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Installing Omeka and Neatline on a Mac

Install MAMP

MAMP is a free piece of software that automates the process of running a development "LAMP stack" (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) server on your computer. There's a "pro" version that you have to pay money for, but the free version works just fine.

  1. Go to and click on the "Download" links.

  2. When the file finishes downloading, run the .pkg file, which will open up a regular Mac installer program. Click through the steps to install the package.

  3. Once MAMP is installed, you'll have a new folder in your Applications directory called MAMP. Open up that folder, and you'll see a listing for MAMP, which is the actual program that manages the server. Double-click on that to launch the configuration utility, and then click on "Start Servers" to spin up the server.

Install Omeka

Next, we'll need to install Omeka.

  1. Head over to and click on the "Download Omeka" link.

  2. On the downloads page, click the "Download Omeka 2.2.2" link.

  3. Once the .zip archive has finished downloading, find the file in finder (if you're using Chrome, click on the little arrow next to the listing for the file at the bottom of the screen, and then click "Show in Finder").

  4. Double-click on the file to uncompress it. You'll end up with a regular directory called omeka-2.2.2.

  5. Click on the folder that was extracted from the .zip archive and copy it to the clipboard by pressing Command+C.

  6. In Finder, go to Applications/MAMP/htdocs and paste in the Omeka folder.

  7. Right click on the folder and click on "Get Info." In the "Name and Extension" input, change omeka-2.2.2 to just plain omeka. This isn't required, but it will make the URLs in your development environment a bit less cluttered.

  8. Open up a browser and go to http://localhost:8888/MAMP, the configuration home page for MAMP. At the top of the screen, select Tools > phpMyAdmin. phpMyAdmin is a configuraton interface for the MySQL database that will store the data that gets added to the Omeka site.

  9. First, we need to create a new database. Click on the "Databases" tab at the top of the screen, and find the "Create Database" input. Type omeka, and then hit "Create."

  10. Next, we'll create a user than can connect to the database. Click on the "Users" tab along the top, and then click the "Add user" link at the bottom.

  11. Type a name into the "User name" field. This can be anything you like - in development, I just use omeka, which is easy to remember.

  12. Click on the dropdown next to "Host" and select "Local."

  13. Type a password into the "Password" field. On a production server, this should be a strong, secure password. But, in development I just use omeka again.

  14. Re-type the password in the last field.

  15. In the "Global privileges" panel at the bottom of the page, just click the "Check All" input. This basically makes the user into a "super user" who can do anything.

  16. Next, we need to tell Omeka where to find the database. Go back to the omeka folder in Finder, open it up, and double click on the db.ini file to open it. If you get a box asking you to pick which program you want to use to open the file, you'll need to download a text editor that you can use to edit source files - take a look at Sublime Text, which is a nice editor.

  17. In db.ini, you'll see something like this:

host     = "XXXXXXX"
username = "XXXXXXX"
password = "XXXXXXX"
dbname   = "XXXXXXX"
prefix   = "omeka_"
charset  = "utf8"
;port     = ""

Change host -> localhost, username -> omeka, password -> omeka, and dbname -> omeka, so that it looks like this:

host     = "localhost"
username = "omeka"
password = "omeka"
dbname   = "omeka"
prefix   = "omeka_"
charset  = "utf8"
;port     = ""

Then, save the file to lock in the new settings.

  1. Last, we just need to run Omeka's web-based installer. Go to http://localhost:8888/omeka and fill out all of the required fields (Username, Password, Email, Administrator Email, and Site Title). Then, click the "Install" button, and, if all goes well, you'll see a page that says "Success!" with links to the public site and admin dashboard.

  2. Click on "Admin Dashboard," which is where we'll need to be for the last step.

Install Neatline

Last, we just need to install Neatline, which is a plugin that sits inside of Omeka.

  1. Go back to and click on "Add-Ons" in the main menu.

  2. On the right side of the screen, click on "All Plugins," and then scroll down to the listing for "Neatline." Click on the "Download v2.3.0" link.

  3. When the .zip archive finishes downloading, find it in the Downloads folder and double-click it to extract the Neatline folder, which contains the source code.

  4. Click on Neatline and press Command+C to copy it to the clipboard.

  5. Go back to the Omeka folder at Applications/MAMP/htdocs/omeka and open up the plugin folder. Paste in the Neatline folder, so that the final directory structure is Applications/MAMP/htdocs/omeka/plugins/Neatline.

  6. Go back to the Omeka admin dashboard in the browser an click on the "Plugins" link at the top of the screen. Find the listing for "Neatline," and click the "Install" button.

And, that's it! Once the page reloads, you'll see a new "Neatline" tab at the bottom of the left pane - click there to get started with Neatline.

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