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Mr. RPG
May 14, 2013, 01:31 PM
I've been wanting a MacBook for a very, very, very long time. I plan on getting one after the new 2013 model is released. Bear in mind, I've never had a Mac before or even a labtop for that matter. The only two Apple products I have is a very old iPod touch 4 and my iPhone 5. However, I love the Apple ecosystem. I've predominantly been a Windows user and still prefer it for gaming and pretty much everything else. However, I love the premium build of Apple products and their interfaces.

Anyway, I'm going to college as a freshman this fall (Computer Science major) and therefore I need a labtop so I want the MacBook Air since it is cheaper than the MacBook Pro and lighter.

Is the 11" good enough for programming? I do want the 13", if not mostly for the SD card slot.. as that would solve almost all of my storage issues. My only gripes with the MacBooks (other than the cost) are storage issues. SSDs are great (have one on my PC running Windows 8 on it), but you can only fit so much in them..

Edit: I plan on programming for iPhone / iPad and perhaps some Mac games. Considering that, I do want the MacBook Air to handle everything I throw at it.



jdechko
May 14, 2013, 01:37 PM
With an external screen, I think you'd be fine. It might get very cramped if you had to do all of your programming on that screen.

Processing power, storage, graphics & RAM can all be configured the same on both 11 & 13 inch models. Any computer is more than capable of the tasks you've outlined.

Mr. RPG
May 14, 2013, 01:39 PM
With an external screen, I think you'd be fine. It might get very cramped if you had to do all of your programming on that screen.

Processing power, storage, graphics & RAM can all be configured the same on both 11 & 13 inch models.

I don't have another display (except a 23/24" monitor that my PC is on)

I don't have the money and time to save up to get more RAM and stuff.. I don't think RAM will be an issue.

Mrbobb
May 14, 2013, 02:02 PM
Programming is like doing spreadsheet, I want the biggest screen I can get away with while retaining portability. 11" is a bit crammed.

Now, freshman year, yer not doing anything heavy duty yet, the classes are for theories of programming, you not going to build a Facebook II until junior year, so u may get away with a 11" that is NOT optimized for heavy programming work.

Remember, the classes will most likely, in fact am 98% sure, want you to run Windows-based compilers so you should plan to run Windows on that Mac. Hope u got another Windows license, and 128GB+ to be comfortable.

udflyer
May 14, 2013, 02:05 PM
No problem at all/ I use the 13" MB Air with 4 GB memory & 128 GNB SSD for iOS Development.

The only potential is screen size. Can you handle developing on a 11" 1366 x 768 screen resolution. Only you can answer that.

The 13" has 1440x900 which is much better IMO.




I've been wanting a MacBook for a very, very, very long time. I plan on getting one after the new 2013 model is released. Bear in mind, I've never had a Mac before or even a labtop for that matter. The only two Apple products I have is a very old iPod touch 4 and my iPhone 5. However, I love the Apple ecosystem. I've predominantly been a Windows user and still prefer it for gaming and pretty much everything else. However, I love the premium build of Apple products and their interfaces.

Anyway, I'm going to college as a freshman this fall (Computer Science major) and therefore I need a labtop so I want the MacBook Air since it is cheaper than the MacBook Pro and lighter.

Is the 11" good enough for programming? I do want the 13", if not mostly for the SD card slot.. as that would solve almost all of my storage issues. My only gripes with the MacBooks (other than the cost) are storage issues. SSDs are great (have one on my PC running Windows 8 on it), but you can only fit so much in them..

Edit: I plan on programming for iPhone / iPad and perhaps some Mac games. Considering that, I do want the MacBook Air to handle everything I throw at it.

Mr. RPG
May 14, 2013, 02:38 PM
Programming is like doing spreadsheet, I want the biggest screen I can get away with while retaining portability. 11" is a bit crammed.

Now, freshman year, yer not doing anything heavy duty yet, the classes are for theories of programming, you not going to build a Facebook II until junior year, so u may get away with a 11" that is NOT optimized for heavy programming work.

Remember, the classes will most likely, in fact am 98% sure, want you to run Windows-based compilers so you should plan to run Windows on that Mac. Hope u got another Windows license, and 128GB+ to be comfortable.

11" is fine to me, but that SD card solves my storage problems.

That last part kinda worries me. I don't really have a spare Windows license, so I will have to shell out $150-$200 for a new one..?

Isn't JDK and an alternative to C on Mac?

----------

No problem at all/ I use the 13" MB Air with 4 GB memory & 128 GNB SSD for iOS Development.

The only potential is screen size. Can you handle developing on a 11" 1366 x 768 screen resolution. Only you can answer that.

The 13" has 1440x900 which is much better IMO.

I guess really only seeing it in real life would solve that maybe..? Dx

siurpeeman
May 14, 2013, 02:40 PM
That last part kinda worries me. I don't really have a spare Windows license, so I will have to shell out $150-$200 for a new one..?


if you're a student, your school might have some really nice pricing for windows licenses.

Mr. RPG
May 14, 2013, 02:48 PM
if you're a student, your school might have some really nice pricing for windows licenses.

I'm going to a community college for my first 2 years.

By the way, am I eligible for discount pricing on MacBook Air?

Mrbobb
May 14, 2013, 02:48 PM
so I will have to shell out $150-$200 for a new one..?

Yes but as slurpeeman says, a student license, probly $80 bux.

Isn't JDK and an alternative to C on Mac?

The sure way to find out is, go in to the program's department and ask exactly what they require you to use.

DisplacedMic
May 14, 2013, 04:03 PM
I've been wanting a MacBook for a very, very, very long time. I plan on getting one after the new 2013 model is released. Bear in mind, I've never had a Mac before or even a labtop for that matter. The only two Apple products I have is a very old iPod touch 4 and my iPhone 5. However, I love the Apple ecosystem. I've predominantly been a Windows user and still prefer it for gaming and pretty much everything else. However, I love the premium build of Apple products and their interfaces.

Anyway, I'm going to college as a freshman this fall (Computer Science major) and therefore I need a labtop so I want the MacBook Air since it is cheaper than the MacBook Pro and lighter.

Is the 11" good enough for programming? I do want the 13", if not mostly for the SD card slot.. as that would solve almost all of my storage issues. My only gripes with the MacBooks (other than the cost) are storage issues. SSDs are great (have one on my PC running Windows 8 on it), but you can only fit so much in them..

Edit: I plan on programming for iPhone / iPad and perhaps some Mac games. Considering that, I do want the MacBook Air to handle everything I throw at it.

well, what's your priority? if it's portability then i would save up a few bucks more and get myself a nice external monitor.
your school might have apple displays or any number of other displays available in the labs.... most modern classrooms these days have plugs available but do be aware that the battery life on an 11 won't get you through a full day so you'll need to bring your power supply along and have somewhere to use it.

Mr. RPG
May 14, 2013, 05:58 PM
Yes but as slurpeeman says, a student license, probly $80 bux.



The sure way to find out is, go in to the program's department and ask exactly what they require you to use.

is that for a NEW license?

&& Alright, I'll do that.

----------

well, what's your priority? if it's portability then i would save up a few bucks more and get myself a nice external monitor.
your school might have apple displays or any number of other displays available in the labs.... most modern classrooms these days have plugs available but do be aware that the battery life on an 11 won't get you through a full day so you'll need to bring your power supply along and have somewhere to use it.

It's definitely portability..

but I don't even want an external monitor..? I seriously could care less. The whole point of a labtop is for the portability... The screens on the MacBooks aren't that bad are they? o.O I don't think so...

I doubt the battery will last me something like 3 hours.. As long as it lasts as much as my iPhone does, then I'll be fine.

B...
May 14, 2013, 06:06 PM
is that for a NEW license?

&& Alright, I'll do that.

----------



It's definitely portability..

but I don't even want an external monitor..? I seriously could care less. The whole point of a labtop is for the portability... The screens on the MacBooks aren't that bad are they? o.O I don't think so...

I doubt the battery will last me something like 3 hours.. As long as it lasts as much as my iPhone does, then I'll be fine.

Since the 11" Air lasts 5 hours max, don't expect much more than 3 with heavy usage.

Mr. RPG
May 14, 2013, 06:55 PM
Since the 11" Air lasts 5 hours max, don't expect much more than 3 with heavy usage.

Ouch, the battery wasn't as good as I thought it would be. Bear in mind again.. that I have never had a lab top.

Is this comparable with other lab top's batteries?

B...
May 14, 2013, 07:11 PM
Ouch, the battery wasn't as good as I thought it would be. Bear in mind again.. that I have never had a lab top.

Is this comparable with other lab top's batteries?

laptop? The 13" MBA has a 7 hour battery. Most Windows computers have around 4-5 hours, and some ultrabooks offer 7+. But 5 is sub-par, and one of the reasons why I would currently never get a 11" MBA.

Mr. RPG
May 14, 2013, 07:21 PM
laptop? The 13" MBA has a 7 hour battery. Most Windows computers have around 4-5 hours, and some ultrabooks offer 7+. But 5 is sub-par, and one of the reasons why I would currently never get a 11" MBA.

Oh, yes, laptop. Sorry.

The 13" must be that gooooood. However, for $300 more I can get a rMBP :s

Mrbobb
May 14, 2013, 07:53 PM
One more thing.

Schools tend to have those narrow seats, a 13" maybe a bit clumsy if u intent to use yours during lectures.

BUT weight it along your other requirement.

Mr. RPG
May 14, 2013, 08:02 PM
One more thing.

Schools tend to have those narrow seats, a 13" maybe a bit clumsy if u intent to use yours during lectures.

BUT weight it along your other requirement.

Haha, I think you're getting a little ridiculous now. Soon I might have to consider if my teacher will allow a Mac or a PC only in their class lol

DisplacedMic
May 14, 2013, 09:41 PM
[/COLOR]

It's definitely portability..

but I don't even want an external monitor..? I seriously could care less. The whole point of a labtop is for the portability... The screens on the MacBooks aren't that bad are they? o.O I don't think so...

I doubt the battery will last me something like 3 hours.. As long as it lasts as much as my iPhone does, then I'll be fine.

it's nothing to do with good or bad, it's to do with the fact that it's 11"
i don't care if it's a high res window into Heaven, 11" is going to be too small for some people...hence the desire for an external or even a larger laptop.

For a student i think the 11" is a great choice, for programming i think maybe that's a good argument for a bit more real estate but ultimately a personal choice... i'm a scientist - i do lots of spreadsheet stuff, perfectly happy with a 13" MBP but I am still electing for a smaller MBA because the portability is more important. whatever you do, go to the Apple store and play with both.

regarding your phone, it's definitely not going to last as long as your iphone - no laptop will. unless you're saying you have a sub 3 hour battery life on your phone. if so then you need to fix that stat.

----------

Haha, I think you're getting a little ridiculous now. Soon I might have to consider if my teacher will allow a Mac or a PC only in their class lol

there's nothing ridiculous about what he's saying at all. he's talking about those lecture hall seats that have the tiny fold up desk that only covers about 1 knee.

for those situations you are going to want something small and something that doesn't get too hot.

i went to a 200+ year old school...some of those lecture halls weren't exactly designed to be laptop friendly.

Verix
May 15, 2013, 01:34 AM
If you are a big man, might want to get the 13'' to type on all days. I gather the 11'' feels cramped over time.

Mrbobb
May 15, 2013, 02:23 AM
Haha, I think you're getting a little ridiculous now. Soon I might have to consider if my teacher will allow a Mac or a PC only in their class lol

This has nothing to do with the teacher, I said the seats are small, like airline's seats, can't put a large laptop in there, BUT you got enough info going forward.

phil1984
May 15, 2013, 03:05 AM
The macbook air 11 inch is perfectly adequate for your needs. Buy it and you won't regret it.

I wouldn't rule out buying an external display though. The extra real-estate you gain can be really useful when you are programming. Keep the external display at home or in your dorm or wherever you are staying and simply plugin your laptop when at home and unhook it when you need the portability. The reason the extra resolution is handy when programming is because you can do stuff like have your code and the programming documentation running side by side which I have found to be a huge help in working out exactly where I went wrong when I make a mistake.

Stingray454
May 15, 2013, 03:57 AM
I just wanted to chip in, mostly agreeing with what others said. The 11" is, hardware-wise, perfectly suited for programming. I would recommend 8Gb, that's the best upgrade. Processor is great if you can get the fastest, but won't make a big difference. SSD I have a hard time finding use for more than 256Gb, but that's an individual choice. Anyway, it will handle everything you throw at it, with no problem at all.

I was personally working out-of-office with a large web project a few weeks back on my 11" Air. That means a couple of decent-sized photoshop files open, text editor with tons of files open for editing html/css/php and whatnot, and Flash CS6 with a HUGE flash project running. That is of course on top of the usual mail/twitter/IM clients, browser with lots of tabs open, spotify and things like that. I actually noticed that the Air published the flash project FASTER than my i7 iMac I use as office computer, probably mostly due to the SSD and the many files involved. But still, the experience was great, never noticed any slowdowns at all.

That beeing said, I DID have to run on an external screen. You will have a hard time fitting a proper workspace with all your toolbars and such on that 11" screen - it's great for working on the road, but for long-term, a desktop "docking station" with screen/mouse/keyboard is what I would have used.

And about the battery, I was worried about that too. However, it lasts long enough for travel / flights / surfing while waiting for something, and after almost 3 years of getting my first Air I have yet to find a place at a school/workplace that doesn't have power outlets where I can plug it in if I stay for a longer period of time ;)

Best of luck with your purchase!

jmfel1926
May 15, 2013, 05:11 AM
I have the MBA 11' 1.7/8/128 and i am a Masters student in Advanced Computer Graphics. I do all the programming on my laptop.At first the screen felt small but after 1 month it is great. MBA is very powerful and i did not have any problems programming whatever i was told even pretty large code for a Modelling and Animation course with tons of polygons etc. Also working with Xcode is really great simple and fast. Finally it is really easy to have an ultrabook do your job as you can carry it around and present projects and stuff.

firewood
May 20, 2013, 02:21 PM
I have an MBA 11 that I use for developing iOS and Mac OS X apps and Linux utilities, no problem. Excellent size for tight seating in crowded lecture halls. A large external monitor can help when developing iPad apps though.

c1phr
May 20, 2013, 04:00 PM
I just finished my freshman year at a University with a 15" MBP. I don't mind the weight, the screen is fantastic and having the graphics card is nice every now and then.

That being said, if I had to do it again, I would absolutely pick the 13" Air or Pro. The SSD is nice, but nothing I do for my degree really would show the speed, so I'm absolutely fine with a mechanical drive. I use an external monitor in my dorm, since any extensive project demands more screen real estate. Writing code on that 11" Air will be one of the worst experiences, unless you have great eye sight and small text isn't a problem. I will say that I wear contacts for my vision and I had a hard time reading code on my friend's 13" Air.

On the point of needing Windows: I ultimately haven't yet, and I know plenty of other people who haven't through their Junior year. Yes, I did use it to write Assembly for a class because I wanted to use the MASM assembler and Visual Studio, but plenty of people got by just fine using OSX and Linux only. All of the intro classes at my university were done in Python, and most other universities use either that or Java, both of which are ultra cross platform. C and C++ are also cross platform and very well supported by Xcode.

Battery life wise: Only my CS classes were in rooms with power outlets around, most other lecture halls were pretty old. Granted, I only needed my laptop for CS courses, and I was good for around 4 hours with the keyboard backlight off and screen brightness turned down. I also always had a charger with me, and I was able to charge it a bit between classes if I ever needed to.

My suggestion would be to hold out first for WWDC and see what gets announced. Hardware releases don't typically come at WWDC, but there is speculation due to shortening supply of Airs. After that, 13" Air or 13" rMBP is my suggestion, but with maxed out RAM. You'll want it later. Don't get hung up on 11 vs 13 for fitting in lecture halls, I could sit with my 15" just fine in any lecture all I was in, and there were other people with much thicker Windows laptops that fit just fine as well.

jeffzoom91
May 27, 2013, 01:47 AM
I just finished my freshman year at a University with a 15" MBP. I don't mind the weight, the screen is fantastic and having the graphics card is nice every now and then.

That being said, if I had to do it again, I would absolutely pick the 13" Air or Pro. The SSD is nice, but nothing I do for my degree really would show the speed, so I'm absolutely fine with a mechanical drive. I use an external monitor in my dorm, since any extensive project demands more screen real estate. Writing code on that 11" Air will be one of the worst experiences, unless you have great eye sight and small text isn't a problem. I will say that I wear contacts for my vision and I had a hard time reading code on my friend's 13" Air.

On the point of needing Windows: I ultimately haven't yet, and I know plenty of other people who haven't through their Junior year. Yes, I did use it to write Assembly for a class because I wanted to use the MASM assembler and Visual Studio, but plenty of people got by just fine using OSX and Linux only. All of the intro classes at my university were done in Python, and most other universities use either that or Java, both of which are ultra cross platform. C and C++ are also cross platform and very well supported by Xcode.

Battery life wise: Only my CS classes were in rooms with power outlets around, most other lecture halls were pretty old. Granted, I only needed my laptop for CS courses, and I was good for around 4 hours with the keyboard backlight off and screen brightness turned down. I also always had a charger with me, and I was able to charge it a bit between classes if I ever needed to.

My suggestion would be to hold out first for WWDC and see what gets announced. Hardware releases don't typically come at WWDC, but there is speculation due to shortening supply of Airs. After that, 13" Air or 13" rMBP is my suggestion, but with maxed out RAM. You'll want it later. Don't get hung up on 11 vs 13 for fitting in lecture halls, I could sit with my 15" just fine in any lecture all I was in, and there were other people with much thicker Windows laptops that fit just fine as well.

When I started school the MBA wasn't really an option, and I ended up with a 15'' MBP.

Fast forward to now, and it is rocking maxed out ram and an SSD (Ignore the hype, make up even bigger hype in your head, then believe your own hype, it's that big of a deal).

One of my last courses as a software developer has me creating a 3D game. It's going to be a fun summer, but I noticed something when I got started.

There is a really good reason it says "Pro" at the bottom of this screen. If you're going into CS, I'd shoot for one of the Pro models. I know personally I'd love to walk around with a MBA but I also know that I can't drag my BeastMac (27'' iMac) with me to group meetings. Any time you see a professional working on a mobile mac, in any field, they almost always have a 15'' Macbook Pro. Apple doesn't change these things because they're built like tanks. You can push them as hard as a computer can be pushed (I've had this thing sit at <500mb of ram free, Maxed out CPU clock, and over 100C for almost 12 hours straight more than once), and they don't give out. Every ounce is used wisely. A quad-core Macbook Pro will last 4 years with EASE.

That's why the 15'' is such a great professional's machine. Even in it's low res form there's plenty of space to keep you from getting too cramped when you're on the go (You never know when a class will get canceled and you'll get an hour to hack). Although if I could go back, get the hi-res upgrade, it's worth every penny. My work Mac is a 13'' Macbook Pro and I find it nearly impossible to get anything done without an external monitor, although I admit the size is nice.

The 15'' gets INSANE battery life out of the box. I mean, I got my 2010 as a replacement to my 2009 model (it ate more than a few logic boards), and I remember when I first got it, it easily did 7 hours on a charge. Three years later at 650 cycles I still can get 5 hours out of it pretty easily.

I didn't know what CS was going to look like when I started school...computer wise. I didn't know that upgrading my gear every couple of years wouldn't be an option anymore, that I'd have more important things going on. I certainly didn't think I'd be building a 3D game at any point.

But here I am, and my WarMac is here too, jam packed with all the developer goodies I could ever need. I also typically carry a FW800 hard drive with my Time Machine backup as well as a Win8 VM, a Win7 VM, and an Ubuntu VM.

Plus the dedicated graphics card means I can play a quick game of Counter Strike when I get a little down time.

Trust me. If you're going to be a Software Developer, get a Pro model. Apple knows what they're doing.

Beau10
Jun 1, 2013, 01:50 PM
Trust me. If you're going to be a Software Developer, get a Pro model. Apple knows what they're doing.

I actually am a Software Developer (have been since '96) and get by with just an 11". No extra monitor. Apparently Linus Torvalds does as well. Funny that.

3d graphics is a fairly small niche. Most of what you do as a dev has little to do with loading the CPU or GPU.

Early on in my career this stuff mattered alot. But machines are so fast today that there's rarely a case where performance bottlenecks get in the way of productively doing my job. The last frontier was rotational media and its effect on context switching which could be a real killer, the advent of SSDs solved that.

As to the screen size issue - tiling managers, learning your OS nav shortcuts/helper apps, shell coding, etc, go a long way toward optimizing your workflow.

robE89
Jun 1, 2013, 04:14 PM
But doesn`t your eyes get tired because of the screen?

I`m kinda planning an 13' MBA for Coding...still researching.

Beau10
Jun 1, 2013, 04:53 PM
But doesn`t your eyes get tired because of the screen?


I guess this is pretty dependent on the individual. The DPI is slightly tighter on the 11" vs. 13", and a bit more so than on the 13" pro. But still better than doing something like 1920 x 1200 on a 15.4" screen which a ton of devs hungry for desktop space do. My vision is still fantastic at 37 years old. A few months back I did 12 day straight, 12-16 hour/day coding marathon on this thing and didn't skip a beat.

DisplacedMic
Jun 1, 2013, 06:14 PM
I actually am a Software Developer (have been since '96) and get by with just an 11". No extra monitor. Apparently Linus Torvalds does as well. Funny that.


haha, and the award for driving the point home goes to...

i didn't know this, but there's a great article here (http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/19/an-interview-with-millenium-technology-prize-finalist-linus-torvalds/)

Zephyer
Jun 1, 2013, 07:36 PM
kind of related - do you think a MBA with 4 gigs of ram (base model) is sufficient? or 8 gigs is highly recommended? preparing for possiblities of virtual machines, multi-tab browers and ide.

ayres
Jun 1, 2013, 09:10 PM
kind of related - do you think a MBA with 4 gigs of ram (base model) is sufficient? or 8 gigs is highly recommended? preparing for possiblities of virtual machines, multi-tab browers and ide.

i'd go with 8gb... kernel_task is vicious.

DisplacedMic
Jun 1, 2013, 11:05 PM
kind of related - do you think a MBA with 4 gigs of ram (base model) is sufficient? or 8 gigs is highly recommended? preparing for possiblities of virtual machines, multi-tab browers and ide.

i ran a virtual machine on my 2009 MBP for several years with 4 gigs of ram. it was ok but you definitely noticed it slowing down. it really depends on you - i run VM because i'm too impatient to wait for bootcamp. meaning i'm not really running both at the same time in any huge capacity. if you're going to be running both hard then definitely 8.

it depends on your personal needs, but i don't think you'd regret the $100 for 8...

TC25
Jun 2, 2013, 03:03 AM
If wanna be programmers can't make these simple decisions without starting a thread, I'd hate to see the logic in their programs.

loop until [strangers tell me what to do];

Switchback666
Jun 2, 2013, 04:19 AM
For your needs the 11"MBA with sublime text will be fine :) you can get a cheap monitor to use while at home/dorm.

Zephyer
Jun 2, 2013, 05:26 AM
TC25, i wonder you how realise that if one debates about hardware issues, he must have bad logic in his code.

TC25
Jun 2, 2013, 07:52 AM
TC25, i wonder you how realise that if one debates about hardware issues, he must have bad logic in his code.

I'll wait for the English translation of your post before replying.

Zephyer
Jun 2, 2013, 09:17 AM
I'll wait for the English translation of your post before replying.

my english is not native. however, i think its more than clear that you rather not reply instead of giving silly reasoning for your claims. will not reply anymore, since you are clueless. peace out.

TC25
Jun 2, 2013, 09:52 AM
my english is not native. however, i think its more than clear that you rather not reply instead of giving silly reasoning for your claims. will not reply anymore, since you are clueless. peace out.

It is simple. If people who claim to be programmers can't take facts and come to logical conclusions about what to buy, won't be able to write code to do it either.

Also, I do not hide behind the claim my English is not native, nor do I call other people names.

solderguy1
Jun 3, 2013, 09:54 AM
To the OP, if you plan to do IOS programming with actual devices, it will eat up the only usb slot on the 11 inch. Might be something to consider.

spaceballl
Jun 3, 2013, 11:41 AM
The 11" MacBook Air is perfect for you if you have a larger monitor / keyboard / mouse at your dorm room. That way you have the awesome portability of the 11" unit, but you have the big screen back at the dorm.

If you're not planning on using an external screen, get the 13".

rkuo
Jun 3, 2013, 02:53 PM
I actually am a Software Developer (have been since '96) and get by with just an 11". No extra monitor. Apparently Linus Torvalds does as well. Funny that.

3d graphics is a fairly small niche. Most of what you do as a dev has little to do with loading the CPU or GPU.

Early on in my career this stuff mattered alot. But machines are so fast today that there's rarely a case where performance bottlenecks get in the way of productively doing my job. The last frontier was rotational media and its effect on context switching which could be a real killer, the advent of SSDs solved that.

As to the screen size issue - tiling managers, learning your OS nav shortcuts/helper apps, shell coding, etc, go a long way toward optimizing your workflow.

It seems objectively unproductive to window switch between code, web browser debug, web browser for reference docs, other e-mail, etc on a small screen. Can you describe what you are doing?

Beau10
Jun 3, 2013, 03:39 PM
It seems objectively unproductive to window switch between code, web browser debug, web browser for reference docs, other e-mail, etc on a small screen. Can you describe what you are doing?

It seems objectively unproductive to window switch between code, web browser debug, web browser for reference docs, other e-mail, etc on a small screen. Can you describe what you are doing?

Generally speaking most of my work currently is as a Rails dev, although sometimes I delve into node.js, python, etc - and occasionally .NET dev.

My OSX toolchain is comprised of

- TotalTerminal (visor terminal)
- TotalFinder (visor finder w/ ability to link windows)
- BetterTouchTool (trackpad shortcuts)
- Divvy (tiling manager)
- Sublime (text editor)
- Alfred (launcher)
- Fusion w/ Windows 8 + VS2010, usually in unity mode

Cloud based tool chain

- Bitbucket & Github for repo work
- Pivotal Tracker and Trello for workflow/bugs
- Google Drive, apps, Dropbox, Basecamp, etc for team collab.

I have my visors setup with keyboard shortcuts and don't animate so I can access pretty immediately. Generally speaking, if I can do it on the command line I'll opt for that vs. a GUI tool (ie. git work) for speed, so TotalTerminal is pretty key.

I link together Divvy and BetterTouchTool to create a handful of tiles I can quickly switch between. For instance, I have a tile setup just for Sublime that's roughly 7/16" or the right side of the screen, and another 9/16" for a web browser to the left. As well I have a tile for full screen. If I'm using VS, that will take the entirely of the screen, and from time to time go full screen w/ the browser or Sublime depending on what I'm doing. I make judicious use of Cmd-Tab and Alfred for switching windows, as well as Cmd-[] for switching tabs within the browser or Sublime. Within the apps themselves I tend to know enough shortcuts that I rarely have to open the menus - if for instance, I need to take Sublime from a single window tiled to the right to a four window w/ tray full screen, I can make that switch (3 commands) within about a second.

One of the things that I don't think can be discounted is the ability to focus. At my last job I had a 3 monitor setup - 2 x 24" and 1x 21" and I would have every single thing I need somewhere on my desktop all at once. 90% of the time you should be in your editor or IDE, and if you're not, you probably are thrashing. At any given time, I'm only looking at 1 or two apps on the screen at once. Pay attention to how you work, how many times you use a mouse, etc, and find ways to reduce those inefficiencies. I've worked with well over 100 devs throughout my career, and most do some incredibly sloppy things that slow them down because of the lack of constraints.

dmsmith
Jun 3, 2013, 04:54 PM
The cost of regret is really low with Macs. They hold their value and sell well.

You might find that you can get a better price than the student discount if you look carefully.

During the summer Apple has typically given a bonus to students. Last year it was a $100 iTunes gift card. Third party Mac sellers may sweeten the pot in response. Sometimes you have to ask.

So I'd suggest not only waiting for WWDC announcement (as others have suggested) but also for the summer student bonus.

SnowLeopard2008
Jun 3, 2013, 05:04 PM
If the OP is still reading this thread, the 11" would work perfectly for you since you have an external monitor. Unless you're using both your Windows PC and MBA at the same time, you can connect the monitor to both computers and switch input based on what machine you're using. The only problem with the 11" for programmers (like myself) is the screen size and resolution. 1368x768 resolution isn't that much space and neither is 11" diagonally. But an external monitor remedies all of that. As for performance between the 11" and 13", the gap is very negligible and not noticeable at all.

PBG4 Dude
Jun 3, 2013, 05:17 PM
To the OP, if you plan to do IOS programming with actual devices, it will eat up the only usb slot on the 11 inch. Might be something to consider.

There are 2 USB ports on the MBA 11".

Psychj0e
Jun 3, 2013, 08:10 PM
There's nothing wrong with researching... It's nothing to do with logic.

The current Macbook air with 64gb SSD, and 4gb ram would be absolutely fine for you (or maybe 128 if you do decide to install Windows).

I'm using the base model 2012 macbook air for crunching numbers using MATLAB and it works absolutely fine as long as you're disciplined with how you organise your SSD. (benching MATLAB 2009b in -nojvm mode, and the overall bench is higher than a work station from 2009 - and I'm sure you won't require more power than that).

With regards to storage, I personally keep the majority of my files on an external HDD, and then transfer larger projects over to the MBA when needed.

Mac_Max
Jun 3, 2013, 08:15 PM
My 11" 2GHz/8GB RAM Air is my main machine. I love the portability. I didn't find the 13" Air's increase in size worth the small increase in pixels. When I do need more screen real estate on the go I use my iPad as a second monitor via AirDisplay. If I was purchasing a new computer today I'd take a look at the 13" MBPr which has a fantastic resolution and portability.

These days I'm mostly doing Perl/HTML/JS web work with some native iOS dev and C# development (via Mono). For Perl web work the screen size is more than adequate, Interface Builder (the XCode GUI Builder) not very fun on the 11" screen but I manage, and for C# projects I'm typically working on API library DLLs and the screen is fine for that.

No matter what you get, if you cans swing it budget wise, I suggest having a second monitor for at home.

Also you should be able to get free Windows, Visual Studio, and Office licenses via DreamSpark/MSDNAA which is Microsoft's education outreach program. I believe all you need is a .edu/college email address (they might have new restrictions, it's been a two years since I last used it) to verify that you're a student.

Edit:

Also, if you can swing it, you should consider the 256GB SSD if you plan on dual booting. I have the 128GB and regret not upgrading. The OWC upgrade/Apple pull/OEM drives are expensive.