It has happened many times that I’d spend long hours looking for a solution for a particular software or hardware problem or just searching for information on an interesting subject. After the problem is solved, the details usually fade away from memory pretty quickly and if similar problem resurfaces a lot needs to be rediscovered. The blogging software allowing to publish a quick memo and associate images, links etc. with it from anywhere in the world seems to be the most convenient way of keeping track record for the future references and sharing.
After looking around a little bit, I finally decided to go ahead with Wordpress mainly due to its famous 5-min install claim and despite the fact that it drags MySql and PHP to my site…
I’m using IIS under W2K (for historical reasons) and the quick research showed that there should be no problems with installation of any of the packages needed. Moreover, there are even MSI distributions for PHP and MySql available.
The MySql MSI setup was relatively painless. The only problem encountered was the failure to start the installed service. That problem appears to be caused by some racing conditions. Clicking the “Back” button, and asking the installer to install the MySql service under different name solved the problem (just needed to cleanup the first service entry from HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services after that).
The PHP MSI created much more troubles. It only allowed the installation for running PHP in CGI mode, and did not do any file associations setup in IIS (maybe it only works w/ IIS6 and up). Anyway I completed the setup manually, the phpinfo.php script worked fine and everything appeared to be up and running, but not the Wordpress. The server error 500 with no any other information showed up any time I tried to access the Wordpress pages. After a painful investigation the problem narrowed down to the “new” operator on the WP_Error class. At that moment I just replaced the MSI distribution, with the PHP ZIP binary distribution for windows, set up the server to use PHP ISAPI DLL and finally everything started to work (and worked noticeably faster).
Conclusion: it is better to stay away from php-cgi.exe
After that point there seems to be no nasty surprises. It is probably an overkill to run that much software for a personal blog, but the Wordpress UI is really nice, there are tons of plugins and support information. All that is unlikely to be as easily available for a simple personal blog solution.