Mac vs Windows for Programming

Throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s Bill Gates and Steve Jobs openly criticized each other and the respective operating systems they developed to aid the rapidly growing computing world. Despite the Apple’s commander unfortunate demise to cancer a few years ago his faithful followers continue to fly their Mac OS banner higher than ever. In fact they have been winning the war for a couple years now as Microsoft struggled to transition from Windows 7 to an operating system worth our time and money. The recent release of windows 10 has however forced the programming community to reconsider the age old question of which is the better environment for their development needs. This is a comprehensive and unbiased breakdown of the pros and cons of running each OS and ultimately picking a winner.

The Hardware

Mac has had the superior hardware for a while now with its Cupertino premium material, retina displays, solid state drives and impressive track-pads that the rest of the industry simply can’t match. However entrants such as the Lenovo Yoga series, Microsoft Surface series and HP x360 series have given windows a fighting chance when it comes to having well designed machines with a powerful engine to match. Is there a true winner here? Not really because programmers and developers are bound to upgrade either system with more RAM, storage and get a larger monitor.

The Operating System

The Mac OS X Yosemite and windows 10 are the main contenders here. The Mac OS has Bootstrap in built which enables developers to switch between OS X Yosemite and windows 10 quite easily and legally. Windows 10 doesn’t any feature that can allow such flexibility but one can build a hackintosh which isn’t as easy as it sounds. The stability of both systems is guaranteed and support is the best it has ever been. The user interfaces and variety of available software is the only point of debate. Windows 10 gives programmers a larger variety of software to chose from for their development needs in comparison needs but the Mac OS is still simply and more pleasant to use. Macs are still less prone to malware than windows running machines and this is a huge factor if security is a priority to your work.

The Development Environment

Macs have always had the upper hand due to their Unix shell which has numerous useful in built features such as cURL,SSH,file operations and the fact that most web server run on Linux and Apache. On the other hand windows has many third party extensions that will create a remote a server for development and testing. Unfortunately adding these extensions is both frustrating for novices who are new to programming. The best approach to take for any programmer is to pick the OS which suits your development needs. If you’re developing using C++, Java, PHP, HTML or CSS you’ll be comfortable with either OS. If you’re developing content for ipads, iphones ad iMacs then you already know what system supports Objective C and Swish. If you’re developing content for android, windows phone or C#/ASP.NET the windows will accommodate you better than any other environment.

laptop for programmers

Development Tools

Some developers prefer IDE’s and other would rather use a text editor. Either way most of these tools are compatible on both platforms. From Sublime text editor to Adobe’s master suite collection there is a version for your respective operating system. The emergence of cloud computing has however made this argument redundant as many developer are now preferring to develop online using browser. Try Git and you’ll realize that the operating system doesn’t matter anymore.

The Price

Last but not least comes the only factor we can’t change if wanted to, Macs are rather expensive. A proper Mac setup will require at least £700 for decent hardware while windows can offer the same or better specs at half the price.

I wonder why I even wrote all this. I should have just made a paragraph about cloud computing and using your browser as your development environment. The Mac vs. Windows debate for programmers is over. Let’s all move on and embrace the cloud.

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