Laragon: The fastest way to setup WordPress locally

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Usually, when it comes to setting up a local dev environment you have a few options. I’m here today to share with you, the joy that is Laragon. The fastest way to set up WordPress (or any other PHP CMS really) on a local machine.

Depending on your operating system, most people would opt for a WAMP / LAMP or MAMP stack setup on their machine. Some prefer running a VM with their own web server they have set up.

Vagrant is a popular option which is essentially a Virtualbox VM in the background. Another popular option is WampServer or XAMPP, but these are quite specific to Windows (although XAMPP is cross-platform).

Recently I came across Laragon (Windows only), which is essentially XAMPP on steroids. Never before in my 15+ year career have I been able to set up a brand new WordPress (or Drupal) installation as quickly as Laragon can do it.

I was using Xampp for local development until about a year ago when I found Laragon & I haven’t looked back since. This is seriously the most powerful local development tool I have in my entire “developer toolkit”.

Laragon Forum user (Link)

You can go from having a freshly installed Windows operating system to having an entire WordPress installation in less than 30 seconds. In fact, I created a .gif to show you the magic in action. Behold;

Laragon comes with hosts file management so that means it will automatically create a neat local URL for you projectname.test – gone are the days of having to use http://localhost/projectname or http://127.0.0.1/projectname – Laragon handles this for you out the box.

There are quite a few additional benefits and features that come with Laragon;

  • 1-click PHP extensions enable/disable
  • Comes with phpMyAdmin and HeidiSQL (my preferred MySQL GUI manager)
  • HTTPS/SSL support
  • Ability to run NGINX alongside Apache
  • Extremely light-weight and blazingly fast (I can confirm)
  • Git / Redis / Memcached integration
  • Extendable – Laragon setup can be customized in nearly every way
  • Cmder integration out the box for shell access
  • Ability to install and switch between additional PHP versions
  • Symfony, Laravel and Drupal 8 1-click setups out the box
  • Additional support for Node.js/MongoDB, Python/Django/Flask/Postgres, Ruby, Java, Go once installed

Laragon comes in 3 flavours; Full (~130MB), Lite (~85 MB) and Portable (~18 MB) – I’d suggest the Full version to get you up and running fast, but that depends on your preference.

My Top 10 Recommended Brackets Extensions for 2016

Reading Time: 4 minutes

brackets ide

Brackets_Icon.svgBrackets from Adobe is one of the fastest growing used text editors for web developers. Released just over a year ago, it’s become a great free IDE to code with and I’m finding it preferable to use over Sublime and Atom.

“A modern, open source text editor that understands web design.”

Because it’s relatively new on the scene, some new users may not be aware of it’s fantastic free extensions that can be installed via the Extension Manager within the application itself.

Below is a list of my top 10 recommended extensions (in no particular order) to use for Brackets – all of which are available to install within the Extension Manager.

1. Beautify

Beautify is a useful extension that formats your HTML, CSS and JS code into a neat and clean layout. Sometimes you get so carried away coding, it’s not always easy to keep it neat and tidy. Beautify takes care of all of that and is certainly useful if you’re a neat code freak who loves ordered code like me.

Beautify

2. Brackets Icons

The default file icons in Brackets leaves a lot to be desired. They are dreary and dull.  Thankfully this nifty extension swaps out the default icons for more vibrant, easier to spot icons.  Each file extension has a different icon making your website’s folder structure much easier to digest.

Brackets Icons

3. Color Highlighter

This handy extension highlights your CSS code with the actual colour that is written adding more zest to your CSS code. Yet again, this another feature that should be stock standard in Brackets.

Color Highlighter for Brackets

4. Documents Toolbar

Documents Toolbar adds a handy tabbed toolbar with support for various tab colours. It also gives a comprehensive context menu for those tabs so that you can quickly perform a common task quickly such as saving your work.

Documents Toolbar

5. Emmet

Emmet is a well known and popular must-have extension that easily automates syntax, provides dynamic snippets and greatly improves coding speed. It has saved my butt many times in the past.

Something like this:

#page>div.logo+ul#navigation>li*5>a{Item $}

Is quickly and dynamically transformed into this:

<div id="page">
<div class="logo"></div>
<ul id="navigation">
<li><a href="">Item 1</a></li>
<li><a href="">Item 2</a></li>
<li><a href="">Item 3</a></li>
<li><a href="">Item 4</a></li>
<li><a href="">Item 5</a></li>
</ul>
</div>

Very handy indeed.

emmet

6. Image dimension extractor

This nifty little extension quickly extracts the dimensions (width and height in pixels) of an image or a CSS Background property. Handy if you’re making newsletters and coding an image-intensive HTML page.

backgroundimage

7. Interactive Linter

Of all extensions mentioned here, this would rank very very high as a necessity. Linters in text editors are nothing new, but Interactive Linter for Brackets is one of the best I’ve seen yet. It’s unobtrusive, fast and does an excellent job and watching out for coding errors.

il

8. Minimap

If you ever wanted Brackets to look and behave more like Sublime Text Editor, Minimap would be a great starting point.  The awesome minimap feature of Sublime is available to Brackets via an extension and it works just as well.

minimap

9. Right Click Extended

This basic extension doesn’t do much apart from adding a few additional, yet much needed functions to the right-click menu like the ability to Cut, Copy and Paste. Why these basic functions are missing from the core of Brackets is a little weird, but this extension makes up for that.

rightcl

10. Reasonable Comments

Commenting is a workflow process we should all be doing for easier readability of future code. This extension simpifies commenting by automating the comment block to extend dynamically as you press enter.

comments

 


Brackets 1.0 by Adobe was initially released on the 4th November 2014. It’s actively developed and is available for free on Windows, Mac and Linux. It’s open source, supports extensions and themes and has a Live Preview feature. At the time of writing Brackets version 1.5 is latest available version.