Can I use the MacBook for web development?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by 2457244, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. 2457244 macrumors regular

    Jul 20, 2015

    I'm looking to buy a laptop as a second computer to become more mobile. First I always thought an iPad could do the trick but it turns out iPads are not really productive devices, they are great for hanging on the sofa and browse the web for 2 hours in Safari but writing code, Dropbox integration BT keyboards and iOS it's just not a pretty touch workflow at all.

    My main computer is a Mac mini 2014, 2.6GHz and 16GB RAM. This computer was bought because I don't want to spend thousands of dollars on Apple gear anymore. I don't like Apple as much as I did in 2007 anymore, they have become too cool for me I guess.
    This fairly basic mini holds an hold slow HD and it's perfectly fine. I don't mind a reboot time of 2 minutes. Everything I do on this computer works just fine.

    Now I would like to buy a laptop on the side but I'm lost.
    I could buy a 13" MacBook Air which isn't my first choice as I will use this Air probably 70% on my lap. This means the Air wouldn't get rid of the heat and will die eventually. I owned a first gen. Air and it was drama all the way so Airs are already poisoned in my opinion.
    I could buy a 13" MacBook Pro and own a computer on the side that will outperform my mini big time, it's so overkill and costs so much more money too.

    Last, the new 12" MacBook, it's so pretty design wise but it's also a first generation product. I have my doubts about the 1.1GHz engine running things. Difficult to get a good understanding of how much power it holds and what it can do.
    For example I would nobody advise to buy the 1.6GHz iMac or 1.4GHz Mac mini because the engine is just so basic, that same feeling I have when it comes to this new MacBook.
    The keyboard, the same, it's so different, I probably get used to the keypressing but the arrow UP and DOWN keys are plain ugly, I use those key a lot and I mean a lot a lot to navigate around.
    On the flip side I can use it on my lap all the time because it has no fan openings I could close with my cloths.

    So my question is mainly how much performance does this computer have and also towards the future. Will it last 4 or 5 years.
    I don't use heavy software at all, this is what I use most during the day.

    - Dropbox ( king )
    - Sketch 3 ( Mac mini mainly )
    - Affinity Photo ( Mac mini mainly )
    - Affinity Designer ( Mac mini mainly )
    - Pixelmator ( just cropping and scaling images both computers )
    - MAMP ( pain is the * software, both computers )
    - CodeKit ( both computers )
    - Coda ( both computers )
    - Unibox ( both computers )
    - Safari ( both computers )
    - 1Password ( both computers )

    As you can see, no heavy loads. Dropbox is probably most active because I have my entire computer HD inside Dropbox. At every file save it syncs a little bit but at my Mac mini this isn't an issue at all.
    MAMP is the most close to 'sloppy' software from that list but there is no other basic option at this time. Everything design I will keep doing on my mini when I'm at home. The MacBook will probably only for writing web code, and cropping an image here and there with good old Pixelmator.
  2. bjet767 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 2, 2010
    Why not?

    Web development is not a CPU intensive process.

    I code and simulate with xCode on my 12" MB regularly. Additionally, I update a couple of web sites with it, use Photoshop LE, Final Cut Pro (I like it over iMovie), Word, and often time at least 3 programs at once.

    My desktop is a 2012 i7 Quad Mini with a 1tb HD, 250g SSD and 16gb Ram and I use the 12" more since I am on the road often. If you need more screen space get the DUO app and use it with an iPad.

    Yes it will last 4 or more years, but as with all Apple products we often get sucked into the vortex of new stuff. I used an 2010 11" MBA for three years (it's still in use by the gal I sold it to), purchased a 2014 11" and a year later the 12" MB.

    But, I would wait until the Apple show in about a week to see what they may offer.

    I have the 1.2 12"MB
  3. Puonti macrumors 6502a

    Mar 14, 2011
    Do you by any chance do Unity development for iOS devices, programming in Monodevelop and building with Xcode? Or just straight up do it all with Xcode?
  4. bjet767 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 2, 2010
    Just xCode.

    Recently needed an iOS app with an internal document/database. For simple apps and portability I like using the NS/UIDocument class. So I wrote an OSX program to enter the data, saved in file and the added file to iOS app bundle to be opened by the app. I have also used this process with iCloud recently for an app I will be sending to the App Store this year.

    More info than your question, sorry. But looking at Monodevelopment It doesn't really look CPU intensive at all. It seems most/many open source programs are pretty good about resource needs and can run on some really limited platforms.

    For really small/basic web pages I found really a basic GUI app for OSX called Sparkle. Drag and drop and writes ok HTML/web code.

    I use another editor to actual modify the code when needed.
  5. Puonti macrumors 6502a

    Mar 14, 2011
    Thanks for sharing that! I'm primarily concerned about the combination of Unity editor (with a game project loaded) and Monodevelop, and how snappily the MacBook would handle compiling code changes and running the project in Unity.

    Admittedly that performance is going to be highly dependent on the project's size.
  6. jmeas macrumors regular


    Jun 30, 2015
    San Jose
    I've done some light Unity development on my MacBook. There are times when I thought, "an Air would handle this better," but it was usable for simpler projects, as you believed.

    What I'd do is buy one when you know you've got 2 weeks to put a lot of time into developing on it. Try it out, and see how it works for you. If it's too laggy, you can return it. And if it works for the size project you'll be working on, then you'll join the ranks of us happy 12" MacBook owners.
  7. huythanhv2 macrumors regular

    Apr 5, 2010
    I found the Macbook can handle web development easily with Vagrant (although I have only 1 running at the same time due to limited amount of RAM) and PHPStorm.

    The only downside is I don't think I type as fast on the keyboard, probably need time to get use to.

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