XAMPP should have asked you for your domain name and/or IP Address. Those are the values you should use for a test server. Those questions are asked by the Apache installation program and those are the answers which must be given. Any "canned program" like XAMPP or WAMPP would give you only a snapshot of a daemon set for running a website with the only advantage being the "simplicity" of setting it up (albeit, not likely in maintaining it). If you have problems setting it up, then your best bet, as above, is to look to the XAMPP forum for help.
As for details of installing up to date programs, they are in Kevin Yank's book (http://www.sitepoint.com/books/phpmysql4/) in the free sample chapters (Chapter 1). Anything I would say is already there.