MAMP 4 was released recently, though, at the time, I was busy experimenting with Pressmatic. I think Pressmatic is a strong piece of software, though, for my day-to-day workflow, it doesn’t fully suit my needs.

So I returned to MAMP, and I’ve been thoroughly pleased with MAMP 4.

MAMP 4 Homepage

No, it doesn’t use a lot of the same technology some other applications do (such as virtual machines), but I’ve not found that to hinder the work I’m doing.

MAMP 4 and WordPress

For those who have used MAMP in the past, this particular release is one that has enough significant changes to increase your productivity and the type of work you’re doing. But it’s also familiar enough such that the learning curve isn’t large at all.

1. The User Interface and the User Experience

I’m the last person to talk to about either of these. Sure, I try to read books that help me create things that are as usable as possible, but this doesn’t prevent me from talking to others (see 1, 2, and 3) who have more experience in the field than I do.

Why not lean on the experts, right?

MAMP 4 For WordPress

MAMP 4’s interface – and note, I mean MAMP 4 Pro – is a bit more advanced than previous versions.

But that doesn’t mean it’s more complicated.

Instead, more options are exposed that give you access to thinks like each of your development domains as well as your hosts, programming languages (and their versions), database information, and so on.

2. Speaking of Language

MAMP 4 also supports PHP, Python, Perl, and Ruby. For those of you who are primarily WordPress developers, the thing that really matters is PHP, right?

MAMP 4: Programming Languages

The nice thing about that is you can change the PHP version for each of your individual hosts. So if a project needs 5.6.25, then you’ve got it. But if another can use 7.0.0, then you have that available, too.

And if you are tinkering with Python or Ruby, then this will also support that.

3. Servers

Nginx has grown a lot in popularity in the past couple of years (and rightly so – it’s not terribly hard to configure, and it’s really fast out-of-the-box).

MAMP 4 Pro ships with both Apache and Nginx. This is great because it not only gives you access to newer server software, but it also gives you the ability to make sure your development machine as has much parity with staging and production as possible.

4. There Is More

As with anything like this, there’s always more than one can cover, but I’m primarily focused on what it benefits those of us working with WordPress.

If you’re on the fence about it and want to read more about what it has to offer, they have all of this information on their homepage.

Secondly, I want to mention the basic version of MAMP 4 is perfect for those just getting started with WordPress.

MAMP 4: Free

In fact, I highly recommend it. It abstracts all the technical details away from the user and allows a budding developer to easily get started working with code and development over server configuration, language versions, databases, and so on.

Why Did I Bother Switching?

There are two primary reasons that drove me back to MAMP and so I’m going to be succinct as possible in each of these:

  1. It’s important that those with whom I work with can easily set up the same environment I use on their development machines. I think this is something that’s key. MAMP 4 and the various software I use all make this easy.
  2. I need to know and I have to trust the software I’m using as the foundation of my business is going to be around for a long time.

MAMP has been around for years and it looks like they aren’t slowing down. I’d rather hedge by bets and my business (read: my livelihood) on software and vendors whom I can trust.

As with anything, these are purely my reasons and they aren’t meant to be taken as an arguement for or against something. I’m simply sharing what I find useful and what I’ve found to be the best solution for me.

Take that is you will. But whatever you opt to use, make sure it’s maximizing the benefit and productivity for you and your team.

That’s what’s most important.

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Join the conversation! 11 Comments

  1. Tom,

    Thank you for this article! I appreciated the part where you stated: “I need to know and I have to trust the software…” That is the part that really hits home for me choosing MAMP over Pressmatic. I tried Pressmatic, but in the end I found it too unreliable eventually reverting back to MAMP where I had fortunately stored copies of my projects.

    • Thank you for this article! I appreciated the part where you stated: “I need to know and I have to trust the software…”

      Absolutely! And thanks for the comment :).

      That is the part that really hits home for me choosing MAMP over Pressmatic. I tried Pressmatic, but in the end I found it too unreliable eventually reverting back to MAMP where I had fortunately stored copies of my projects.

      I had a good experience with Pressmatic and I used it for quite some time, but I have my reasons for opting to use another utility. Nothing disrespectful against Pressmatic or anything like that. It just has to do with the tools I want to use to run my business :).

  2. MAMP Pro 4 sounds great! How do you push a WordPress website developed using MAMP to the clients’ server once you’ve completed development? Thanks.

    • MAMP Pro 4 sounds great!

      I don’t disagree. I’ve been a big fan of it, myself.

      How do you push a WordPress website developed using MAMP to the clients’ server once you’ve completed development?

      This depends on how you have everything set up, really. You may be able to use a tool like DeployBot, or you may be using S/FTP.

      Regardless, you’re going to need to make sure all of the internal URLs are updated to the proper domain rather than localhost or whatever hostname you’re using :).

  3. Thanks for this. In my years I’ve gone from… XAMPP>MAMP>XAMPP>MAMP>VVV>HGV>VVV>Pressmatic

    And there were a few short trials of other things (Desktop Server, Valet, Trellis, and more) that never stuck at all.

    Through it all though what I always recommend to others was Desktop Server. For the record I tried DS many times, but I always found it too locked down for me. Unlike most people doing general WordPress site development I am a devops-ie kind of guy that still likes getting my hands dirty in conf files.

    I am surprised that one of your reasons for preferring MAMP is reliability/length of development existence. I work a little on that front about Pressmatic being so new, but I recall several times over the years (around v2-3) of MAMP being utterly broken after OS X updates and long delays before those problems were fixed.

    I long ago stopped faulting others for the tools they use though, I mean I know a prominent developer whom I respect greatly that still uses Coda! I mean really… Coda! He might as well use crayons, right?

    • Thanks for this. In my years I’ve gone from… XAMPP>MAMP>XAMPP>MAMP>VVV>HGV>VVV>Pressmatic

      Yep – I am always happy to try out new technologies and tools, but I don’t feel beholden to any one save for those who make me the most productive.

      Unlike most people doing general WordPress site development I am a devops-ie kind of guy that still likes getting my hands dirty in conf files.

      This used to be me, but not anymore. I’m not above it and I’m not afraid to dig into any configuration or ini files as needed, but if I can avoid it and get straight to work, I do.

      I work a little on that front about Pressmatic being so new, but I recall several times over the years (around v2-3) of MAMP being utterly broken after OS X updates and long delays before those problems were fixed.

      Interesting! Perhaps I wasn’t using MAMP during those years. Should it happen again, at least I know there are alternatives :).

      I long ago stopped faulting others for the tools they use though, I mean I know a prominent developer whom I respect greatly that still uses Coda! I mean really… Coda! He might as well use crayons, right?

      Seriously! I got so tired of using crayons that even I moved up to using the color pencils that are Atom :).

  4. I was using Vagrant VVV with vv extension for 2 years and moved to MAMP recently because:

    it starts and stops faster
    I can switch between Apache and Nginx faster
    takes up less space and uses MUCH less ram memory
    I can swap PHP version faster
    I can create vhost faster
    I can create clean WP install faster
    it’s totally all you need for WP development

    I like Vagrant. But I am far more efficient in MAMP for plugins and themes development.

    • I like Vagrant. But I am far more efficient in MAMP for plugins and themes development.

      This is what it amounts to for me, as well. It has nothing to do with what may some consider “superiority.” It’s about being productive and having a solid stack for me to get work done.

  5. I’ve been using MAMP since 2.0 and never had issues with OS X updates ruining it for me. Yes there have been a few issues when major OS X updates but nothing that rendered it useless.

    I’ve tried VVV and others for a day or two but quickly realized the bloat with VVV.

    FYI the latest 4.0.6 of MAMP Pro has some command line features that were kind of secretly baked in.

    I also recommend using MAMP (non-pro) as there are plenty of tutorials on how to enable multiple domain and host configuration in Apache, which is one of the main reasons people upgrade to Pro, because they want the UI for that feature.

  6. I use both MAMP 4 on my personal machine and Vagrant on my office machine. I haven’t bothered setting up Vagrant on my new machine yet as I was getting frustrated with the time it took to complete a vagrant up command with VVV installed. Now with NGINX MAMP handles all of the server setups I need. I’ve been pleased with version 4 so far. May switch my work machine over to it eventually too.

  7. I fully agree. Vagrant was hot hype at some point, some made the switch, and there are folks who love it, but for a sole theme/plugin developer – I just don’t see the value in complicating my workflow with Vagrant or Docker.

    On top of everything else – I’ve seen a lot of arguments to use Vagrant for feature parity with my server, and for me that’s just not the case. My themes are run on PHP 5.2 Apache, PHP 7 Nginx, and I’ve even seen some crazy “Custom Servers”, so feature parity – not really a thing for me.

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