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PHP Glue – Install Applications Easily Without Fantastico

Posted on | September 25, 2007 | No Comments

I’ve been sitting on the domain phpglue.com for over a year while wondering what in the heck I want to do with it. I often register domain names because they are interesting without much of a plan of what to do with the domain once registered.

Quite a bit of my time lately has gone into making free replacements for proprietary programs used by the Web Hosting industry. Companies that offer hosting need to be able to modify their software in order to tailor their offerings to the unique needs of their customers. Proprietary software that does not allow you to modify the source code ties the hands of the industry.

A popular program is named Fantastico, all this thing does is allow you to install free web applications with a few clicks. Fantastico has an update feature, to keep your software up to date, however this breaks if you modify your free software. A good example would be Joomla, PHPbb or others.

I’m going to download all 40 + programs that Fantastico enables you to install and create Mercurial repositories of each one. These repositories will be hosted on phpglue.com available to anyone for free. As these applications update, I’ll update the repository.

I’ll then make a simple wrapper that helps hosts install and configure Mercurial correctly so that it is available to clients. Clients then simply use a familiar web application to get their scripts and install them.

The beauty of using Mercurial for this is the ability to merge. This means, if you install Joomla, then modify the program source code, you would still be able to pull in new updates and security patches from the phpglue Joomla repository without destroying your changes.

Simple RSS (already part of Mercurial) will make the update and notification process simple.

I’ll bundle the following initially:

  • The PHPGlue repositories and web site
  • Mercurial installer (specifically for C-Panel hosts)
  • Web based interface (Similar to Fantastico) for C-Panel/WHM
  • Web based interface for GNUPanel

If you would like to help with this project, contact me at tinkertim@gmail.com. Anyone with average PHP skills could help out by maintaining some of the script repositories, or working on improving the functionality and features of the user experience.

I’m growing very tired of usability bugs and issues associated with proprietary software in the Web Hosting industry falling on deaf ears. Free replacements for these applications must materialize soon if the industry hopes to grow in time to meet new and unique needs of its customers.

Look for phpglue.com sometime in the next 30 days.

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