The Spin Cycle

Development Move from XP to Leopard

Information Technology | June 29, 2009

With the upgrade path to Vista avoided and the prospect of Win7 on the horizon, as a software developer you have to be careful to choose the right technology at the right time. With a broken laptop running XP, which I've talked about before, my hands were tied in making a new purchase. With the new purchase came a number of things to consider, the most major being; what should my primary OS be?

XP wasn't the perfect development OS for me. The majority of the code I write is in PHP running on a Linux server. Although often painful to install, WAMP (WIndows, Apache, MySQL and PHP) served me pretty well over the years as a development platform but it was far from perfect. Under Windows you can't install the GD library for PHP which I tended to just work around.

With most of my work being designed for Linux I would have loved to have gone the whole hog and used Linux as my main OS for development as Ubuntu is an amazing OS. Unfortunately, due to my ColdFusion days I became addicted to Allaire ColdFusion Studio which is now Abobe Dreamweaver and it's an addiction I can't break because my coding efficiency decreases massively when not using it and Dreamweaver can't run on Linux - even through WINE.

So one crutial application forced me to rule out an entire OS. The only two real choice remaining were to keep on the Windows path or give OS X a spin.

Now if you've been into an Apple store in the past couple of years you may have noticed something. There tends to be an army of employees there to for technical assistance as well as sell Apple warez but there tends to be an even bigger army of customers wizzing in and back out of the doors with all sorts of purchases. With the hussle and bustle in the store it feels like frenzy. Apple really have the most sort after electronics in the Western world.

I'm not sure if any readers have been past a Sony Style store lately but everyone I've seen (and I've seen about 5 in the past 6 months) has been deserted. This is not really surprising but it's amazing to see the contrast to an average Apple store. I did hear some stats semi-recently that the OS X market share (as seen on the net) had hit around 10% and had actually come back slightly on the last survey. From what I've seen there feel like there is massive shift even if the stats don't support it. From a developer stand point it's an interesting change and one worth noting.

So, of course, I bit the bullet and picked up a Mac. Getting the development process streamlined again has been pretty slow and frought with complications I was really surprised to see and I'm still not there yet. Information on forums has been a little weak but there has been enough to get by.

There were a couple of apps that almost had me tied to Windows before I cracked but with Dreamweaver and the whole Adobe suite available on OS X, I can make do for now with the other apps and I'm sure new apps will be developed to fill the gaps as more people jump away from Windows and the OS X application market grows. That being said, there feels like there are already a host of new applications to explore which should hopefully make the jump seem well worth it in the end.


1. Andrea on June 30, 2009


Welcome to the dark side where the pretty laptop is the better laptop :-)

2. Chris Reid on July 7, 2009


But Dreamweaver is like soooo 20th century, man.

One of our new devs at work uses Coda

Looks interesting- you might want to try it out.

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