Mac vs. PC for Web Development

July 1, 2018

In this article we will outline the main points of contention for Web Development between the Mac and Windows operating system and debate which device does it better!

Command Line

The Unix command line is widely considered by many to be the superior command line over Windows alternatives.

"There is nothing you can't do through the Unix command line! Learn it well, and you will wield some serious power. Watch a skilled senior dev navigate their terminal - it can be a mind boggling experience that will consist of lots of 'You can do that?!'" - Source

Software Reliability

Mac has a finite number of hardware/software configurations for software developers to account for, which means that software developers are able to more consistently create applications that work in the Mac environment with less bugs/glitches.

Whereas the Windows operating system can run on tons of machines with different hardware/software configurations, therefore Windows applications can never be 100% compatible with every hardware/software combination out there as this would simply take software developers to much time to test and debug their applications on every configuration.

Operating System Popularity

The Windows operating system is four times more popular than the Mac operating system.

Software developers obviously want to cater to the largest market in order to sell the most amount of software copies possible. It is because of this very reason that Windows, has much more applications available to it than the Mac operating system. This gives users on Windows more tools to work with and choose from when developing websites.

However, there is also a downside of Windows being the more popular operating system. This is that there are also more viruses and other malicious software that Windows devices have to avoid. This is because, malicious software developers make malicious software for Windows in mind for the same reason that software developers create more applications for Windows, because they can target largest market of users. Therefore you could say that for this reason, Windows is less secure than Mac.

Support

"Drivers... what drivers? Everything has a magical way of just working out of the box on a Mac." - Source

Mac has no need to find drivers because the software is built to work with the hardware. Whereas often Windows machines need to find their own drivers and if the drivers are no longer supported for certain pieces of hardware in the Windows machine then compatibility issues can arise.

Macs also have long-term support which means that free updates to the next generation of operating system is common. But for Windows machines you will often have to pay for the update, for example updating from Windows XP to Windows 7. Not to mention that all Macs also come with one year free 24/7 technical support! And 3 years if you purchase the AppleCare Protection Plan.

Virtual Machines

The Mac operating system can run a Windows virtual machine, however a Windows machines cannot legally run a Mac virtual machine.

This is something to take into consideration whether you plan on doing a lot of VM work or not.

Cost

Macs are generally more expensive than Windows machines, unless you custom build your Windows machine and kit it out with the latest top of the range hardware. Don't believe me? Just take a look at the cheapest MacBook Pro, costing around £1,250!

Having said that, Macs often lose their value over time slower than most Windows machines, so despite the initial cost of a Mac being relativity expensive, if you decide to sell your Mac 2 or 3 years down the line for a newer model, you will not lose as much money as if you were to sell your Windows Machine 2 or 3 years old.

Build Quality

Because of the fact that Mac has a finite number of hardware/software configurations, Apple has perfected this line of products over the years and therefore when you purchase a Mac from Apple, the build quality of the device is often high.

Macs often come equipped with great track-pads such as the Magic Trackpad 2. High quality aluminium chassis which provide heat efficiency, keeping your machine cooler. And anti-glare, touch-enabled screens which is perfect for working outdoors.

However, when you purchase a Windows machine, the story is somewhat different. That's not to say that all Windows machines are of inferior build quality, it is that you are not always guaranteed the same consistent level of quality between Windows products. This is due to the how many Windows products there are available compared to Mac. And the fact that Windows machines can be created and sold by other companies/individuals other than just Microsoft.

Summary

When it comes to making the choice between Mac vs. PC for Web Development, it is at the end of the day a personal preference.

However, having said that, there are multiple factors to take into consideration (as discussed in this article) when deciding what device to purchase, as after all you will be stuck with your choice for a good 2-3 years, unless you are made of money of course.

Have we helped you decide which device to purchase? Let us know on Twitter!

References:

https://hackernoon.com/why-do-developers-run-macs-9ad81d58d177

https://www.quora.com/What-is-better-for-web-design-and-web-developer-pc-or-mac-and-why

https://www.theverge.com/2017/4/4/15176766/apple-microsoft-windows-10-vs-mac-users-figures-stats

https://www.apple.com/uk/support/products/mac.html

https://www.apple.com/uk/shop/buy-mac/macbook-pro

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