Monday, April 29, 2013

Best computer for cross-platform development

Today The Telegraph has a post about a study showing the MacBook Pro is the best computer for running Windows. I've heard this before and don't doubt it for a moment. Apple makes the best computers in terms of quality. They are certainly not the cheapest, but they are the best.

They are also the best for cross-platform development with Real Studio. Because you can run OS X, Windows and Linux all on one computer, what more could you ask for when it comes to convenience? At Real Software, most of us used to have at least two computers: one running OS X and the other running Windows and Linux. When Apple made the jump from PowerPC to x86, we got rid of half of our computers!

If you're developing a cross-platform solution with Real Studio that is going to include an OS X version, you'll need a Mac anyway, so why not just make it your primary computer even if your primary OS is Windows or Linux?

Here are two options for running Windows and Linux (and OS X) from a Mac:

1) Apple's Bootcamp: It's free and you can boot into Windows so you're getting the full power of the Mac running Windows, rather than sharing the processor with OS X. The downside is that you can't run both at the same time and setting it up to run Linux could prove challenging.

2) VM Ware/Parallels: Both of these software applications will allow you to run multiple OSs while running OS X. I use VM Ware and have Windows XP, Windows 7 and Ubuntu Linux available to me in addition to OS X. The downside is that when you are running one of these, you are also running OS X, so Windows or Linux can't use the full power of the computer. However, I have found that not to be much of an issue with newer Macs, as they have plenty of power. Just make sure your Mac has lots of RAM, as that's often the difference between the performance being great versus not so good.

Update: Microsoft provides most versions of Windows for testing for free download. They available in Parallels, VMWare, and VirtualBox formats.

Macs are more expensive than the average Windows PC. There's no doubt about that. But if you need a Mac, it might cost less to buy a nice one and use it as your only computer with the convenience of running OS X, Windows and Linux all from one machine.

4 comments:

Phil Lynnot said...

As long as Apple prevent the world to run their OS virtually Apple will be the best platform for cross-plattform developing.

If Windows or Linux would have the same approach then we would be sitting with a couple of computers.

Thanks to Microsoft for allowing us to run their OS virtually!

Kind regards,
Dennis

Geoff Perlman said...

Dennis - While I can understand the desire for that, it will never happen and believe me that in the long run, you don't want it to happen. Apple is really a hardware company, not a software company. They use great software as a carrot to buy the hardware. And by controlling both sides, they can create the best experience. So there's no incentive for them to ever sell the OS independently of the hardware.

Phil Lynnot said...

Geoff, that's indeed true and that's why their hardware are defined as black boxes.

My point is that Apple will always be the best option for cross-platform developing. That's a fact and it does not require any research to come to that conclusion.

I salute Apple for their success and their excellent end users hardware.

But their paranoia control and approach is quite scary.

But in the end it will come back and bite Apple. It will be interesting to see what next after the Job's era.

Kind regards,
Dennis

JeremK said...

Thanks Geoff for this post and for the VM download links. I never knew it was so easy to get a Windows VM!