Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Setting up SkyBlueCanvas for Local Use on Mac OS X Leopard

SkyBlueCanvas (SBC) is a content management system (CMS) for web sites. It can be set up to run on a Mac OS X system using Web Sharing, but some steps need to be taken first. The result is a subfolder of your Sites folder, which shows off pretty much the full features of SBC. Unfortunately, you won't get to this point just by naively following the installation instructions for SBC, because it depends on features not enabled by default in Mac OS X.

Note that I'm not making any recommendations as to whether or not you should use SBC, but am instead just sharing what I had to do to get SBC working. This was driven by my own interest in trying out SBC. I have insufficient experience with CMSs in general or SBC in particular to make an informed judgement.

Several of the steps are multi-step themselves. I've just linked to the websites I found that provided a useful description. Total time to set things up should be under half an hour. After the initial set-up, starting a new site can be done by starting with step four, taking under five minutes.

  1. Enable PHP.

  2. Make sure that your Sites folder is reachable.

  3. Enable .htaccess files.

  4. Copy the SkyBlueCanvas folder to your Sites folder, and give it a reasonable name (I used skyblue, and will assume you do the same).

  5. Change the file permissions of the skyblue folder to 755. You can do this in the Terminal with a command like chmod -R 755 ~username/Site/skyblue—replace username with your actual user name, of course. (I didn't actually find this to be necessary, although it is in the SBC installation instructions.)

  6. Edit htaccess.txt in the skyblue folder, adding a second line of RewriteBase /~username/skyblue/. Rename htaccess.txt to .htaccess.

  7. Change the group and owner for the SBC files. In Terminal, change to the skyblue directory, and run sudo chown -R www:www *. If you don't do this, PHP won't be able to make needed changes to the files.

  8. Start Apache. Open up the Sharing panel in the System Preferences, and check Web Sharing.

  9. Point your web browser at http://localhost/~username/skyblue/ and follow the instructions. When asked for the site URL, give http://localhost/~username/skyblue/.