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The LAMP Stack: The Building Blocks of Web Applications

December 18, 2013 IADT General, Web Design and Development 0 Comments

The LAMP Stack: The Building Blocks of Web ApplicationsWhen you visit a social media web application like Facebook, your news feed is displayed and all your messages are properly archived and ordered according to date received. But, did you know that when you use your Facebook app, behind the scenes, you're also simultaneously accessing multiple applications on Facebook's servers, together called a LAMP stack? LAMP stands for the Linux operating system, Apache web server, MySQL database and the PHP programming language, a collection of applications frequently used to power the most demanding of web applications.

The Stack: Layers of Applications

The Facebook web application uses the LAMP stack to serve content. Consider this: You want to retrieve your recent messages on Facebook by clicking on the messaging icon.

1. Your Request: Upon clicking, your Facebook application sends a request to the Facebook server to retrieve most recent messages.

2. Apache, PHP and MySQL: The Facebook server is an Apache web server. Facebook's web servers use the PHP programming language to access your most recent messages stored in a MySQL-powered database.

3. Linux: Upon retrieving your most recent messages, the Facebook web server sends your Facebook application the desired information. All this runs on top of the Linux operating system.

The LAMP describes a layering of applications, which, when placed together, constitute the foundation of complex applications like Facebook that serve content on-demand.

The Components of the Stack: Their Importance

Since the LAMP stack constitutes so many web applications, if you're considering studying software engineering, you will certainly write web applications in PHP, and design databases in MySQL, while using the Linux operating system as a base.

1. Linux: Linux is the most basic element in the LAMP stack. Linux is an open-source operating system that provides enterprise-grade performance.

2. Apache: Apache is a web server and clearly forms the basis of any web application. Apache has plug-ins for programming languages like PHP and is generally regarded as an industry standard.

3. MySQL: MySQL is a database server based on the SQL programming language. Database services are integral to any web application. Customer or client data is often stored in databases for quick retrievability and organization.

4. PHP: PHP is the programming language most used by web applications. In fact, PHP is developed from the ground-up to make web application development easier. PHP, for example, includes MySQL database integration as well as comprehensive session and cookie management.

LAMP: The Building Blocks of Web 2.0 and Beyond

The LAMP stack is important to the web because of its versatility. Like LEGOs, LAMP can be stacked and arranged in multiple configurations that can produce an infinite range of web applications. LAMP is central to web development and is used by almost every major corporation with a strong web presence. Web development and software engineering are surely moving to more modular solutions like LAMP, with the urge to re-invent the wheel. What kinds of inventive web applications can you make with the LAMP stack?

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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