Anyone seriously try xCode on Air 11"

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by phr0ze, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. phr0ze macrumors 6502a

    Jun 14, 2012
    Columbia, MD
    I'm thinking of ditching the 15" Retina. I've had a 13" air, but I'm wondering if I could survive with the 11" air without convincing a best buy employee to install xcode on a demo 11".


    I would also have a Mac Mini hooked to a 27" TB for coding at home. The air would be for when I'm out or sitting in front of the TV.
  2. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    I've installed software on computers at an Apple store before to try out what it felt like on various screen sizes, so I can tell you they'll definitely allow you to do it there (and actually, I wouldn't be very surprised if it's already on there.)

    I've used Xcode on my 13" original MBA plenty of times... the screen size rarely strikes me as an issue but the slow CPU and limited RAM often does.
  3. macrumors 68000

    May 25, 2012
    I use xcode and gimp on my 13inch (2012 8gb ram) for development and everything runs fine but I would say the screen space does slow down my progress a bit. I wouldnt go any smaller than 13inch but thats just me.
  4. phr0ze thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 14, 2012
    Columbia, MD
    I've had the 13" air with 4GB of ram and xCode seemed fine. I do wonder about the drop to 11" screen size specifically.
  5. larswik macrumors 68000

    Sep 8, 2006
    The only thing I would wonder about is when you are simulating a retina display. Those can get large.

    But on the same topic I will be getting a Mac mini just for programming purpose this summer. Apple like to keep all version of OS's close together. Xcode, ios and OSX. Since I have to use my computer to do normal work to make money I can't upgrade my Mac every time a new change comes out. So a computer that is only for programming seems to be my bets choice to program as a hobby.
  6. Giuly macrumors 68040


    Yes, you can? You don't have to run OS X Betas, but XCode Betas don't interfere with your work whatsoever. Nor won't regular software updates.
  7. CyberGeek macrumors member

    Jun 30, 2007
    I develop on an 11" air. Most of the time I have it hooked up to an external display, so the air's screen size doesn't matter, but on occasion I develop without an external display. Most of Xcode is just fine, and running the simulator for a non-retina iPhone isn't bad, but running the simulator on any retina device or any iPad is a bit of a bother. The simulator allows you to scale the screen window, though, which makes things more manageable. In addition to that, Interface Builder can be a little annoying at that small size, since you don't have a huge amount of visible canvas to work with.

    Aside from that, though, there aren't any issues. Writing code and running/debugging on an actual device work just fine. And, again, most of the time I have an external display plugged in (along with an external mouse and keyboard, so the air becomes more a really small tower instead of a notebook). If the size when writing code is bothersome, you can fullscreen Xcode, but I don't generally do that.

    Overall, I'm happy with the machine. I consider the size/weight tradeoff worth it.
  8. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    For the past couple years, I've done tons of development using Xcode on my MBA 11, consulting plus iPhone apps and some Mac development as well. An external big monitor helps, but I've done lots of coding with just the 11 (on the train, in coffee shops and libraries, etc.)

    I now actually prefer using the MBA 11 to my larger MBP, because I can just pick it up with my current project and run, as it's not actually any heavier than an iPad 4 plus a BT keyboard. Battery life is decent, but you'll need the power cord for more than half a day of coding.
  9. larswik macrumors 68000

    Sep 8, 2006
    They don't directly interfere with it. Like xcode won't interfere with Final Cut Pro directly. But having to update to 10.7 knocked out a number of programs that I relied on that ran in PPC. Haxel's Disc Catalog was a program I used all the time as a database for the last 15 years and a number of other things. Haxel is no longer in business so I can not update it.

    I am happy with all my software and it all works just fine to do my day to day work and don't need to update anything. But I love programming and if I submit an app to the app store I have to make it compatible with the latest ios, which has meant in the past I need to update xcode to get the latest ios. Then xcode wants to be run on the newer OSX, I had to update to 10.7 I think it was to use xcode 4.5 or 4.6, I forget. An that breaks my other programs needing them to be updated too. It's a trickle down effect.

    So, the best thing for me is to have a separate computer just for programming that I can keep updated just for xcode. So a new mac mini would be a good solution for me to move my programming too.
  10. PBG4 Dude macrumors 68020

    PBG4 Dude

    Jul 6, 2007
    I was just coming here to see if there was a solution to showing the iPad simulator on the MBA 11" screen. Happy to have found a solution. :)

    The only real problems I have with the small screen is moving through the Storyboards. To make it easier, I use the assistant and navigate to the view controller that controls the view I want to edit on the left, and have the storyboard open on the right. This forces Interface Builder to navigate to the corresponding UI in the Storyboard.
  11. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    I set up an older MBA 11 for dual boot. One bootable partition with Snow Lion plus an old version of Xcode and some old PPC apps. Another bootable partition with the latest 10.8 for use with the latest Xcode.
  12. larswik macrumors 68000

    Sep 8, 2006
    Ha. That is not a bad idea. I can just dual boot my 6 core tower where I program. That didn't even cross my mind, thanks!
  13. truehybridx macrumors member

    Dec 6, 2010
    I tried it on a 10inch netbook running OSX and yea, xcode was painful to work with on such a tiny screen, but if you full screen it and don't need to do a lot of interface work (or can use an external display) its usable. Now a 13inch notebook gives a lot more room compared to such a smaller screen. just my 2cents
  14. loon3y macrumors 65816


    Oct 21, 2011
    its bothersome when u need to run xcode, IIS, SQL, and an ERP program to see if it all connects and works.

    11" i cant fathom how hard it will be, but if its purely just xcode i think it can be ok.

    i have a 13" im sticking with it solely because of its size and weight. cant wait til the retina 13" gets a bit lower (in price) or if they get quard core

    it'll really help with the weight, which is why im also switching my ipad to the ipad 5 because of the weight.
  15. Kashsystems macrumors 6502

    Jul 23, 2012
    Sometimes mentally you go in the opposite direction, I want a 30inch iMac with a 2560x1600 resolution. I blame all this on storyboarding...
  16. phr0ze thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 14, 2012
    Columbia, MD
    Yeah, I figure I have the 27" display when I need it. I guess what I'm really going for is portability when I'm not home.
  17. TheWatchfulOne macrumors 6502


    Jun 19, 2009
    Would somebody mind posting a screenshot of Xcode and the iPhone Simulator running on an 11" MacBook Air?

    I want my next MacBook to be an Air and it would be my primary computer. I've looked at the 11" and 13". I've actually almost talked myself out of the 11" and into the 13" because of the taller screen on the 13".

    After the recent price drop, I'm almost tempted to go with the 13" Retina MacBook Pro. But I really like how light the Airs are.
  18. iJustinCabral macrumors member


    Jul 8, 2012
    I use the 13" macbook air for my own the go development device and it is fantastic.

    Never slows down, extremely light (can barely feel it in my backpack), and the battery life is great if you turn down the screen.

    I would personally wait to buy the next gen Retina Display Macbooks because they are going to include the Haswell chip from intel, and new .ac wifi standards.

    IMO if you need something now, I'd go with the Air. I have zero complaints.
  19. NT1440 macrumors G4


    May 18, 2008
    We can't do that.
  20. todd412 macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2010
    Southern California
    XCode on Air 11" - Another Trick

    Here's a trick for testing out the viability of XCode on a small screen without having to install anything: Create a screenshot by carefully resizing your xcode window to the exact dimensions of the target screen (11" macbook air, etc). Given that small working space, set up xcode's panes the way you would probably use it in a small area (no assistant mode, etc)

    Put that screenshot up on the web somewhere, then go into the apple store, pull down the image with Safari, open it in preview and full-screen it to get a good feel for what it would be like.

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