Yes, the "public root" folder for Apache is htdocs.
I had XAMPP on my old machine and it worked fine. But for the one I have now I wanted APACHE, PHP, Perl, Python and MySQL separate so I could upgrade them individually. A bit more of a pain setting them up but good if you can manage IMHO. But if you get get frustrated don't let it stop you, go with a packaged bundle instead.
Instead of phpMyAdmin, I installed MySQL Workbench, definitely a lot different from what I'm used to, but I'm getting the hang of it.