In a new blog post Cal Evans shares a solution he's come up with to help simplify his PHP development - using the Sun VirtualBox software to create a self-contained, controlled environment to run his scripts.
The more I thought about it though, the more I realized there had to be a better way. My current setup doesn't allow me to do things like test PHP 5.3 without setting up a whole new server just for that purpose, or maintain an environment like my production server.
He was looking for something that would work on a laptop, allow for easy environment switching and let him work on multiple projects at once. He came across the VirtualBox software and adapted it to his own needs (including shares folders between instances and multiple instances running Ubuntu) on his local machine.