MBA 11.6 (1.4 or 1.6) for Development?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Xil3, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. Xil3 macrumors regular

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    London
    #1
    I've been seriously considering buying one of these to replace my MBP (2.8 C2D), although, I do have a few concerns.

    I am a contractor and tend to travel around a lot with my laptop, so if it was smaller/lighter, it would really make my life easier. So, it basically comes down to performance.

    Is there anyone here that has the same dilema or has just bought one and plans on using it for development?

    And for a bit of background - I use Netbeans for my IDE, and I do Android, IPhone, and Web Development (PHP), mainly.

    Also, a difference between the 1.4 & 1.6 would be great too.
     
  2. ct2k7 macrumors 603

    ct2k7

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    #2
    I too would use my MBA for development (mainly PHP/MySQL and HTML/CSS/JSi. I am more swaying into the 13.3", since we developers like larger screens to display more information :D. Usually devs don't need that much CPU power, so I'd suggest, for you, maybe the 1.4. You'd only see a small difference in CPU intensive tasks.

    I'm currently on a Dell Inspiron 6400, 4GB RAM with a T7200 (TDP is 34W, btw), and it gets hot, quickly. I don't find myself doing very heavy work, but I can't say how heavy XCode is.
     
  3. Xil3 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Yeah, I was thinking that too.

    I would really like to find out if someone has actually installed Netbeans and how it performs (with lots of other apps running in the background) - also compilation times.
     
  4. ct2k7 macrumors 603

    ct2k7

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    #4
    This would be interesting. I currently use phpDesigner and in moving to the mac, I'd need to find something that works on the Mac. So far, anything Java-based doesn't impress me.
     
  5. definitive macrumors 68000

    definitive

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    #5
    why not just buy a $500 or less netbook? (unless of course the mac osx is a must)
     
  6. vow macrumors member

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    #6
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    I tried programming on a netbook a long time ago. It was painful. Very painful.

    MBA should be fine though and I don't think the CPU speed will make that much of a difference. If you only plan on programming within OSX then the default specs should be fine.
     
  7. Xil3 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    I already have a netbook (Samsung N140), and it's horrible for developing with - Netbeans barely crawls.


    Jon
     
  8. C64 macrumors 65816

    C64

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    Sep 3, 2008
    #8
    I've been doing fulltime web development work on my MacBook for 4 years now on 1280x800, and never had any problems. In fact, I love it. I can work whenever and wherever I want, and do just about anything. Since the 11.6" has a similar resolution, I'd say this would be just fine. The screen is small though, so you should see if that's something for you. You might get eye-strain after a while, but that's all very personal. If you do, the 13.3" might be a better option.

    The biggest advantage of coding on a MacBook is the great touchpad and the two finger scrolling. Even though you can't see too much code at any time due to a relative low resolution, scrolling up and down and left and right is so easy, quick and natural, so it doesn't really matter. And whenever you do need more screen real-estate (for e.g. more serious Photoshop work), you can easily hook up an external monitor. But most of the time I really only need to see the part of the code I'm focussing on, so the resolution works just fine.

    Besides the screen, the Air has a fullsize keyboard and it's fast enough for most programming work. More memory might be useful when you're working with a lot of applications at the same time, although the SSD will handle most of that just fine for the time being. But an upgrade to 4GB is always a good idea looking ahead, since it's not user-replaceable. The only time you might notice the Air isn't the fastest notebook is when you're actually doing CPU-intensive work like compiling code, but then we're talking a few seconds or minutes more. For most people this is a fair tradeoff for the size and weight of the Air opposed to other models.
     
  9. Xil3 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #9
    Yeah, I have most of that on my MBP right now, but the biggest thing for me would be the size and weight :)

    As long as it keeps up with what i do, it's a perfect fit.

    I just wish someone would post who's tested it with Netbeans and can assure me that it works just fine (without any noticeable sluggishness).
     
  10. cis4life macrumors regular

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    Apr 4, 2008
    #10
    I haven't install NetBeans, but I have installed CS5 with Flash Builder, CF Builder, and Eclipse and they all run extremely well. I have the 11 inch model with 2 gigs of ram and 128 ssd.

    I haven't run no official benchmark test, but my software loads up quickly and I'm off and coding with no problem and able to run my software I coded with no problem. I also don't have any viewing problems. Of course it's not as wide open for viewing as it would be on my mini with my 24 inch display, but I too code for a living and find myself traveling to my clients and I can fully see myself using this air for mobile development.

    Hope that helps a bit.
     
  11. Xil3 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    Yes it does! Thanks so much.

    Eclipse is probably more processor/memory intensive than Netbeans, so if that runs fine, then it sounds all good.
     
  12. whateverandever macrumors 6502a

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    Baltimore
    #12
    Forget about Eclipse or any of the Java-based IDEs. For Mac PHP/HTML/JS go with either Coda (http://www.panic.com), Espresso (http://www.macrabbit.com), or TextMate (http://www.macromates.com) -- for any SQL related stuff, grab Sequel Pro.

    After using Coda for the first time on the Mac, I could never go back to PHP work on Windows.
     
  13. C64 macrumors 65816

    C64

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    #13
    I agree. I use TextMate all day long, but sometimes I need to use a Windows PC around the office. It's hell :(
     
  14. cis4life macrumors regular

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    Apr 4, 2008
    #14
    No problem,
    Glad I could help with you with your choice
     
  15. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    Location:
    UK
    #15
    Have you ever tried Zend Studio?

    Best IDE for PHP on the market and worth every penny compared to simple text editors like Coda or TextMate.

    And please don't confuse this with the PHP plugin for Eclipse that you can get for free. Apples and pears.
     
  16. linux2mac macrumors 65816

    linux2mac

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    Location:
    "City of Lakes", MN
    #16
    I do mostly MySQL/PHP development too. I plan on having a couple of Linux flavors of VM's running Apache with VMWare Fusion3. I would have a development web server VM, a demo web server VM, and possibly a third web server VM. I usually just run one VM at at a time on my 13" MBP (2.4GHz and 4GB RAM) but I have had two running alongside OSX with no issues.

    I plan on going with the 11.6" MBA with 4GB of RAM and 128 SSD. However, I am wondering if I really need to go with the 1.6GHz processor or will 1.4GHz suffice? Thanks.

    P.S. This will be my secondary machine for working on the road or on site at a client's office for a demonstration.
     
  17. podiki macrumors member

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    Sep 8, 2008
    Location:
    Lagovouni
    #17
    I can't imagine using any Java IDE on a MacBook Air. I'm using a 2 year old C2D with 4GB and Eclipse crawls IDEA is ok, once it has loaded.....Of course I'm running Oracle Express Edition on it, but still...
     
  18. Xil3 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 4, 2007
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    London
    #18
    I agree that Java IDEs can be slow, which is why I wanted to test it first on the MBA 11.6.

    I tried to install it on one of the laptops in the Apple Store, but the rep that was working with me didn't know the password for that machine (or maybe he didn't want to let me install it).

    Or if anyone here could be nice enough to install Netbeans and let me know how it runs on the 11.6, I'd really appreciate it. :D
     

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