Why Web Developers Don’t Need A Mac

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As Web developers, we never stop hearing about the Mac. A lot of people love to talk about their Macs, but despite the “elite” status of the Apple computer, is there any need for a Web developer to splash money on one? A few weeks ago, Mark Nutter wrote here on Smashing Magazine in favor of swapping your PC for a Mac1, and while some of his reasons are good, there are plenty of reasons to stick with (or switch back to!) Windows.

This article explores the best aspects of the Windows PC and, more importantly, the different apps that Web developers can use to become more efficient in their work. Every piece of software mentioned here is free to use.

Developer Tools

Notepad++ (code editor)

After looking at many text editors, Notepad++2 is by far the best I’ve found. On top of the standard features you would expect from a great text editor, you can extend its functionality by installing any of the free plug-ins3 that suit you.

Notepad++4

Some of the things that really make Notepad++ shine:

  • FTP Synchronize
    Allows you to connect to a server by FTP and edit files in Notepad++. Then when you save the file, it is automatically uploaded back to the server. No more saving files in an editor and then firing up a separate FTP client! Bonus: the FTP sync has “Keep Alive,” which pings the server at regular intervals to stop the connection from being closed.
  • Document Compare
    Open two versions of the same document and the differences between them are automatically highlighted. Great for finding out where a coding change has gone wrong!
  • Code auto-completion
    Auto-completion is a fairly standard feature, but with Notepad++ the code libraries can be downloaded from the website and updated manually. Keeping up to date with changes in the languages is easy then, and you can even write your own library file.
  • Panel Views
    Allows you to see two files at once, side by side. Hugely useful if you have a large monitor and want to make better use of all the space.
  • Ctrl + D to duplicate a line
    It may sound simple but is surprisingly useful. As an example, it took two seconds to write out all the <li></li> tags for this list!

Texter (text expander)

Texter5 is a free app from Lifehacker. It allows you to type a few characters, then hit Tab and have those characters replaced with a string of text. This is great for a lot of computer tasks (answering email most of all!), but the real advantage for developers is that Texter lets you specify key presses. For example, {HOME} is interpreted as pressing the Home button.

Take the following hot string:

Screenshot6

{BACKSPACE}{HOME}<p>{END}</p>

When coding, I type the text of my paragraph, then add a space, press “p” and hit tab. Texter automatically puts the <p> at the start of the line and </p> at the end.

That’s just one example. I have about 35 different strings saved for use in coding, so the number of possible uses is huge.

WampServer (Apache, PHP and MySQL)

Installing a Web server on your local PC is great for development because you can test everything easily and instantly. No waiting on Web servers and dodgy Internet connections. WampServer7 packs an Apache, PHP and MySQl install all into one simple executable file, so your server will be up and running in five minutes tops.

Screenshot8

Clipboard Manager

Clipboard Manager9 is a sidebar widget for Vista. It displays a snippet of the most recent items that you’ve copied. If you click one of the snippets, it is brought to the top of the clipboard, so when you hit Ctrl + V, you’ll paste that instead of what you copied last.

Screenshot10

This is extremely useful when you are working on a document or script for re-arranging chunks of the page or copying properties from one object to another. Clipboard Manager cuts down drastically on the amount of time spent re-copying the same snippet again and again.

AutoHotkey (write your own shortcuts)

AutoHotkey11 allows you to create your own hot keys or remap existing ones. The scripts can be either extremely simple or quite complex. The Quickstart Guide12 walks you through everything you need to know.

One of the hot keys I use most is simple: pressing Caps Lock + W to close the current window. Anyone who is used to using Ctrl + W to close a tab in FireFox will find this very handy!

; Close Active Window
Capslock & w::
WinClose, A
return

Syncback (automatic back-ups)

Everyone’s hard drive fails eventually. Online tools like Mozy13 and Dropbox14 are ideal for backing up critical files that you’re currently working on, but backing up everything on your hard drive to one of these tools just isn’t feasible for most people.

Syncback15 is a free tool from 2BrightSparks that automatically backs up all your files to an external drive. (A paid version is available as well, but the freeware is more than enough.)

Screenshot16

You select which folders to back up, set when you want back-ups to take place and let Syncback do the work. Back-ups can be done manually or automatically, and only files that have changed will be copied, so it is very efficient after the first run. It will even email you a report if any errors occur during the backup, such as certain files not being able to be copied.

Windows Live Writer (blog posting)

Not every developer needs this, but many of us have our own blogs now. Windows Live Writer17 is a free tool to help you write blog posts.

The main advantage of this is that it accesses your website and re-creates your design in the program. You can then write your post directly onto the website background, so you can see everything about your post’s presentation and fix it easily.

Screenshot18
Image source19

Is that image too big? Or that paragraph too long? Seeing it for yourself is the best way to catch these flaws.

The Best Parts Of The Mac

OS X does some things very nicely. Thankfully, the best bits can all be re-created in Windows free of charge.

The Dock → RocketDock

The Dock is probably the most distinctive Mac feature. The large icons and easy access to them appeal to a lot of people

RocketDock20 brings the Dock to Windows beautifully. Drag and drop to re-arrange, position on any side of the monitor, minimize windows to the dock and more. The demo video from its website below shows RocketDock in action:

Quicksilver → Launchy

Launching applications from your keyboard is an extremely fast way to work. Mac users use Quicksilver for this, but Windows users can use Launchy21. Launchy can be set to index only programs or include files as well. You also choose which directories it indexes. One of the best uses for it is to set up a directory of utility scripts that you can execute from a few quick keystrokes in Launchy.

Screenshot22

For example, iTuny23 is a set of free scripts to control iTunes from Launchy. Now, if I want to skip to the next song, I hit Alt + Space to bring up Launchy and type “inext” to launch the iTunes Next script from iTuny. You can set up scripts for whatever you like, including shutting down and locking your machine.

Leopard Stacks → Stand-Alone Stack

Stacks are a great way to easily access your most commonly used files and programs.

Screenshot24
Image source25

Standalone Stack26 allows you to create your own stacks in Windows, either in the taskbar or on your desktop. And you can display the files in either a list or a grid, just like in Leopard. For anyone using Rocketdock, you can install the Stacks Docklet27 from Matonga to get stacks into your dock.

More Control Of Your Machine

Custom Visual Styles

VistaGlazz28 allows you to control the appearance of your Vista installation. You can create your own custom styles or download them for free. One of the best sources of styles is DeviantArt29 (which has some OS X styles30, though they’re not as polished as the Vista versions!).

Another popular application for theming is WindowBlinds31 from Stardock, but you need to pay for it. You’ll find plenty of themes for it on DeviantArt32 as well.

More Hardware Options

Macs come with very few variations in hardware. You have a small selection and just have to choose whichever one is closest to what you need. Because anyone can develop hardware for Windows, the selection is much greater. And because of this competition between manufacturers, companies are forced to offer good value for your money.

That doesn’t just mean better specs for about half the price. Check out this new multi-touch HP laptop33, which comes in under the cost of any MacBook. Search around and you will find the perfect machine for your needs.

Screenshot

Huge Range of Devices

On top of the core hardware, you have thousands of peripherals to choose from. For graphics designers, that means a massive selection of tablets34. But there are a lot of other devices as well, right down to your mouse. I have a five-button mouse and just hit the extra buttons on either side for small tasks like going backward and forward in a Web browser and Windows Explorer. For developers who have to give regular presentations to clients, this nifty wireless mouse/remote control35 is ideal.

Screenshot

Conclusion

There are a lot of good things about the Mac, and it’s hard not to get a little excited about them each time you watch one of Apple’s big developer conferences.

What you have to remember is that at the end of the day, the operating system is a means to an end, not the end itself. Whichever system you choose should make your daily work (and play!) easier and more efficient. Windows combined with the great free software and tips I’ve found online allows me to work exactly the way I want. I wouldn’t dream of going back to a default Vista installation with no extras: the customized installation is worth so much more to me than either Windows or OS X on its own.

We would love to hear what aspects of your operating system made you choose it (but not the flaws in the other one that made you not choose it!) and how you use it to work at your best.

(al)

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/04/26/five-reasons-why-designers-are-switching-to-mac/
  2. 2 http://notepad-plus.sourceforge.net/uk/site.htm
  3. 3 http://notepad-plus.sourceforge.net/uk/download.php
  4. 4 http://notepad-plus.sourceforge.net/uk/site.htm
  5. 5 http://lifehacker.com/238306/lifehacker-code-texter-windows
  6. 6 http://lifehacker.com/238306/lifehacker-code-texter-windows
  7. 7 http://www.wampserver.com/en/
  8. 8 http://www.wampserver.com/en/
  9. 9 http://gallery.live.com/liveItemDetail.aspx?li=0f6a9526-97aa-4b6f-9b24-95b193c158d4
  10. 10 http://gallery.live.com/liveItemDetail.aspx?li=0f6a9526-97aa-4b6f-9b24-95b193c158d4
  11. 11 http://www.autohotkey.com/
  12. 12 http://www.autohotkey.com/docs/Tutorial.htm
  13. 13 http://mozy.com/
  14. 14 http://www.getdropbox.com/
  15. 15 http://www.2brightsparks.com/downloads.html#freeware
  16. 16 http://www.2brightsparks.com/downloads.html#freeware
  17. 17 http://download.live.com/writer?wa=wsignin1.0
  18. 18 http://download.live.com/writer?wa=wsignin1.0
  19. 19 http://etechland.blogspot.com/2007/11/review-windows-live-writer.html
  20. 20 http://rocketdock.com/
  21. 21 http://www.launchy.net/
  22. 22 http://www.launchy.net/
  23. 23 http://f0vela.wordpress.com/2008/08/02/ituny-version-05-released/
  24. 24 http://www.chrisnsoft.com/standalonestack/
  25. 25 http://circledock.wikidot.com/stack-docklet
  26. 26 http://www.chrisnsoft.com/standalonestack/
  27. 27 http://rocketdock.com/addon/docklets/1791
  28. 28 http://www.codegazer.com/vistaglazz/
  29. 29 http://browse.deviantart.com/customization/skins/vistautil/visstyles/?order=9
  30. 30 http://patrickgs.deviantart.com/art/Vista-OS-X-09-VS-71496545
  31. 31 http://www.stardock.com/products/windowblinds/
  32. 32 http://browse.deviantart.com/customization/skins/vistautil/windowblindsvista/
  33. 33 http://www.hp.com/united-states/campaigns/touchsmart/notebook/index.html
  34. 34 http://www.amazon.com/b/ref=amb_link_6682722_23?ie=UTF8&node=16034531&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=gp-left-1&pf_rd_r=1H6Q6ESFN2EHD94WCKF4&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=476342931&pf_rd_i=541966
  35. 35 http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Wireless-Notebook-Presenter-Mouse/dp/B000HDMPTO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1242299208&sr=8-1

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Michael Martin writes about Web design, WordPress and coding at Pro Blog Design. You can subscribe there for advice on making the most of your blog's design, or follow him on Twitter.

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  1. 1

    I use a Mac because it’s more inspirational to my creative flow than Windows’ “programmeriness” and lack of, uh, care. Oh, and attention to detail.

    0
  2. 52

    Lol.

    Lol, lol, lol.

    Textmate does it all.
    Apache/PHP is shipped with OS X.5. Just need to install MySQL.

    So what ?
    FTP synchronize ? Please, tell me you don’t use FTP to deploy your websites…

    You are totally wrong about Mac’s best parts. Those are sugars, not primary strengths.

    0
  3. 103

    You forgot to mention that most people don’t use Macs and if your building a site, it’s best to use the target audiences machine to do the testing. Of course you could have both machines… but that’s expensive and can add time to a project.

    0
  4. 154

    come on guys you got to admit that pc will never compare to mac. ever since I switched development to mac my production speed has dramatically increased! pc sucks!

    0
  5. 205

    My very first computer was the IBM 5500 way back in 1988. Then had to use PCs and Macs for all my various employees down the line. My conclusion: sorry, but I love my Mac. As a graphic designer, it’s a godsend. Plus after being tired of reinstalling my friends’ PC computer systems every couple of months, most of my friends got Macs – while the others have developed close relationships with their local Geek Squad – and now, no more frantic phone calls about crashed systems, mysterious viruses and spyware. But you know, I have no “hate” for PC lovers. Because that’s the beauty of living in a variegated world: to each his own, right?

    0
  6. 256

    I’ve been the only person on a PC in the office for a year now. Sure, it’s okay, but it’s not a perfect setup by any means. Notepad++, Filezilla, Photoshop, and WAMP get the job done but that doesn’t mean the workflow is the greatest.

    For instance, last I checked Notepad++’s FTP plugin doesn’t support SFTP. Well, since the server on which we host some of clients’ sites requires an SFTP login, I can’t use the plugin.

    What about a text editor like Textmate and Coda that can seamlessly handle SVN/Git and FTP via an external program that can handle SFTP? What about a global menu? What about Expose and Spaces? What about using a hot corner to smoothly show your desktop icons without the need for mashing a keyboard combination? There’s more crap you have to hack into your Windows install. Not to mention most of the apps that do these things are janky and perform poorly.

    I mean, Windows can’t even get saving folder view settings right. Every program has its own look and feel and ways of getting things done. There’s no unification, no true workflow. It works, sure, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be better. Windows is exactly as it was built — 20 years of bits and pieces tacked on over time.

    Macs just work and they do it with a little civility. PCs work but it’s a disjointed “held together with duct tape” kind of work. I’d say the only thing PCs have going for them is the IE testing. Run IETester (http://www.my-debugbar.com/wiki/IETester/HomePage) and you’re golden. But, really, this is a nonissue to a Mac user if you have a PC sitting around at home or at the office.

    0
  7. 307

    I think Mac’s are way too expensive. I use a brand new laptop with Vista, and my work enviroment runs really smooth. E-text for editing, Adobe CS for graphics, animations, etc., Filezilla for FTP, and I’m sure there’s a lot of apps that are Windows-only.

    For quick searches, I strongly recommend you Google Desktop, the index velocity is awesome, and works great.

    If you keep your work organized, it doesn’t matter if you navigate trough your files with Explorer or Finder.

    I use Xampp, and there’s a lot of tools for database developing (not phpmyadmin) that are windows-only. (correct me if I’m wrong).

    Anyway, nice post.

    #40. There’s no way anyone develop in Linux without the Adobe Suit. I know there’s GIMP, Inkscape, and so, but I’ll still miss Flash developing.

    0
  8. 358

    I’m not sure what to think about this article. I’m leaning towards a sell-out + link frenzy + comment flame frenzy = lots of traffic.

    Bottom line, use the tools (including the OS) that you want to build something that works, that is beautiful, and that beats the expectation.

    Quarreling (or falling for the quarreling) about such things is ridiculous. True developers know their options and are quite in touch with their own preferences. They don’t waste time with such baiting.

    And I expect more from Smashing, if this is in fact the motive. I have to say that this is the first article that I’ve found totally useless within this publication.

    0
  9. 409

    I just don’t get why people still fight over Macs and PCs here. The author just wrote an article, he did not commit a crime. Those people who “love” macs, go head and love it just don’t brag about it because if i “love” my PC, no matter what you say I just don’t buy it. No matter what you say. I been a PC user all my life, I learned how to use computers on PC and used mac few times but mac will NEVER replace PC, Ever. So just keep your opinion to yourself.

    Thank You!

    0
  10. 460

    for me the most important thing of stick to windows is the whole bunch of software and utilities available, for instance today i had a problem with an Epson printer, i called Epson and they couldn’t help me, so i search for my problem and i found a freeware that could do a reset of the printer, thing that you can’t do manually. And i could fix it because i was in windows….

    0
  11. 511

    Sure, WAMP is a good tool, but so is MAMP on the Mac – also free and does the same thing, so why is WAMP a migration point. My experience on both platforms (as a developer and commercial web host) is that PHP/MySQL just runs better and faster on Unix/Mac system

    0
  12. 562

    I own 2 macs and work on pcs at work and all i can say is boooo pc. of course i’m more of a designer, so…

    0
  13. 613

    Nobody needs a Mac. Nobody needs Windows. Get a decent O/S.. maybe a *free* unix variant..

    0
  14. 664

    This is the strangest article I’ve ever read here at SM. Name me TWO: working, efficient and successful web designers (not bloggers) that use ONLY freeware. oh, and Windows freeware to boot.

    And Smashing Mag, if some people are upset about seeing Mac centered articles lately, why not just post more Windows centered articles – WITHOUT any slamming or personal opinion of authors? You are just asking for a flame war here.

    Disappointed.

    0
  15. 715

    I prefer using a mac for just about everything (and have used one for 16 years), but really not all us mac users are arrogant jerks about it. Use what you want – just make good design with it. Creativity isn’t controlled by your OS.

    0
  16. 766

    This post should be titled “How to pretend you’re developing in OSX when you’re really using Windows”. That said, seems close. Can’t say I’m much of a fan when it comes to Ruby on Windows though. Great links.

    0
  17. 817

    Henrique Barroso

    June 10, 2009 4:32 pm

    I’m a web developer running windows as well and I don’t want to start another editor war but I’ve got to be honest, I really don’t see the hype about notepad++. Yes, it’s freaking fast, but don’t believe in the “add-ons magic”, must of them are outdated, don’t even work on the current notepad++ version, Not n++ fault but it’s just wrong assuming it as the best windows editor. You should check e-text editor or even Komodo Edit,

    But about the rest of the article, I think that OSX is a really eye-candy beautiful operating system, wich inspires coder to make beautiful apps for it like textmate, coda and so on.
    And even tough i’m running windows my next computer will defenitelly be a Mac, not because it’s cute, but because i’m (also) trying to hard to turn my windows into osx lol.

    0
  18. 868

    A computer is just a tool and the Mac is a better tool. Far less downtime with a Mac than a Windows box. For those who rather work than troubleshoot their computer problems–Macs are the way to go.

    0
  19. 919

    I find the title of your article ironic since there was a decade where that I got laughed at for using a Mac. All the smug PC users got the lion’s share of software titles, they got software sooner and they got it cheaper.

    Now the tables have turned, and for good reason. Macs offer a better system, better hardware, better usability, better security, better reliability. And if you look at the lifetime cost of owning one, they are cheaper. And now that I have a terminal, Textmate, Photoshop, Parallels and Flash, I have all I need.

    0
  20. 970

    This is why I run XP in VMWare on my MacBook Pro—so I can test pages in multiple versions of IE and run my favourite Windows apps. Win+win! Or, to be precise, OSX+Win!

    Most of the time people talk rubbish about either platform because they don’t own it. And, like many of us know, once you get a Mac all your concerns and worries fly out the window. Personally, I think overpriced as it is, Mac is worth every penny.

    With all that being said, I still do work on XP, and there is always a spot in my heart for it.

    0
  21. 1021

    I have a Mac, numerous PCs, and multiple Linux machines. I only really need the PC, but the Mac is the best for parental controls. I actually don’t like the text editors that are available for Mac, and have tried a bunch. I’m a die-hard Notepad++ user!!!

    0
  22. 1072

    well, actually maybe the macs was not the best option to web design, but i use pc and mac and i switch to mac because im graphic designer and photographer and the mac do my life more easir itself, it’s thuth, the expose, the doc, the most quickly startup that i ever had all the good and bad things that the mac os x had, i love them.

    0
  23. 1123

    This is strange… so you want to “switch” back to Windows and try all you can to make it as Mac-like as possible?

    0
  24. 1174

    Mac with vmware = win

    0
  25. 1225

    I moved to a mac book pro a couple of years ago when i was looking at getting a laptop. the main reason that i got one at the time was that the mac just worked and the cost was relative to that of a PC based laptop. The build quality was allot nicer and when you are out and about chatting to clients (other techies) they are always ahh you have a mac book pro no idea why people have this ora around the mac. Maybe it is just that they work.

    i also like the comment on there are so many more hardware options for PC.

    I got it for the build quality and the fact that in the few years i have had it i have not had to rebuild it. My new one should turn up shortly with a nice new fast processor. Then the wife will be happy with here 2ghz nac book pro :)

    0
  26. 1276

    i think it is depend on who you are…
    look at the list you provide, all of them available on Mac,
    i think windows is way too poor to work

    0
  27. 1327

    If you are developing for the iPhone you need a Mac.
    :)

    0
  28. 1378

    PC FTW. That said, I actually really, really like OS X. It’s certainly nice to use. But, Macs are overpriced and not particularly useful for my needs as a developer.

    1. The platform is much, much cheaper. I can get a ridiculously high specced machine for less than the cheapest Mac; I know this because we have the cheapest Mac we could get our hands on (buying new) here at work for web testing and iphone development, it’s a dog. Sure you can go down the Hackintosh path, but then you have to be careful to stick to certain hardware. I upgrade frequently to take advantage of cheap PC hardware as the nature of the work I do means that I’m often running all my cores at 100%.

    2. There is much, much more software available for Windows. You can go on as much as you want about how much great software there is for OS X, but the vast majority of those programs run on Windows too. Oh, and then there are something like 10-100 times the amount of software that will only run on Windows. Sure you can run Windows on your Mac if you want to, but I can run OS X on my PC if I want to, albeit in violation of Apple’s licensing agreement.

    3. There is a much bigger user community, so it’s easier to Google problems, solutions etc. as there are simply more people using Windows and Windows based tools, and therefore more people talking about it on the Internet.

    4. The development tools and frameworks are more modern and more mature on Windows. Visual Studio and .NET vs Xcode and Objective-C? Ha. Our inhouse iPhone developer calls it Objectionable-C.

    5. This is probably just because I’m used to Windows but I don’t like the windowing on OS X. Only being able to resize from the bottom right corner vs. anywhere on the border, not being able to maximize windows easily, the “zoom” button is a plus sign, which always weirds me out because sometimes clicking it makes the window shrink – I mean, I understand that it’s a toggle but it still seems counterintuitive.

    0
  29. 1429

    There would be no logic in developing in .NET on Mac.

    0
  30. 1480

    Macs still PWN.

    0
  31. 1531

    I’m a Mac user at home, but somehow, when I need to create a site or design graphics or code, I feel so much more at home with my PC. Maybe it’s because I’ve been using it for years, and I’ve only switched to Mac last year. Not saying that Mac doesn’t have great apps for design & code, but right now, I still move easily with Windows (and I’m still on XP hehe)

    0
  32. 1582

    I am a retired web developer (still dabbling) now a web PM. I have a PC (or two or three) and I sometimes use a Mac at work. I have to say that not being able to right click absolutely drives me up the wall. I also really love my keyboard shortcuts galore. So, I don’t get the Mac hype much either. Plus, the rumour that Macs never have problems is simply untrue. They just have different issues than PCs do. You’re just trading one set of problems for another set.

    I do have to add that PC have WAMP, but Mac has MAMP, which is pretty much the same thing. ;-)

    0
  33. 1633

    First smashing magazine I’m disapointed about… when usually the authors show different points of views, this one was just totaly biased.

    I’m a developer and I don’t use mac because the layout looks cool, I use it because it has a lot of efficient and practical softwares and because it’s UNIX based, unlike windows. This just changes everything. I can’t believe that the author didn’t even addressed that since this is a really important point.

    @Kate Vickers
    You can right click on a mac

    0
  34. 1684

    @kate.

    Are you still living in Panther era and one mouse button? Now Mac has more then right click.
    Excuse not using mac for not having right click is ridicilous.

    0
  35. 1735

    Ironic:
    AutoHotKey,
    SyncBack,
    RocketDock,
    StandAloneStack,
    & VistaGlazz
    are all third party programs that add to Windows to make them function or appear to function more like OSX.

    Just an observation.

    0
  36. 1786

    I used a PC for web development for about 9 years. About a year ago I switched to a Mac and every time I turn on my PC I cringe. Coda is amazing and having a UNIX like terminal is great too. I don’t see myself going back to working on a PC. The only time I use it is to play certain games.

    0
  37. 1837

    Hahahahahaha. April Fools came late this year?

    With a standard (right from the online store) configuration of a PC, try getting a localhost development Apache/MySQL server with all the bells and whistles operating (XAMPP), add a good code editor (TextMate), and an image editor (GIMP), downloaded, up and running in a half hour. Then upgrade the OS with the latest patches and security updates and restart all those applications.

    0
  38. 1888

    Seriously? Is this post for real? I love Smashing Mag’s articles but … wow. What “aspect” of my OS made me choose it (OS X)? How about stability! I was a life long PC user who got fed up of Microsoft’s lousy excuse for an OS. I switched to Mac 3 years ago and have rediscovered what it’s like to actually enjoy using and developing on my computer. Instead of constantly fighting with it. And can we get off of the Mac is more expensive than PC argument already. Mac prices continue to drop and there is little question anymore that the hardware is superior and the OS rock solid. So no … you don’t “need” a Mac, but trust me, with a web server, Rails, Python and more pre-installed and ready to go out of the box … it’s really a no brainer.

    0
  39. 1939

    I love this article so awesome.

    0
  40. 1990

    Except in the 80s, when we used Macs everywhere at SGI, I’ve never touched them, but this is one of the most insane articles I’ve ever read on smashing. Utter nonsense trying to state any of the above mentioned tools are better at all, much less better on Windows. In fact, I’ll state that there are better tools than those on ANY other operating system–Macs or any of Unix and its variations.

    0
  41. 2041

    its simply a pointless, because by changing the environment how can get t he experience of the MAC?

    any way windows vista or Win 7 will never produce the performance of a MAC OSX

    0
  42. 2092

    I had some experience with Mac in the past. About Mac, I can say: if you’re doing desktop publishing, then Yes, if you are a web developer, then No. Do not restrict yourself. I am working with both Windows and Linux. Doing tasks that are not critical to reliability on Windows, and other tasks on Linux.

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  43. 2143

    Hahaha, this was revenge!

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  44. 2194

    Ok, I’ve failed. Failed to really read any of the comments above – however, here’s my take.
    I use Vista at my part-time place of work. I use a Mac at home. I’m a recent switcher (just over a year) prior to that I was Windows everywhere. I work for myself at home.
    I prefer Mac (I’m a web designer by the way, not really a dev).
    The reason I prefer Mac is because they are beautiful to look at (in my opinion) & that (to me) is important. No PC comes close.
    I have every tool on the Mac platform I need, a lot I use on both.
    I also prefer the OS on Mac, again from a purely aesthetic perspective, but – it seems smoother, faster, simpler & less prone to any form of crashing.
    I’m not going to pretend that the ‘cool’ factor of a Mac doesn’t come in to it for me – because it does.
    I’m a bit of a fanboy, I have an iMac, an iPhone & a MacBook.
    If I had loads of cash, I’d probably have more Apple products, but I don’t – so I haven’t.
    I build open source websites on my Mac, and predominately Microsoft based websites at work. Obviously each platform has benefits depending on which environment you work with.
    So, horses for courses really.
    I don’t foresee myself ever going back to a PC/Windows platform in my personal life.
    Snow Leopard looks like cementing that position.
    I have little faith left in Microsoft.

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  45. 2245

    The e text editor and a VAMP install have made my cheap Dell Inspiron my development machine of choice. I code on the Dell and play on my Mac. As a freelancer, the PC is a cost effective solution. I love my Macs but I also bought them before the economy tanked.

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  46. 2296

    What kind of horse shit is this? Guys, writing a “How to develop on PC” or whatnot article is fine, but why attempt to talk people out of Macs? I’ve been developing on all three for years now, and I have to say Macs are the best of all worlds.

    Please don’t promote Microsoft, they don’t need the help and the little guys are fighting an upwards battle. Sheesh.

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  47. 2347

    Well damn, are those the three things that got me into using the mac??

    Hot damn it, I’m gonna go right back now that vista can do that too..

    or maybe not

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  48. 2398

    I was once a hardcore PC user and very resistant to Macs. And then I started cheating on PC and left it for Mac. But after reading this article, I think there’s room for the both of them in my workspace.

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  49. 2449

    I use Executor instead of Launchy. Thanks

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  50. 2500

    It’s great to see a list of tools you can find on any platform, used to draw some sort of delineation between two platforms. LOL Personally, I use Mac OS X and a few “flavors” of GNU/Linux. It has been said previously that a Unix-based OS is a plus, and that is a selling point for me. It’s simply what I’m comfortable with, it is reliable, and I can make the very most of Unix-based platforms.

    It’s seems like all that tool-talk was just filler/a vehicle for the hardware argument, which today is becoming a bit faded. I will say as a Linux user that hardware support is a crucial area once you have to struggle with it to get some work done.

    And the items about tweaking Windows to have Mac-like features… in this context, isn’t that a bit like claiming ordinary milk is better than chocolate milk because you can add chocolate syrup and it’s the same thing? But Mac users are always excited to talk about Expose and Spaces, and Spotlight/Quicksilver, and the dock, yet I have used equivalents on all platforms. Granted, they are wonderfully executed on Mac OS X and they function out of the box, but they aren’t terribly unique today and I’m not too shy to run a little “sudo apt-get compiz” and so forth to accomplish the same thing.

    Anyway, it’s nice to see an attempt at striking a balance, and moving away from fanboy journalism. But… spend a bit more time sharpening the axe first. :)

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