Nice to see a dedicated forum for this. I'm sure we'll see a lot of implementations from various distributors (XAMPP, MAMP, WAMP). For beginners, there is the free version of DesktopServer (based on XAMPP for Mac and Windows). You can create not one, but three 'virtual web servers' each preloaded to run WordPress. You could create one for testing out plugins, one for development, and one for a client project, etc. Each act as isolated servers and use a fake domain name you can make up (i.e. http://www.example.dev).
I'm hoping this tool will help get WordPress in the hands of more developers and designers. Other versions allow you to to run more then three or run multiple multisites and all with domain mapping (a subject a bit beyond beginners but made a lot easier). Multisite is something a lot of people shy away from as it typically involves DNS wildcards, real hosting etc. If you are looking for a fast track development server, please take a moment to check it out.