You know, I'm not a big fan of LAMP. Let's say, I frown when I hear something good about it, and I hide my smile when I hear something bad. OK, at least I don't write that Windows Must Die in any other forum.
Apparently the Gods decided that it's time that I become more tolerant. First I had to make an Asp.Net site with mySql. It was sort of OK until a nasty bug deleted almost all our forums, and then they began to reappear out of some sort of mySql's recycle bin. But that's a different story.
Now I have to maintain a PHP project, and I decided that, hey, let's be tolerant! PHP is a cool object oriented language now, let's give it a try!
Installing Apache was no problem at all. I ran the default page, and it said in big bold letters, "It works!". That was cool.
Installing PHP was pretty straightforward too. But it was too late, so I went to sleep.
OK, now I'm going to check if my PHP works. Starting Apache and... there are lots of message boxes saying that httpd "This application has failed to start because php_mbstring.dll was not found" and then lots of others with different dll names. The poor beast tried again and again, so the messages won't stop until I killed it mercifully.
I decided to repair the installation and switched off all the extensions. It started nice, no message boxes. But the test PHP page I tried to view still showed nothing. In fact it showed the PHP source.
Later I discovered one possible cause. As somebody suggested, my PHP page contained something like <? phpinfo() ?>. This simplified syntax, it turned out, is switched off by default, you should write <?php phpinfo() ?> instead. Correct me if I'm wrong. But now that everything works, I can't verify this.
So, what did I do? I installed one of the available WAMP packages: EasyPHP. Works like a charm.. almost. A truly Windows-oriented application, it had minimum installation options. It even didn't ask me which of the three products (Apache, PHP, mySql) I want to install! And I was quite thankful, believe me. At least I didn't have to deal with environment paths, console commands, and huge ini files.