(two people looking at an iPad) It's the perfect device for watching Apple product announcements!(Steve Jobs onstage, introducing an amazing device and admitting he can't remember what it does)(man with fishhook in nose) Yes, it's a fishhook lodged in my nose. But it's an Apple fishhook, so the user experience is surprisingly pleasant.

For more Apple goodness, check out Rob’s Noise to Signal cartoons about life as a Mac user!

Update: There’s a much more thorough (and up-to-date!) tutorial now on Drupal.org, which carries that Drupal imprimatur and also kinda lets me off the hook. Just head over to this tutorial.

This is the part you should now ignore: Want to take the latest, greatest edition of Drupal out for a spin – and run it from the comfort and safety of your very own Mac? Only a few short years ago, that was strictly the domain of the geekier Mac users… but today, it’s a lot easier.

That’s thanks to programs like MAMP, which stands for Macintosh, Apache, MySQL and PHP. MAMP lets you install and launch these powerful tools without ever having to stare a command line in the face. And once you have them up and running (which you will in just a few clicks), you can install all sorts of server-side software on your Mac and access it through your web browser – programs like WordPress, activeCollab and, yes, Drupal.

Why do that? Partly so you can futz around with them even if you aren’t connected to the web, and with the kind of access no web host in their right minds would give you. Partly so you can configure, test and debug web sites on your computer without worrying that the world is watching. But mainly because, come on, this is kind of cool.

So let’s not waste any more time gabbing. We’re going to install Drupal (by the way, you can adapt these instructions for a lot of other server software): not boring old version 4.7, but the exciting new testing version with the very latest features. One of those features is an automatic installer, which is how we’re able to hold this down to five easy steps.

(If you do want to install version 4.7, then instead of step 5, you’d manually edit the settings.php file in Drupal’s sites/install folder, and then run a few MySQL files through PHPMyAdmin. It’s all explained in painful detail in the install.txt file that comes with Drupal.)

  1. Get ready:
    • Download and install MAMP. (Go to http://www.mamp.info/en/home/ to find it.)
    • Then download the latest version of Drupal. (Go to http://drupal.org/project/Drupal+project and pull down “CVS” from the “Filter by version” menu. This will give you the version that includes an installer.)
    • Unzip it, and move the files into MAMP’s “htdocs” folder.
  2. Launch MAMP and your favourite browser. If the buttons next to “Apache Server” and “MySQL Server” in MAMP aren’t green, click the “Start Servers” button. If that doesn’t turn the servers on, you’ll need to troubleshoot MAMP before you go any further.
  3. Create an empty MySQL database for Drupal to use.
    • Point your browser to http://localhost:8888/phpMyAdmin/ and click on the “Databases” tab.
    • Under “Create a new database”, fill in the information for your database. Give it a name (say, “droopy”) and, in the pulldown menu that says “Collation”, choose “utf8_unicode_ci”. Click “Create.”
  4. Create a database user account for Drupal.
    • In the left-hand sidebar, click on the home icon. (It looks like a little house.)
    • In the main pane, you’ll see two columns. In the left-hand column, click “Privileges”.
    • Under the table listing all sorts of users, click “Add a new User”.
    • Give the user a name (no spaces – make it a simple name). For “Host”, choose “Use text field” and enter “localhost”. Key in a password, and re-type it.
    • Under “Global privileges”, make sure none of the items are checked. Click the “Go” button in the lower right-hand corner.
    • The next screen allows you to edit the user. Scroll down to “Database-specific privileges” and, using the pull-down menu, select your Drupal database – in our case, droopy.
    • A series of checkboxes appear, just like the “Global privileges” screen a little while ago. This time, click “Check All” and click the “Go” button at the bottom right of the “Database-specific privileges” section.
  5. Tell Drupal what database settings to use.
    • Point your browser to http://localhost:8888.
    • Fill in the information that Drupal asks for: MySQL as the database type, the name of the database (“droopy”, in this case), your user name and your password. Click the “Save” button.

If all went well, you’ll be looking at a screen that congratulates you on installing Drupal, and invites you to click on a link to visit your site. Add content, install modules, start theming – you can do it all. There are a few other things you might like to do (for instance, setting up a regular call to cron.php in crontab, and there you will have to open up Terminal); have a look at Drupal’s install.txt file for a explanation.

(Special thanks to Evan Leeson and Aaron McNeal for their advice on the MySQL/phpMyAdmin instructions. Very kind and generous, guys!)