Developing on 13" MBP

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Usquebaugh, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. Usquebaugh macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2011
    Hey guys, I'm looking to get some tips on how usable the MBP 13" screen is for development tasks, running Eclipse, Xcode, or any other IDEs you may be a fan of.

    I'm coming from a 2007 15" MBP, and would like to move to a smaller form factor as well as a lighter machine. The new 13" would probably do just about everything functionality-wise I'd need, and the CPU would be a real boon to my day to day tasks (this would be a personal machine, no gaming, and a decent amount of development). The only thing off-putting is the 1200x800 resolution. At that size I'm concerned about feeling really cramped in programs like TextMate and Eclipse, but I'd like to hear from any of you who have experience coding on the smaller machines how that experience has been.

    At the moment I don't have a desk and have no plans on an external monitor so the laptop display would be the only one I'd use. Thanks in advance!
  2. sonnyfazio macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2011
    I used to use a 13-inch MBP for my developing and web design (Xcode and Espresso). Although at times it felt cramped, it was a really portable machine and worked really great. Speed wise, it's perfectly fast enough to compile even large amounts of files. Right now, I use a 15-inch MBP, a 24-inch iMac, and a 27-inch iMac for iOS development. You could always buy a cheap monitor and connect it to the MBP when you want a larger screen size.

    That being said, Xcode 4 takes up a huge amount of room on your screen now (at least in my opinion). So you might find that running Xcode 4 on the 13-inch machine will be too cramped. Best bet is to visit an Apple Store and setup a mock screen of what you'll be doing. You might want to see what the screen will look like when you have a video playing in one corner, coding in the rest of the screen.
  3. SidBala macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2010
    Development on 1280x800? Yuck!

    I used to develop on my 1280x800 Black Macbook. The experience was utterly horrible. It was very much cramped. There was not enough space for both the IDE and references pages. Even if there was, there was not enough vertical space to look at a good amount of code.

    Ended up selling it at a loss and then moving to a Full HD MBP 17.

    Screen estate is probably the single most important factor to consider in a development computer. Don't underestimate its importance.
  4. steeex macrumors member

    Feb 9, 2010
    I pretty much have your same needs. I had a 2010 13" MBP and I recently upgraded to a 15" due to overwhelming the screen there but to be honest I am not 100% in love with its bulk. I would wait and see what is the Sandy Bridge rev of the Air going to be...if they squeeze a decent processor on the 13" I am going for another swap...
  5. Staindsoul macrumors 6502


    Apr 13, 2010
  6. v66jack macrumors 6502a


    May 20, 2009
    London, UK
    I find the 13" too small and cramped for coding. So use a 15" for those sorts of tasks.
  7. Usquebaugh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2011
    The Air would be my ideal solution, but it might not happen until fall and while the current machine is surviving it's pretty damn slow and is losing resale value with each refresh.

    Such a shame, the $600 increase to the 15" just for a resolution bump (that being the only feature I'd be upgrading for) seems crazy to me, though they are great machines in their own right.

    I wonder what happens to the MBP 13" when the Air gets a refresh to SB? I know it will be a ULV chip but they would become pretty indistinguishable feature wise, and the base Air only $100 more.

    Thanks guys for the anecdotes and experiences.
  8. VPrime macrumors 68000


    Dec 19, 2008
    London Ontario
    13" was fine for me... There was only a few times I wished for a larger screen resolution, and this was coming from a 15.4 1680x1050 laptop.
    I did have a desktop at home though, the 13" macbook was only used for coding at school.

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