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Global Moxie specializes in mobile design strategy and user experience for a multiscreen world. We offer consulting services, training, and product-invention workshops to help creative organizations build tapworthy mobile apps and effective websites. We're based in Brooklyn, NY. Learn more.

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Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps

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System Requirements

Important: Sales, service, and support of Big Medium are no longer offered. More details.
Big Medium Compatibility Checker (3 KB)
Download to see if your server meets the requirements.

Server Requirements

Big Medium is software that runs on your web server (including hosted web accounts). It supports servers running Windows and Unix-based operating systems including Linux, OSX, Solaris, etc. Your server should support:

  • Perl 5.6.1 or higher.
    Big Medium is written in Perl. Most web servers have Perl installed, but check to make sure before installing Big Medium. Big Medium requires Perl 5.6.1 or higher and will not run with previous versions. Perl 5.8.5 or higher is recommended.

    (If your server has a version of Perl older than 5.6.1, that means your hosting company hasn’t updated the system since at least 2002; you might gently suggest that they upgrade.)

  • CGI access.
    Gotta be able to run custom CGI scripts on your web server.

  • Server-side includes.
    Your web server should support server-side includes for files with the .shtml extension.

  • Strongly recommended: ImageMagick, GD, Imager or NetPBM.
    Not required, but any of these image libraries will enable Big Medium to size and manage your images for you automatically. Ideally, your server has one of these Perl modules installed:

    • Image::Magick
    • GD
    • Imager

Installation is straightforward: You upload the files to your server, run the setup wizard in your browser, and you’re done.

Looking for a hosting company where you can install Big Medium 2? Check out the checklist below for auditioning hosting companies.

Browser Requirements

Once installed on your server, you communicate with Big Medium via your web browser. Any computer with a modern web browser can be used to edit sites with Big Medium. Whether you use Windows, Mac or Linux, you’re covered. The following browsers and minimum version numbers are recommended:

  • Internet Explorer 6
  • Firefox 1.5
  • Safari 3.0
  • Camino 1.0

What About the Database?

Nope, don’t need one. Big Medium is designed to run in even the most basic web hosting environments and uses text files to store your data. This makes installation easy and data backups a snap.

Even without a database, the system scales extremely well for sites with thousands of pages and millions of monthly page views. Unlike database-driven systems that build a new page every time a page is requested, Big Medium generates static web pages and builds these pages only when you edit them. This makes for a fast site with low server load.

Managing multiple websites

A single installation of Big Medium can manage hundreds of sites on the same server, each with its own distinct design. However, Big Medium can manage a website’s pages only if it has permission to read/write files in the site’s web directory. In a nutshell: scripts in the domain where you install Big Medium must be allowed to have access to the files in the web directories of the sites that you would like Big Medium to manage.

Are you planning to use Big Medium to manage only one site, or multiple sites within the same domain? No problem, you’re all set.

But if you want to use a single installation of Big Medium to manage sites in different domains and those domains are in rented web space, those domains must be located under the same web account as the domain where Big Medium is installed. Hosting companies often offer reseller accounts or other methods of setting up domains inside other web accounts. Pair Networks and DreamHost are two well regarded hosting companies that allow you to do this.

For more information about server requirements for managing sites in multiple domains, see this support topic.

Auditioning hosting companies

The above describes the minimum requirements. The following is a checklist of ideal server conditions for Big Medium 2. If you’re in the process of looking for a hosting company for your site, look for hosting accounts that offer the following:

  • The latest version of Perl (as of August 2007, that's Perl 5.8.8). At the very least, go with someone offering Perl 5.8.

  • ImageMagick and PerlMagick version 6 or higher, along with the Perl::Magick module for that version.

  • CGI access

  • Server-side includes

  • Possibility to configure domains so that Perl scripts in one “master” domain can read/write files in another domain in the same account.

As noted above, Pair Networks and DreamHost are two well regarded hosting companies that meet these requirements.

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Brains for Sale

“Josh Clark, do you sell your brain so I can constantly tap into it for wisdom? Oh wait, you wrote a book.
—Tim Van Damme, designer

“Whenever I have a question about iPhone design patterns, Tapworthy has an answer, even for little details. The best book you can buy for iPhone design.”
—Catriona Cornett, inspireUX.com

“Great speaker. Josh Clark could make a talk about cleaning a litter box interesting.”
—Aaron Griffith, iPhone developer

More praise for Tapworthy