The 12" MacBook: A Web Developer’s Perspective

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Akarin, Apr 20, 2016.

  1. Akarin macrumors 6502

    Akarin

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2011
    Location:
    Nyon, Switzerland
    #1
    I wrote a bit on Medium about my month of using the 12" MacBook as a web developer.

    Here's the conclusion:

    My opinion is that, to be the most productive, I need a lot of screen real estate. This is a problem whether I use a MacBook Pro or the new MacBook. With that in mind, I didn’t find any cons to the MacBook when comparing it to the 13" MacBook Pro. I did find a lot of pros, though: the light weight, the better battery life, the more comfortable keyboard, the silence from having no fan — these are just a few of the benefits that the MacBook has over the MacBook Pro.

    If this is going to be your only dev machine, don’t get the MacBook — the Pro is a better choice if you can only get one machine. But if this is your second computer — one to carry with you everywhere you go — then I absolutely recommend the MacBook!


    Anyone else using it for web development and having a different adivce?
     
  2. munakib macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 22, 2011
    #2
    Same boat, same job with additional requirement of photo editing and adobe illustrator use time to time - RMB fits the bill perfectly.
     
  3. Akarin thread starter macrumors 6502

    Akarin

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2011
    Location:
    Nyon, Switzerland
    #3
    After reading many negative comments regarding the rMB being "under powered", I was not keen on getting it. Now, I know that most of these negative comments are from people who never used one :)
     
  4. Idarzoid macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2013
    #4
    I like your bit on Medium, it helps with making a decision.

    I currently have a 13" MacBook Pro as my 2nd computer, I don't take it out as much as I used to, with the machine in the backpack along with few other things (papers, hard drives, chargers, etc), it gets a bit heavy and I'm not the most physical active person, so after a while it gets a bit tiring.

    All I do on my MacBook Pro is code (HTML, CSS, occasional JS and PHP), some browsing, some old games via emulators, rMB is capable of doing everything I need it to with the bonus of being a lot lighter.

    The only thing that's keeping me from buying it right now is deciding whether I need 256GB or 512GB of storage. I'm getting by with 256GB in my current machine without any problems, but doubling that capacity would allow me to store few extra things (TV shows, movies, VMs) without needing to plug in my external drive.

    Also, Core M isn't underpowered (even the Broadwell version), it's not far behind MacBook Air (and with Skylake, it's on par in some cases), and the CPU in MacBook Air is plenty fast.
     
  5. Akarin thread starter macrumors 6502

    Akarin

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2011
    Location:
    Nyon, Switzerland
    #5
    That's exactly the reason for I looked into the rMB. Not only I don't regret switching to it, I also have it all the time with me.
     
  6. izzyfanto macrumors regular

    izzyfanto

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    #6
    I enjoyed your post as well, very helpful in making a decision. I almost ordered a 2016 yesterday but held off because of price and performance. Seems to me, after reading several benchmark threads and hearing real world accounts like yours, the rMB(especially the 2016) is a very capable device.
     
  7. Steven.nevets macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #7
    Really great post! I do iOS dev full time and have a set up at work, and I think I'm going to get the new m7/256 MacBook. It's some Xcode work in my own time, but being portable and having it anywhere is really convenient. Still a bit concerned about performance using large storyboards or if I decide to dabble in Unity, but I feel like that's worth it. Excited to try it out!
     
  8. Akarin thread starter macrumors 6502

    Akarin

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2011
    Location:
    Nyon, Switzerland
    #8
    I'd would be cautious using it with a language that needs to be compiled. If you have any way to try it before with one of your projects, that would be better.
     
  9. Steven.nevets macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #9
    Yeah, I'm hoping to get in to a store soon and try it out, ideally build and run this https://github.com/ashfurrow/xcode-hardware-performance to see how it stacks up and feels.
     
  10. David58117 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    #10
    I'm starting a CS degree, and bought a 12" to take to class (although I have a 15" as well).

    I've been working through some books on C++ for awhile as well, and have Xcode and Sublime Text both installed.

    Sublime Text + compiling with g++ is very smooth, but I have had slight lag with Xcode.
     
  11. viperGTS macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    #11
    I'm glad you mentioned this, since my planned uses for one of these would be very similar. Do you use Xcode by any chance?
     
  12. MrX8503 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #12
    Thank you for the write up. I'm a web developer with a similar workflow. I think the rMB is almost the perfect web developer's machine based on your points.

    The only thing that's holding me back from purchasing one is it's lack of 4k @ 60hz support. I work on dual 27" screens and would like to move to a single 4k 40" monitor. You hear a lot about gamers gaming on 4k TVs, but rarely ever about web development. 4k 40" is screen real estate paradise for any developer.
     
  13. Idarzoid macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2013
    #13
    Nah, I use Atom, along with MAMP, various browsers and Windows VMs (for IE/Edge for testing)
     
  14. spesifikbrush macrumors regular

    spesifikbrush

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    #14
    Is there anyone who uses rMB for Photoshop/any painting app? If I ever get one, I'll probably get the base model because of the price. I'll plug my Wacom Intuos tablet and draw with it. I'll also start studying software engineering next year, though I'm not going to ask this because coding seems fine according to other commens. But will it be enough for painting in Photoshop with 2k canvases? There's Surface Pro 4 with m3 too, it doesn't seem to lag, but I don't know anything about macOS.
     
  15. recoil80 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2014
    #15
    I'm an iOS developer and the screen real estate is really important to me, even when I use the inspector for HTML.
    I have a 27'' iMac at office, and a 23'' display connected to my 11'' MBA at home.
    It would be a nightmare for me to develop on a 12 or 13'' display, that's why I need an external display.
    I think the 12'' Macbook would be ok for xcode and for HTML as far as cpu power is concerned, but there is only one port and I really need the display so either I'd buy an adapter for power and display or I'd buy a rMBP with HDMI.
    A 14'' Macbook with a couple of ports would tempt me, since I'd be able to do something on the go without the external display. The 15'' rMBP is way too expensive, and I'd still connect it to an external display so it is a no go.
     
  16. huythanhv2 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2010
    #16
    I tried using rMB for web dev for a few weeks and agreed with the statement on medium. It's great as a portable tool, but you'll need some power station computer somewhere when you need it.

    It's noticeable slower (compares to a Macbook Pro) if you run vagrant/VM which I do.

    Also the lack of support for display port to get 1440p is already putting me off. Although you can get this resolution and above if your monitor supports HDMI 1.4.
     
  17. iamsen47 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2012
    Location:
    Kobe, Japan
    #17
    Thanks for the article on Medium. That was a nice read and helped clear some of my thoughts. I'll probably be splurging on a new new macbook sometime soon.

    I use an 11" MBA as my main machine for web development. Code compilation is a little bit slower compared to an MBP, but not enough to be any trouble. I don't use an external monitor, preferring to stay focused on a single screen. If anything, the MBA's non-retina screen is my biggest complaint and is the sole factor in me wanting the rMB.

    Ports aren't a concern. I honestly do not remember when I last used my USB ports for anything.

    My battery doesn't last that long, about 6 hours? But that's probably because I have 2 docker containers each running a Scala Akka/Play web server and gulp/webpack based front end. Not to mention the usual tools like sourcetree, sequel pro and browsers and chats.

    So.

    Performance? Not an issue.
    Ports? Not an issue.
    Retina display? Yes, please!
     
  18. Hog Milanese macrumors regular

    Hog Milanese

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    #18
    Thanks for the writeup. I think my only concern about one is the display format. Retina is great, but the ratio is pretty small — even smaller than my 13" rMBP, which already cuts off the edges of a lot of websites, etc.
     
  19. alex2792 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009
    #19
    The claim of MacBook having better battery life than the Pro seems a little dubious. All of the reviews I've read indicate that the MacBook gets around 7hrs while the Pro usually goes for 9-10 due to a bigger battery.
     
  20. kis macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #20
    I owned two and yes, my opinion is that it's underpowererd and the keyboard sucks. That's just my personal view after using the second one for about half a year
     
  21. kis macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #21
    I routinely got 9 hours (average lenght of my work days, mainly MS Office work) out of the 1st gen model. Which was about the same as on the 13" rMBP I previously had.
     
  22. MrEcted macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2011
    #22

    I'm looking at going from the 15 to the 12. If you could only have one, which would it be?
     
  23. kis macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #23
    13" rMBP - no question. I doubt many people will be happy with just a 12" Macbook
     
  24. charlieegan3 macrumors 68020

    charlieegan3

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Location:
    U.K
    #24
    Might want to try out dlite https://github.com/nlf/dlite (if you're not already). I found that helped somewhat (on a rMBP but yeah).

    I'm considering a 2016 Macbook as my next machine. This thread (and medium post) as been helpful. If anyone has any further comments on VMs and docker I'd be interested to hear them.
     
  25. darkmaxdevil macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2011
    Location:
    Bangkok, Thailand
    #25
    I also made this decision a year ago. It was one of the best decision I have ever take.

    I am a full time Node.js Developer. My running apps are a few tabs of terminal, docker, postico, postgres server, redis server, ~8 tabs of safari with one tab playing youtube playlist, two windows of atom, slack, mail, calendar, tunnelblick. Also connect with Dell U2515h running at 2506x1440 with internal display running at 1680x1050. The Macbook seem to run just fine and work well for the past year. Looking into Swift (perfect) or Go or Ruby (rail), I think the Macbook will run fine anyway.

    My Macbook is the CTO 1.3GHz with 512GB SSD. My previous machine was a Macbook Pro retina 15 mid 2013 top spec.

    Pros:
    It can be everywhere with you.
    Powerful enough for most task.
    Keyboard (I love the new keyboard)
    Fit in my cross body bag beautifully.
    Dead quiet.
    Good screen.
    One port (you need to plug and unplug only one time vs multiple times on the macbook pro)
    So light you have to double check your bag for it

    Cons:
    Without proper cooling, it can get hot really fast. (I have mine sit where the cold air from air condition fall)
    Rubbish webcam (try doing conference that you have to draw something quick in paper and share with the other)
    Battery life (not really lasting a day for 2015 model)

    Thinking about getting the 2016 m7 model. But might as well wait for the next model. 20% gain doesn't notice much anyway in what I am doing. But an hour more of battery life is appealing.
     

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