May 28, 2005 at 12:53 PM
There seems to be a lot of talk about switching lately; someone switching to a Mac, someone switching to Linux and even a whole company switching platforms. For those who have been paying attention to my Flickr photostream, you will know that I have made a switch as well. Having my start in a world of Amigas, Linux and the Apple IIe I can say we have come along ways to being platform agnostic. For me this is one small step in that direction. Don't misunderstand me, this isn't a platform holy war, this is about making sites and rich internet applications (RIAs) that allow information to be accessible to all. Are you developing and designing for all platforms? If not, why not?
Yes, I am debating whether to switch to a Mac, too. I must say, it's very tempting.
I have just switch to Mac from WinXPpro. I recently purchased a PowerBook 17" and love it. I am a web developer/project manager and find that so far the Mac OS provides plenty of resources to allow me to get the job done. About the only thing that is preventing me from turning off my WinXP system completely is Quicken - I bought Quicken for Mac but unfortunately it is no match for Quicken for Windows. That, and I will test a web page layout in IE using the old system, as the need arises.
Since I build web sites for use by the general public, I develop for multiple platforms. I build everything on Mac OS X, and have four installations of Windows (two of 95, 2000, and XP) on Virtual PC for testing different versions of IE and Mozilla. I run the default installation of Apache on the same system using a different virtual host for each client. I am now learning about databses, and have installed mySQL on the same machine. It is possibe to do most of this on Windows, but not with the same elegance. As long as you don't have to deal with proprietary Microsoft technologies, developing on OS X is ideal.
I am a Web Developer/Wannabe-Designer and I develop all my sites for Mac OS X, and if it happens to work on ie/win, great, if it doesn't I act like microsoft when it comes to fixing problems with it's mac software, in other words I don't care. My clients know that and they are fine with it because most of my work is perfectly compatible with ie/win, although there have been a few issues in the past, they have been indirectly fixed through updates in design and content. In fact on my site that I'm developing right now I am going to purposly add-in some code and stuff that will purposly screw-up the page in ie/win and then I'll provide links to other standards compliant browsers and, of course, where they can read into Mac OS X.
I look around and want to switch to Mac. Hope I find tips and a good timing for the step.
@Ryan: Arrogance does not get you anywhere.
I use Linux when I can, but I often can't. I need Word. Before you start ranting about OpenOffice, I DO need Word because of some of the editing features (track changes, etc.) due to my occasional jobs as a writer. A lot of editors use Word.
to Ryan: I hope for your wallet's sake it's not a commercial site.
Is it because we're all computer geeks that we have to think in binaries? there is no one or the other in this world. the "switch" paradigm is a (necessary?) evil propogated by Apple's marketing department. These things are just tools people. Use the best tool for the job. Anyway the question is about RIA's, not your chosen platform.... When making websites or CD ROMS or anything that's going to run in the user's environment and under their supervision, a lot of things will get in the way beyond platform/browser choice. Preferences, 3rd party installations, environment, firewalls etc etc. will all have an affect on the end user experience. You should get to know your users, stakeholders - and design for them. If you can't get to know your users, design for all. Put that ego aside, and go for the less flashy option that you know will work and not cause user frustration. As for the authoring platform part of this thread, when creating the products, there are better and worse tools - but you should use what makes you work more effectively (it's a personaly thing). I love my iBook for client presentations becuase it will run the Apache/PHP and the CMS tools I have made pretty much like my (Fedora) dev server in a disconnected boardroom (plus the clients seem to like the Apple because it looks better and gives them some sort of reassurance). But find me a decent text editor for PHP and ActionScript on the Mac and then show me an installation of Flash on a Mac that displays stable window behaviour and doesn't grind to a halt, and I may trade in my Windows XP desktop. Meanwhile I test on everything. So I guess I'm vehemently agnostic too.
Know what's crazy? Buying an iBook made me switch to Linux. Not what Steve had in mind. Don't get me wrong, I'm keeping the iBook -- it's everything I want in a laptop, especially with Office X, VirtualPC and all the usual apps. But there's something about the iBook and OS X that are a little too *precious* to make a good desktop replacement, for me at least. Linux put new life in my aging Athlon desktop and, while the iBook is right next to me (with a nice external keyboard and the works), the Linux box is what I'm drawn to and naturally use. I VNC into the iBook if I need it. LQ
I do everything on a PC, Windows 2003 to be specific. Adobe and Macromedia products play well alongside my Microsoft development tools. I run Firefox in addition to IE - Firefox does help me catch many of the formatting issues not visible in IE. Conclusion? Use what works for you. In my case, the flexibility and savings with a home built PC made more sense than a Mac.