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So for that you've got a couple of options. The simplest, and what we'll do on this course, is to work on a live server through FTP. If you need help understanding FTP and working with a hosted server, check out my course on Managing a Hosted Web Site. The other option is to run a local server on your machine. You can do that with software like MAMP on the Mac or WAMP on the PC. If you need help with that, check out Installing Apache, MySQL, and PHP, with David Gassner. Now, you should be familiar and comfortable working with text editors like BBEdit, Sublime Text, or others.
In this course I'm going to use an editor called Espresso, but you should use your favorite text editor. If you're on a Mac, you may want to check out TextWrangler from the Mac App Store. It has a cousin called BBEdit that is not free, but is a very capable developer tool. I like another editor that works on Macs, PCs, and Linux workstations called Sublime Text2. Although it's not free, it's quite capable and fun to use. And it really doesn't matter which editor you use, as long as it's something you're comfortable with. Finally, you're also going to need some sort of FTP application.
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