For years, when I needed a local instance of WordPress, I’d spend a few hours installing MySQL, hacking Apache config files, downloading and setting up WordPress, configuring my localhost to point to the WordPress install, etc. I could get it to work, but it was a real ordeal, and when I was done, WordPress would not install plug-ins and themes the normal way: I had to download them, manually install them, and then go back to WordPress to use them.
Then came MAMP, which made the set-up better, but installing plug-ins or themes still meant exiting WordPress, doing a manual download, moving the files to the correct folder, etc.
With Bitnami Stack for WordPress, everything is self-contained. You launch Bitnami Stack for WordPress, and not only is everything there, ready to go, but it works just like WordPress. What a deal! It might be my imagination, but I’m pretty certain that Bitnami Stack for WordPress runs faster than WordPress under MAMP Pro or when I roll my own.
The only quibble I have is that because I use BBEdit to work with theme files (instead of WordPress’ built-in editor, I have to go digging to get them: ~/Library/Containers/com.bitnami.wordpress/Data/app/apps/wordpress/htdocs/wp-content/themes/. However, once I get there, I just make an alias of the theme folder and drag it to my desktop for instant access. Problem solved.
By the way, not only is Bitnami Stack for WordPress great for developing and/or tweaking your themes, but it’s fantastic for doing clean-up edits on your posts. Export from your live WordPress, import into Bitnami Stack for WordPress, and go to town. I’ve done this a couple times, once on a site that started out in WordPress a really long time ago so it had lots of interesting code variations in the posts, and a couple times on big conversion projects from Movable Type to WordPress. The near-instant response is extremely welcome when you’ve got hundreds or thousands of posts to munge.
Speaking of munging, Bitnami Stack for WordPress also includes phpMyAdmin, for those heavy-duty munging chores.
Thank you, Bitnami, for making this available, and free.