Trying to understand Drupal installation coming from Dreamweaver experience

I’m trying to wrap my mind around how I need to install Drupal as compared to how I operated with Dreamweaver. I’ve scanned this site, flipped through some books, have done Google searches as well as on YouTube, but cannot find the information I am looking for. I kind of like to know what I need to do to get started before actually digging in to learn the entire product.

Basically, what is the best and proper way to test changes before the world/users see them? (ie, new themes, changes in layout, new content, etc)

In Dreamweaver, everything was written and developed on my personal PC. When I was happy with the initial design, I uploaded it to the remote site using the built-in FTP function. Thereafter, whenever I wanted to make any changes, they too were done on my PC. Didn’t like what I saw? No problem – just back out and discard that. Played around with a page layout, new content or new features. Then when satisfied that it was ready for the world, I uploaded only the changed or new pages, text or images.

How is the same thing done with Drupal? If it is only installed on the remote server, how do I experiment with changes without the world seeing it? When I log on as an Administrator, do I have my own private “sandbox” to play in before deciding to promote any changes?

If I have to set up my own local copy (with PHP, SQL, etc) on my PC, how are changes uploaded? Is there FTP built in, or do I need a separate FTP program? And if I created new content, is it possible to upload only those new records to the SQL database, or does the whole database have to be uploaded to the remote server?

What is the best and safest way to test changes before the world sees them?

Mike

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