One feature that piqued my interested in the Apigility skeleton application was development mode. [...] Behind the scenes, this [call to public/index.php] runs an action in DevelopmentModeController which copies config/development.config.php.dist to config/development.config.php. Then there is some code in public/index.php that ensures that this file is loaded.
You can then have a ModuleManager instance specifically for the development version and configuration. This allows for a greater amount of customization and removes some requirements you might have had in production. He's also created a module that handles some of this for you automatically you can drop into your installation.