ImageWe work with a lot of schools, clinic thumb universities, buy and academies. Moodle is a good fit for those those looking for a “free web application that educators can use to create effective online learning sites.”

Because Moodle uses the great MAMP package, health it is as simple as dragging and dropping to get started with the site on a Mac server. And for those who use Leopard Server, there is a step-by-step guide for you too.

Moodle is free and can be downloaded for PPC or Intel Macs from the official site.

ImageAsaph is a blogging system, but not like one you’re used to. I’d say it’s better described as a combination of WordPress and Twitter.

Once you download and install the application on your server, you can quickly post quotes or pictures to your blog. You can either do that thru the admin section, or quickly with a bookmarklet in your browser. (He has a video showing you how this is done.

To get an idea of how it looks, you can take a look at the developer’s Asaph blog. Or if you want to jump right in and play with it, you can get it at the developer’s site. (This is a link to his Asaph Category on his blog. Since the app is still in beta, he is releasing versions of it via his blog.)

Image “Chyrp is a blogging engine designed to be very lightweight while retaining functionality. It is driven by PHP and MySQL (with some AJAX thrown in), and has a pimpin’ theme and module engine, so you can personalize it however you want.”

I’m a big fan of WordPress and use it often in sites that I build. But, Chyrp seems to be a good option as well.

Head on over to their site to learn more about it and to use their cool demo system. Once you’re convinced, you’ll be glad to hear the download and use of chyrp is free.

ImageA lot of our customers at Macminicolo have a machine to run the shopping carts for their business. They like the idea of controlling the whole box that will deal with transactions and financial data.

Zen Cart “is an open source online store management system. It is PHP-based, ampoule using a MySQL database and HTML components.” The install process is not too difficult, order and there is a great community to help with any issues.

You can see the long list of features and download the program from the Official Zen Cart site.

ImageIf you are part of the GTD (Getting Things Done) craze, therapy here is an application you might like. Tracks “is a web-based application to help you implement David Allen’s Getting Things Done™ methodology. It was built using Ruby on Rails, therapy and comes with a built-in webserver (WEBrick), so that you can run it on your own computer if you like.”

There is a little config involved, but it is free and the official site offers screenshots of the app and a manual that walks you thru the install.

ImageProjectPier is a Free, Open-Source, self-hosted PHP application for managing tasks, projects and teams through an intuitive web interface. ProjectPier will help your organization communicate, collaborate and get things done Its function is similar to commercial groupware/project management products, but allows the freedom and scalability of self-hosting. Even better, it will always be free.

For the project management of Macminicolo, we use Basecamp from 37Signals. It’s a wonderful application that has done well for our company.

But, if you are a “do-it-yourselfer” the ProjectPier may be an option for you.

ImageSome of the more popular webmail installs (Horde, SquirrelMail) are a bit slow and not very good looking. Yesterday I installed RoundCube and was very impressed. It really behaves like an online application and looks wonderful. It’s responsive and quick with searches.

Roundcube is quite easy to install and runs on a standard PHP/MySQL configuration. Change a few lines in the code, create a database and you’re ready to go.

You can download the projects at the Roundcube project page and the install instructions are there too.

ImageWhen it comes to deploying a new server or website, internal testing is critical. The easiest way I know to do this is by using MAMP.

The abbreviation MAMP stands for: Macintosh, Apache, Mysql and PHP. With just a few mouse-clicks, you can install Apache, PHP and MySQL for Mac OS X! It is all contained in one folder and doesn’t alter any settings in the OS. Turning on the MySQL and Apache servers takes just one button and you’re ready to go.

I find this most useful for testing a new site. For instance, you can use MAMP to install a local copy of WordPress and yo can work on your new site design quickly and privately.

MAMP is free, though they also offer a paid version with more options. You can download it at the MAMP website.