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SSH is basically the same protocol as sFTP as both run on port 22 so you can use an FTP client to manage files on an EC2 instance.
With AWS you are using an auth token instead of a username and password but you can connect to the server with an FTP client that supports this. Info here:
The problem you may run into is file permissions as you don’t want to use root for web development so you would need to login first and setup a non-root user and set the permissions accordingly.
...also, the things I'll be working on will be relatively simple. Mostly HTML/CSS and possibly a database for user logins.
it's definitely a learning curve and a lot of it has to be done in the console. We just started using AWS about 6 months ago
you just need console to attach to local host to get into phpmyadmin
I'm fairly certain they have an upload / drag & drop interface that's similar to an FTP client.
once you get a static IP you can connect to FTP with your username and the pem key
Another thought... I'd be surprised if AWS didn't have some sort of development environment you setup on your machine. So, you could do a simple "publish" command that uploaded all your changes.
I run bare Ubuntu servers that I've created my own system with, but I've used Google's App Engine in the past. It was super easy to push info to the web. You simply installed their development server to work with on your PC or dev server or whatever, and ran a simple one line command in a terminal to upload any changes.