyAdmin from your MAMP’s main page and use it to import the database export that you made earlier. The cool part is that the import function will happily read a compressed export file, so you don’t need to do anything yourself. A final check to MAMP’s prefs to make sure that Apache and MySQL are running on the same ports as before (you did write those down, didn’t you?)

That’s it! You are done upgrading MAMP with activeCollab installed.

What comes next? I am glad you asked. Since I’ve tracked these links down, it would be a shame to waste them ๐Ÿ™‚

The first link is to the activeCollab forum ‘How do you use aC?‘ Wherein people are describing how they are using activeCollab to suit their circumstances.

Then come some links to Patrick Rhone articles about applying GTD principles to Backpack or BaseCamp (which are, as you recall, ‘inspirations’ of activeCollab!)

Now that should be enough to keep anyone occupied for a good while – getting ‘organised’ ๐Ÿ˜‰