control

For today's how-to we're going to set up a simple web server in XP so that we can control iTunes remotely. Engadget reader Jordan Parker was tired of having to walk into the other room to change tracks so he put together the PHP script we'll be using. The page it generates should be usable on any device with a web browser. Similar solutions exist for OS X. Click on to get the full skinny — it's worth your time, promise!

The first thing you need to do is download this zip file containing the PHP and image files. Unzip it in a directory you can find later.

Next you?ll need to install a web server. We?re using BRS WebWeaver since it is really lightweight, approximately 375KB. Download BRS WebWeaver here. The install is straightforward and you won?t need to change any of the defaults.

PHP is the next piece that needs to be added. Download the PHP 5.1.1 installer. The installer will ask you which HTTP server you would like to configure. Since BRS WebWeaver isn?t on the list select ?None?. We will configure it manually.


php

After the PHP install has completed, start BRS WebWeaver.


webweaver

Select ?Options > Server Config?. Click on ?HTTP Server? in the tree. Use the button next to the ?Virtual Root? text box to select the directory that you unzipped the PHP files to.


http

Now click on the + sign next to ?HTTP Server? to expand the tree. Select ?PHP? in the tree. Click the check box for ?Enable PHP Processing?. For ?Location of PHP.EXE? you need to navigate to the folder where PHP is installed. If you chose all of the defaults it will be located at ?c:\php\php-cgi.exe?. Click ?Save?.


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Now click on ?File > Start HTTP Server?. XP should generate a firewall warning since the web server is opening a port. Click ?Unblock?.


firewall

Now the server is completely set up and ready to test out. First, open iTunes and start a song playing. Then, open a browser window and navigate to the front-end. Since you are on the same computer as iTunes, go to ?http://localhost/player.php?. You should see an interface identical to the one at the top of this post. If it works move to a different computer on your network and try the test again, this time replacing ?localhost? with the actual IP of the computer hosting iTunes (or it?s NetBIOS or DNS name, if you want to get fancy).

We?d like to thank Jordan Parker for his fine work. He said he thinks he?s not the best PHP programmer and is interested in seeing what improvements and modifications others will make to his code, but we think he done good.

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How-To: Control iTunes from any web browser