This is from Joomla's Wiki, It describes setting up a workstation for Joomla devlopment using XAMPP. Its mostly aimed at getting a good PHP environment going. Very little of it is really Joomla specific, nor is it Windows specific, Linux is also addressed. Installing Xdebug and Eclipse are also covered. Almost anyone wishing to know more about XAMPP or PHP devleopment could benefit from this excellent, extremely detailed and well explained tutorial.
http://docs.joomla.org/Setting_up_your_ ... troduction
I hope others will find this as useful as I did.