Considering the beginner question I would say using a .htaccess file is a good thing for now. Easier to test and experiment with.
I also tell beginners they can use .htaccess but I also say that they (apache2 documentation) don't recommend it. It's something good to know even if you are a beginner :)
I have to set it up on a shared hosting, so access to httpd.conf isn't available :) but thanks a lot!! Like I said, I am also trying to write a PHP MVC framework, so every bit of info is useful
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