Now it took me a while before I discovered that all those tools were available to me, and in that time, I discovered some pretty good alternatives - though I admit, nothing beats having your own local setup already well... setup.

First and foremost, I'd have to mention the guys at BitNami. As soon as I landed on the BitNami site, I felt like I had hit the jackpot. These guys provide MAMP, WAMP, LAMP, and SAMP stacks available as native installers as well as VM or cloud images. Installation is simple, fast, and easy - just follow the directions. To top it off, they also provide application stacks such as for django and ruby, and applications modules such as for Wordress, which can be installed on top of an existing stack in under 5 minutes. Now the piece de resistance, is that every stack comes with it's own self contained environment. So your python configuration on your django stack isn't going to interfere with your local python config.

Next on the list, would be Xampp and Mamp, which of course don't provide anything that BitNami doesn't, but may strike a cord of familiarity for those who like me, are moving from a Windows box to a Mac. Xampp was my defacto WAMP installer on my Dell Inspiron E1705 and so for those looking to stick with what they know, it is worth noting that Xampp is also available on the Mac. Mamp on the other hand, seemed to be the popular option amongst Mac users prior to Snow Leopard and so for that reason, it is worth mentioning that this remains a viable option. They even have a little notice on their website, that says just that.

Of course all of this, is nothing but a precursor to actually getting your code on. This next statement, may not speak much to existing Mac or Linux based programmers, but I'm sure it will speak volumes to Windows users. *I just uninstalled Eclipse, in favour of the command-line. It's true. Now perhaps when I want to do some hardcore Java programming I will reinstall it, but for now it's just a waste of space. And that my friends, begins your introduction to Terminal.