Develop your Joomla site on your own network. You will be amazed how much faster you will get things done.
Building your site locally is much faster and simpler then uploading and waiting for page refreshes constantly on a remote server. The local build will then double as a sandbox test environment when your site goes live, as you should never be doing updates or upgrades to a live site.
Depending on what operating system you use, you will have two options I would suggest:MAMP
I use a Mac, so the clear option for me was MAMP. MAMP sets up Apache, MySql and PHP4/5 for you in a matter of seconds. MAMP is not a Joomla specific product so you will have to manually install Joomla, but it is a very polished product with lots of features and it is free for the basic version. The pro version allows you to have multiple sites and integrates with a dynamic DNS service so you can host sites right from your computer. Great for showing your client progress on a site temporarily.
JOOMLA STANDALONE SERVER
I also have a PC that I use for diagnosing IE issues. I wanted the same feature for the PC but MAMP was a Mac only application. Enter JSAS.
JSAS is a standalone server similar to MAMP, but it’s roots are with Joomla. When you install JSAS it automatically installs Joomla 1.0.xx for you. This solution took as long to install as it took to download. Maybe 5 minutes? Do you want a Joomla 1.5 install? Not a problem, JSAS lets you install multiple websites as well. According to the website, there is also a Mac version on it’s way.
So, by using either of these programs you will find yourself building websites considerably faster and more efficiently. If your clients find out you are doing updates to a live site, it could seriously tarnish your reputation, so localhost development has multiple benefits for you, your clients, and potentially your future.
Do you have a different opinion, or a better standalone solution? Let us know in the comments.