This is a rave about a group called Apache Friends. Their claim to fame is that they package up XAMPP
Ok I can hear you say “Whats Xampp?”.
XAMPP is an super easy to install Apache distribution containing MySQL, PHP and Perl. You just download, extract and start using. It’s main use is if you want to develop PHP/MySQL websites. With this program you can carry the whole server on your laptop and work on your stuff even without a connection. When you get a connection upload the changes to your production site and you are 99.99% sure it will work.
Now from a support point of view there are some other reasons to have a copy of this lying around your PC/Laptop. Picture this: You are at a site that has a remote IT admin (they are in another city) and you need to upload some patches or material to the local system. The IT people are in a meeting, what do you do?
Well, plug your laptop into a spare network port. their DHCP will give it an address, note down the address (START >RUN >CMD >ipconfig ). Open your firewall port 80 (or whatever you have apache set to) and then from a machine on the local system open a browser, key in the laptop’s ip address and download the material from your “Laptop WebServer” ip. Simple, effective and make sure you didn’t sign the AUP document.
Seriously though, as a development platform XAMPP is awesome. (This entry was written on my laptop hosted copy of WordPress and then exported to the live server you are reading it from… just because I can).