How to install Textpattern on a Windows 2000/XP box

September 7th, 2004

Dean Allen’s amazing new Content Management System Textpattern is a viable free, open-source alternative to Movable Type. Not only is it filled with great features such as different styles for different categories it also removes the need to rebuild files at each change of content. This is because, like WordPress, all site content is stored in a mySQL database and pages are built on the fly when requested. This means you don’t have to clutter your server up with hard-coded pages. Instead, a simple bunch of templates can be constructed that enable data to be poured onto the page. Sounds good? It is. But if, like me, you’re wanting to install the software on a windows machine there are a few things you’ll need to know first.

Textpattern requirements

Before you start, you’ll want to download all four of the applications listed below.

Installing Apache, PHP and MySQL on a windows machine

The installation documentation for each of these products is extensive and should be read thoroughly to ensure you install correctly on your Windows machine. There are instructions for Linux, Mac OS and Windows. They vary considerably in places so make sure you’re reading the Windows installation instructions! I used a rather excellent installation guide courtesy of Web Thang:

  1. Installing Apache on Windows
  2. You’ll notice that webthang has a tutorial on installing PHP into Windows. This is not the tutorial you want as you need to install PHP as an Apache Module. Instead, follow these instructions: Installing PHP on Windows
  3. Installing MySQL on Windows

If any of these pages have been removed from the server or you can’t access them, please contact me as I have backup copies saved down that I can let you have.

Installing Textpattern on a windows machine

This assumes that you followed the instructions detailed in the tutorials above and DID NOT follow the webthang PHP tutorial. You did exactly what I suggested and followed the instructions on installing PHP as an Apache module right? You’ll know you did this because you’ll have messed around with some .dll files (specifically relating to Apache 2).

You’ll have downloaded Textpattern (my build was Gamma 1.19). Now follow the instructions on the Textpattern site. The instructions are very clear and easy to follow. If you enter all the correct information regarding your database connection, user and password then you’ll be up and running.

Now ensure you read Joel’s article on Textpattern semantics so you understand the meaning of ‘sections’ and how they differ from ‘categories’. If you don’t read this article, you’ll probably make a few administration mistakes.

Make sure you modify your .htaccess file for every new section you create (as detailed in Textpattern) otherwise your permalinks will not work in ‘clean’ mode. Also make sure you’ve enabled “multiviews” in your Apache httpd.conf file THIS HAS TO BE SET MANUALLY. This is not set by default in Windows versions of the server. This is not mentioned in the Textpattern documentation.

In order to make quick progress with your new Textpattern site, ensure you refer to Textpattern Tags (a manual for impatient users).

Hopefully this will be of some help. I aim to transfer this site from Movable Type to Textpattern in the near future. I’ll detail any further relevant info here as and when.