Why Web Developers Don’t Need A Mac


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.


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:



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.


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.


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

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.)


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.

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.


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.

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.


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.



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.



  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.

  1. 1

    really ftp synchronize? svn, cvs, ….

    my mac as vim built in, the most powerful text editor ever (sure there are other cl editors too that are great) and you can’t beat it when using a graphical point and click editor. Sure windows can run it, but you can’t beat the productivity level of the command line. A unix power user will crush a windows power user any day.

  2. 302

    Darrin Searancke

    June 11, 2009 4:44 am

    298 replies confirming that people are passionate about their OS’s even if they can pretty much do the same things, with different software.

  3. 603

    I use a Dell at work running XP and I’ve begged and begged for them to let me use my Mac. Windows is just garbage compared to OS X. And this Dell laptop is junk compared to my MacBook Pro. The only good thing I can say is I’ve got a 24″ Dell monitor and run lots of open source software on this machine. I’d even settle for Linux over this steaming turd known as Windows.

  4. 904

    Darrin Searancke

    June 11, 2009 4:45 am

    oops – make that 300!

  5. 1205

    I use both platforms. They each have their strengths and weaknesses. If I can’t find an easy way to do something on one, I switch to the other. The biggest problem with the Mac is lack of support from hardware manufacturers (like Garmin, although they’re trying). The biggest problem with Windows is that there are a zillion options, and most programs are independent and don’t talk with each other… no common toolbox. For the most part though, anything can be accomplished on any platform. It boils down to personal preference. I think that people trying to convince the world that one platform is better than the other are just pi$$ing into the wind. No good can come from that.

  6. 1506

    great, now you have all the mac haters coming out. You should’ve just titled this article web development.

  7. 1807

    wow… I was actually wondering if this article was meant to be taken serious…

    notepad++ source is downloadable from the website, so it’s not rly windows only, and it’s not even that good of an editor for webdev

    I totally don’t get how WAMP is an argument, since windows is prolly the hardest OS to get an AMP stack running on

    and seriously, windows live writer? web developpers need a futile application to write plain text now?

    I’m no mac fanboy, but I certainly wouldn’t say that windows is better for webdev
    getting cvs or svn crap working properly in windows is a serious pita and that’s not even talking about command line integration

    and is it just me or did u completely overlook the 2 big downsides about macs?
    1. Cost: same hardware costs pretty much double if it’s in a apple wrapper
    2. Vendor lock-in: I don’t like the idea that the vendor of the hardware is gonna tell me what OS and applications I should use

  8. 2108

    @elbowRoom77 (post #193) couldn’t agree more. I’m both a Mac & PC user, and each of them have their own shares of pros & cons for me. I try to make them work as best as they could and have pretty much found a balance that fits me.

    What strikes me funny (or ironic?) is that this article tells us about what’s so good with Windows for web dev, yet a big chunk of it shows apps that emulate Mac features.

  9. 2409

    10 years freelance. Total time spent using a Mac: about 1 1/2 days… if you like tham and have the extra 50% to spend on one, go for it but there is clearly nothing special about them you need for web development.

  10. 2710

    I’ve been a Windows boy since 3.11, and fortunately I have had the chance to use Macs on many occasions for design/development work. Both vendors make great products.

    However, although all things Apple are simple and smooth and pretty and all, I generally believe you get more bang for the buck in the non Apple world (Microsoft/Linux/Google). Pound for pound, and Dollar for Dollar, I get a lot more out of Microsoft products, ‘cuz i’d rather do kick-ass sh@! than look pretty doing it. I consider myself cool enough not to need a gadget to define coolness for me; a gadget won’t help you score with the opposite sex or have a social life….

    No, I don’t have an IPhone (I have a Touch HD. Have you seen the screen on those things?! I watch a lot of movies on the go, + I wanted a device that would play nice with my MS Office/Exchange/SharePoint environment)

    And as far a free is concerned; Google and Linux man, Google and Linux….

    Right now on my Laptop I have Windows 7 RC1, which shares a lot in common with Snow Leopard (Windows 7 has the edge though, if you as me), and could mark the big comeback of Microsoft in the OS world. The changes are reasonably subtle but they make the whole difference; The GUI is much more intuitive, not frustrating to work with, driver/compatibility issues are very well auto-solved by the OS, it’s all nice and ooh-aah, not memory greedy and performance/stability has drastically improved. It IS the version that should have replaced XP.

    Also, by now, my Laptop is a Tomdows (not Windows) machine, configured just so, precisely to my liking. And this is the most important thing for me. Either way, time to stop rambling.

    In the words of the Road Runner, BEEP BEEP!

  11. 3011

    Most people who are arguing against Mac more than likely never spent time working on one. Having spent YEARS doing web development on a PC I know I don’t NEED a Mac. However, I don’t use my Mac because it’s trendy, I use my Mac because it works EVERY time without bugs, glitches, or me wanting to throw the machine out of the window.

    Not one crash, not one hiccup, nothing. I suggest you PC Fanboys borrow a Mac from a friend and give it a shot. Once you realize how efficient working on a Mac can make you, you’ll want to buy one immediately.

    Its worth the money, and now that the prices are coming down it’s a better buy.

  12. 3312

    When all is said and done I don’t think it should matter what platform anyone uses. I honestly don’t think a Mac is better than a PC. I think it’s all just great marketing. Sure, Mac has some nice features. Would I ever NOT have one? No, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to run to the nearest Apple Store and by the latest greatest just because the commercials make fun of PCs and their users.

    I admit: Macs look cool, have a nice OS and such. But really, I do perfectly fine thank you on my systems I use. Yes, I’ve used Macs – and sure, they’re cool and all.

    But again .. end of the day it’s personal opinion on what you enjoy using and nothing else.

  13. 3613

    The only thing Windows is missing is “Spaces”, that would be nice to have.

  14. 3914

    The thing you’re missing is that Mac’s are so much cooler than PC’s. Period.
    And that’s important because as we know web developers and graphic designers are all luvvies; they need their cool fix. God knows, I do.

  15. 4215

    If you use a pc you’re pretty much the dumbest person ever. It’s like God said, “I’m gunna make the dumbest person ever”. And then he made you.

  16. 4516

    I think this concept of Macs never crashing or freezing is kind of overblown. I’ve worked on several Macs and it happens often enough that it’s a problem. No more or less than it ever happens to me on XP or Vista.

    Mac users like to tout this, but if you take care of your PC these issues rarely occur. All I hear about is how awful Vista is, yet I can’t recall the last problem I’ve had with it since the last updates. Sure, it never should have been a mess in the place, but that’s another argument.

  17. 4817

    The first thing I install on my mac is virtual machine and Windows in it, because I have to test everything in IE. Beside that I can finish my job on mac.
    I really like my mac and leopard, but I must to admit that working in Windows was much easier for me.

  18. 5118


    You can’t do that on a Mac.

    = PC is the better choice for the person with more then 100 iq.

    oh and btw, those you think OS X looks good?
    check lassekongo83 on deviantart, just please fucking do it. NOW. And then stfu.

  19. 5419

    If you’ve done non-trivial development you’ll find things like WampServer to be a toy for doing “hello world” demos. What do you do when you need to add a PHP module? Why not just run all those tools as ‘first class citizens’ on a Unix box rather than hacks on Windows? Why celebrate ‘ftp upload’ tools when you can have things like scp and rsync?

    I use a PC for work and a Mac for everything else. Every day I have to use my PC is a day that could have been a bit better if I didn’t have to. Microsoft is the next GM.

  20. 5720

    About the breaking news :)
    I totally agree!!!

    I design and code on an iMac (latest); I use iMac at home too. And this is for years, after I have been on a PC. And believe me, it’s not about “why” and “because”. It’s the choice!
    Personally I will never return to a PC. My Macs are like “beast and beauty” at the same time. I think Mac is way too much better than a PC.

  21. 6021

    Michael Prescott

    June 11, 2009 5:29 am

    I’m a software engineer and dabble in graphic design in my free time. I have developed applications for and used Windows for more than 14 years. I’ve also used several Linux distros, intensively, for the past 6 years. I’ve always snubbed Macs because early exposure (15+ years ago) to the system, and brief 5 minute sit-down reviews of the system, left me with the impression that it was just too simple, too much hand-holding, made for people that didn’t want to use their machines to full potential.

    Anyhow, about a year ago I bought an iPod Touch and loved it. I saw a chance to take my skills to a new platform and bought a MacBook Pro to get started. I’ve used the system extensively for 4 months now and love it. Mac OSX isn’t restrictive as I’d assumed. Ever so often, I wonder how to accomplish something, but the system is so well built, so intuitive, that a resolution is only seconds away. I really spend no time thinking about platform issues anymore. With Windows, there is always something irritating me. I got so used to the irritants that I thought it was normal. Oh, I also purchased VMWare Fusion and created XP and Vista virtual machines, thinking that I’d need those. Even though it is convenient to have virtual machines for testing the applications I develop, I think most people can switch without any difficulties and no need to hold onto a copy of Windows.

  22. 6322

    I switched to a Mac about half a year ago and it looks really great on my desk. I can’t seem to be developing at the same speed as on Windows. So… when I start my Mac, I open up VirtualBox with Windows and happily code away. OSX just runs the vm ware and iTunes.

  23. 6623

    I am working since 15 years in the media. With success. I made musicvideos for famous artists, onlinecomics, webdesigns, illustrations, worked for really big companies etc. and until now I never used a Mac.
    And until now I never had an Apple product.
    There are enough No Apple Products what are good enough to use to create great artwork.

  24. 6924

    I really wish Mac users could expand their vocabulary. How many of their arguments start and/or end with ‘just’. They use the word ‘just’ like the smurfs used ‘smurf’. For them, its basically a placeholder for a logical argument.

    Instead of, I did the following task and it took ‘x’ amount of time on my Mac vs the PC ‘y’ time. You get the word ‘just’. Hmm… I am going to buy into that argument.

    Biggest thing for me is price. Mac just costs too much. Priced out last night was 50% more for roughly the same machine.

  25. 7225

    I now use an AMD based X86 running XP Pro SP2. I am also a semi-retired Mac support tech from the publishing industry. The real reason I prefer Macs is total interoperativity. You can cut/copy and paste from EVERY app and utility to EVERY other. That is just one, though a big one, of the advantages of the Macintosh for any purpose. Another is drag and drop between ALL apps and utilities to ALL apps and utilities. And of course, I can install Windows on the Mac and either boot from it or run it in parallell with OSX for testing or using apps required by clients but unavailable on the Mac. For a Pro, the best way to go is with Macintosh, and no matter how many articles are written on how to make your PC more Maclike, or how to do “just as good” as a Mac, are going to change that.

  26. 7526

    Fabian Tollenaar

    June 11, 2009 5:50 am

    I’m amazed that you need to throw in a few OS X rip-offs for Vista to make your point that windows is the better choice. Besides, every app you selected had a OS X alternative that’s better, looks nicer and is often free of charge to. But all that is a question of taste as well.

    There is though one important fact you completely forget to talk about: Windows has something unique, something that OS X just doesn’t have (or at least, not enough to worry about). They are called ‘virusses’ and they tent to destroy your system!
    And even with a good anti-virus program, windows is slow and fails a lot, compared to OS X which, at least in my experience, never fails and defenitely never displays a ‘blue screen of death’!

  27. 7827

    I was hoping to see more info regarding actual dev work. This article starts out with coding examples but quickly dissolves into another silly “mac vs pc” article listing completely inane things. Lame.

  28. 8128

    I use Mac and I love Coda. I’m very sad when I’m at home with Windows and use notepad++. So screw Windows!

  29. 8429

    This is all bullshit because if you work on the web and your operating system doesn’t have font smoothing, you aren’t ensuring the best quality product to your visitors, and you will never train your eyes to know what looks good and what doesn’t, everything will look the same.

  30. 8730

    This article needs to be re-titled “If your boss won’t let you have a Mac, or you just can’t afford one right now here’s how to make windows a cheap imitation of a Mac”. I use a Mac because I want to, not because I have to to do webdesign and development. I find I’m more productive (and yes I’ve spent plenty of time using windows). I doubt that the die hard windows user is going to want it to look like a mac anyway. Most of the apps you’ve mentioned here have an analog in Linux also. A much more interesting article would have been “You actually do web dev/design with only the cost of the hardware, or maybe even better, “You actually can do web design with online apps only”.

  31. 9031

    Great post, but I have one beef: RocketDock blows. I prefer ObjectDock, as it is functionally and visually more appealing.

  32. 9332

    Brendon Kozlowski

    June 11, 2009 5:59 am

    I have to be honest… I’m a proponent of using a Windows machine, and I do also understand the flip-side of the coin. However, this article’s points are preposterous. I’m sure it was aimed to simply get people thinking, but the points made for software were probably some of the worst I have seen. Everything mentioned already either comes with a Mac, or there are well-known free counterparts. Your best option would have been mentioning something like SQLyog and the power it has from the community version, where comparable Mac products (CocoaSQL) simply do not offer the same feature sets.

    I can’t even bring myself to read the comments. I actually hope the overwhelmingly are negative, because otherwise the positive viewpoints would most likely be Windows fans that really don’t know much about a Mac product at all. As for my Mac Mini, I want to throw it out the window on a daily basis…but I still understand its strengths to a Windows’ machine.

  33. 9633

    These “development” articles have nothing to do with development. It’s pretty awesome articles to drive traffic though!

  34. 9934

    Real developers use linux.

  35. 10235

    After years of battling with constant pesky maintenance tasks, machine downtime and consequent frustration, my church started swapping out all of their PCs for Macs (12 down, only 2 to go!)

    Here’s a “just” phrase for you jspin77: The Macs just work.

  36. 10536

    This was the dumbest article I’ve reader read.

    All this article talked about was a few pieces of software as to why not to use a mac. It mentioned nothing about why a PC is actually more useful, especially from a usability standpoint.

    Usability is by far the MOST important difference between MACs and PCs, and this article didn’t even touch the topic. (fail?)

    It listed off a few PC programs that are beneficial, and a few system hog “addons”.

    Now, keep in mind, Macs have all of these things, and better at that. So explain to me now why developers don’t need a mac? I use a PC and a mac everyday. I own my own companies and my mac is 1,000,000 times better for multi-tasking, designing, developing. However, this is based on my personal reference, but when I use a PC I feel like I go back to the stone age compared to using my mac. Why drive a beater when you can drive a BMW?

    If you’ve never used a mac and a pc, you should never comment on this article. I develop in several languages, and the only benefit a PC has is if you develop in Microsoft languages.

    Who is the amateur editor that approved this article to be on Smashing Magazine?

  37. 10837

    Brad Montgomery

    June 11, 2009 6:03 am

    I’m a Web Developer. I could do my job on any platform, but in order of preference, it’s OS X, Linux, then Windows. I want to use the classic Unix tools. Vim is my editor of choice, so if I’m on windows I’m probably going to have cygwin. Having said that…. i just like the feel of the tools on the Mac. I enjoy working with them… I don’t enjoy working on Windows. Ultimately, it’s just a personal preference, so to each their own.

  38. 11138

    I use PCs for my day job and I use Macs for my private business.
    The only thing that I probably say that I live about Microsoft is SharePoint and Visual Studio. The number of security holes and patches that I have to keep Windows afloat is literally driving IT personnels like me insane. The registry is I guess Windows worst pitfall. My company’s been thru all sorts of PC hardware (Dell, HP, Compaq) but Windows magnificently crashes on all hardware mentioned above. Talk about crash and burn. OS X is rock solid, I use VM ware and Parallels to virtualize Win2K Server and CentOS and I’ve seen them crash. Just goes to show how stable and efficient OS X when it comes to hardware and memory management.
    As a designer/developer I want to make sure that my canvas is rock solid when creative juices are like raging rivers. I found this stability in Mac OS X. Maybe Windows 7 might change my mind, maybe not.

  39. 11439

    You can run Windows in a VM on a Mac, but you can’t run OS X in a VM on a PC. If you want to test your site on every platform you have to use a Mac.

  40. 11740

    Christopher Bishop

    June 11, 2009 6:06 am

    If those are the reasons to use a PC over a Mac, I will stick with my Mac. Truly, the only reason I use a PC for web development is bloody IE. If it wasn’t for that, I would be using my Mac for it all. Heck, I wouldn’t even have a PC.

    To counter this article, for text editors, Macs have lots of text editors that have more features than those listed (both free and paid). You can install MAMP (server) on a mac, and have it work perfectly. For the clipboard manager, there is a widget like that for the Mac. For the Windows Live Writer… Seriously? A developer would already have much better tools for updating their blog… say a CMS. That tool is for people who don’t know anything about dev. For the best things on a Mac…. That dock is buggy at best. More hardware types? Yeah, well considering 90% is cheap junk, I’ll take my Mac hardware that won’t break in 3 years.

    Really the only thing PC’s have is Internet Explorer and ASP.Net (which can’t even install on a linux server so why bother) and SilverLight (again can’t install on Linux servers). If it wasnt for IE, I wouldn’t even develop on a PC. I would much rather use my Mac.

  41. 12041

    It’s all just a matter of preference, really. You can do web development anywhere.

    Personally, I prefer Mac (though I’m not a zealot about it), so I have a Mac with Zend Studio (which is cross-platform), MAMP (on Windows there is WAMP), FireFox and Safari (both cross-platform).

    For IE testing I run Windows inside a virtual machine (Parallels).

    Anything else (dock, stacks, quicklaunchers, etc.) shouldn’t really matter with web development – for the most part I just switch between an editor and a browser, which is fast on either platform with Command-Tab on Mac or Alt-Tab on Windows.

    Just use the OS you like! The same as the choice of what car you drive, they may have differences, but they should all get you to your destination and back. No point in feuding about it.

  42. 12342

    Prior to the Intel switch, I think your case stands up decently well. But if you’re serious about cross platform testing (which as a web developer you should be) a mac is the way to go. A few years ago it was necessary to have both a mac and pc on hand, to check your work. That of course meant 2 of everything (boxes, peripherals, etc.) unless your where lucky enough to have a kvm switch. Bleh.

    Having a mac with Parallels, I can do everything from one machine. Somehow I think that works out to be cheaper in the long run. :)

    Nice post though – NotePad ++ is still my favorite editor of all time.

  43. 12643

    Here we go again with the PC-MAC discussion, I didn’t read the complete post, it’s a waste of time!!!

  44. 12944

    dendy b sulistyo

    June 11, 2009 6:13 am

    your articles always give me “too much information”… but this one is not important i guess.. both pc and mac have their fans.. i like balance. so my office use both..

    anyway.. i love smashing magazine :)

  45. 13245

    PLEASE! This is the first bad article I’ve seen published on Smashing. Not one of your reason to use a PC matter. 1/2 of them are about trying to make your PC into a Mac. WAMP? Again, PLEASE! Mac are UNIX boxes, there’s also MAMP to run localhost web server. Text editors are text editors, BBEDIT rocks though. Hardware… if you can get it to work on a PC might be the only advantage.

    I’ve been using a Mac for development for 15 years. I pull my hair out every time I have to use a PC. I never have to fight my Mac to get a task done.

  46. 13546

    There isn’t a single reason in the above article that would lure me to a PC for web development. Many are just eye candy or things to make the PC more mac like.

    We are talking web development. There are only two reasons where a PC rules in that area:

    1. Testing your stuff in IE
    2. If your a .NET or ASP / Microsoft Shop.

    Beyond that Linux or Mac’s are better tools. Why? Mac’s come installed with Python and Ruby oh and Perl. Since its running Unix under the hood, adding apache, mysql, php, CPAN and PEAR are easy as pie. You can run an entire development platform thats similar to your hosting platform with little difficulty.

  47. 13847

    I use Windows as my PC at work, and a Linux Ubuntu PC at home for work. Granted that have a virtual machine with windows to run my Adobe programs, I find Linux more stable and reliable than Windows.

    I find that Windows is far too insecure, and if there is ONE thing that Microsoft could do, its to beef up the security a bit. Viruses, and Malware are far too popular with windows in comparison to Linux or Mac.

    I would def. consider using a Mac if I had the ridiculous amount of money to throw away, but until Mac gets a little more affordable, Im sticking with PC, Linux or not.

  48. 14148

    Well this is discussion that will go on for ever. So many people that are Mac people started off on a PC then moved to a Mac and never looked back. There are advantages to both a PC and a Mac. I understand the price and all the people out there that want to fight for what they have.

  49. 14449

    I dont like working environments that force me to use them THEIR way, not the other way round.

    Thus, Mac was never MY prefered kind of working environment – even Windows is quite customizable, if you know where to look (although I dont like it that much). Last sentence in brackets tells it all: In Spring 2005 I’ve switched to Linux completely.

    My current productive system is powered by Ubuntu 8.04.2 LTS, using XFCE as prefered window manager, and some parts and bits out of Gnome and KDE for spicing it up. I prefer to set the hotkeys of my system the way I WANT IT TO, not the either way round ;)
    … works like a charm …

    cu, w0lf.

  50. 14750

    One problem though is workflow… try telling all the designers in the office to switch to a PC. Its just easier handling files in the same format and sending them back and forth when you are synced with their OS. In my case, thats MAC. I’m all for PC’s though, however if I have to look at one more of my sites in IE6 I will puke


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