Greathouse-php is a new PHP management tool, which uses old fashioned, simple principals to let you install and use multiple versions of PHP on your OSX development machine. You can download and use greathouse.php, for free, at this github repository.
How does greathouse-php work?
Very simply, the greathouse-php repository uses good-old-fashioned bash scripts, to allow you to select, install, and use the PHP version of your choice. When you use the tool, your computer will download and install the version of php, you specify, directly from php.net. It will then configure and compile php directory from source, and put the installation in a discrete location which won’t disturb any other PHP distributions currently on your computer. You can specify the directory where you want it to install, or let it decide, by default, to build the version in “/usr/local/greathouse-php”. To use the greathouse-php build of php, you would simply need to put that directory path in your PATH variable in your shell; like this: “export PATH=/usr/local/greathouse-php/bin:$PATH”
There are simple and comprehensive instructions, on how to use the scripts, in the README.
Why not use homebrew?
I’ve always found homebrew PHP packages to be too involved and difficult to switch between multiple versions. This manager simply installs PHP, from source, for whatever version specified, into a discrete location, and updates its symlinks accordingly.
What value does this management tool offer ?
Unix based software spreads out the libraries and other related files into different Unix sub-directories. This is because Unix, and linux/bsd by extension, were designed to be multi-user environments. While multi-user environments are extremely important, the typical installation paradigms of multi-user software, offer no practical benefit to today’s software developer. We work in single-user machines/laptops, and having software spread itself out into multiple places, on our system, makes it needlessly complicated to manage that software. What greathouse-php does, is enables the installation of multiple versions of PHP into discrete and sensible locations, so that your PHP installations will never get tangled with other PHP installations, in your development environment.
Want to switch to a different version of PHP? easy, just update the symlink or the PATH variable. Want to remove a version of PHP? easy just delete the whole directory, you can re-install it again just as easily. This tool’s value, is that it removes the hassle of traditional PHP packages, by compiling any version, from source, into a discrete location.