yes, you can install CMS, forums, etc... that is the idea
The bad new is Xampp doesn't use the same CPanel you have seen in "normal" hosts (it is not free, and Xammp only use free software). But you have phpMyAdmin, and it is really easy to use.
I will assume you already ran the http://localhost/security/xamppsecurity.php
script, and you have already setup a password for the root user in mysql.
(if not.. I think you should do it). Then, open phpMyAdmin. The user is root (the account with higher priviledges). The password is the one you set when you ran the security script.
Now you need to Create new database
. I suggest to use UTF-8 for connection collation. Use utf8_general_ci for the database collation (unless someone else says otherwise... I am just supposing it is better to use a standar collation that support most characters). Fill the name field, and click Create.
"Database cosafea has been created."
And the detail of the query used is: "CREATE DATABASE `cosafea` DEFAULT CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_general_ci;" (but don't worry if you don't understand those commands, that is the reason why we use phpMyAdmin...)
Now, you need to create another user for mysql, since it is not a good idea to use the root account for applications...
Click the house icon under phpMyAdmin title, on the left. That will show you the options that dissapeared when you created the database. Click "Privileges", and once in that screen, click "Add a new User". In "Login Information", fill the following fields:
User Name [Use Text Field] The_name_you_want_to_use
Host [Any Host] Localhost <---not really sure about the "anyhost"
Password [Use Text Field] a good password, hard to guess. more than 8 characters too.
Database for user: None
Check all privileges.
Create the user.
Now, you will associate the user you have just created, with the database you created for your CMS.
Database-specific privileges: Select in the drop-down list, the name of the database. Then you will get the privileges list again, so check them all again.
And now you should be ready to install the CMS. Close phpMyAdmin, and open in your browser the folder where the CMS is (I suppose you put it in a folder inside Xampp's htdocs folder), if the install.php (or whatever name it has) doesn't automatically load, enter it in the browser, and then the installation should begin... at least, that is the way SMF and Galaxytool install scripts work.