I know there are better ways, which include a development server on the local machine, debuggers perhaps to step through code, etc. But while there's a plethora of information on how to learn languages, there doesn't seem to be much on the process of building software.
So I'm really looking for two things: suggestions on how to build an efficient development environment on the Mac and perhaps pointers to information that addresses these issues somewhere on the web. Should I look to XAMPP/MAMP or use the built-in web server? Should I consider an IDE like Eclipse for stepping through code, or is there a better solution. Would running Windows/Linux within Virtual Box be a good solution for testing across web browsers?