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Thoughts on tools - Mac OS X - Revisited

Well, if you followed my last blog post, I successfully completed a full week of development work from within Mac OS X.  I'll admit, however, that I had my weak moments.


The Good: Mac OS X is a capable developer platform.


I wrote "capable" here, as it's just not quite "there" for me.  There are too many nuances with Mac OS X compared to Windows that make it difficult to keep moving on tasks as quickly as I would from within the Windows environment.  Minor things like right-clicking (or secondary clicking) not automatically highlighting the file under the mouse pointer icon, requiring the user to first left-click (or primary click) the file and then right-click to bring up a context menu can really add up to a lot of time wasted over an entire day.  Or the fact that most FTP software for the Mac lacks keyboard-shortcuts to accomplish common tasks (such as "Download and Edit this file"). Also, although I understand the fact that requiring a user to click within an application window to make it active before it receives clicking events on any of its widgets is a somewhat safe method of preventing improper input, it really does slow me down.


All that being said, I was still able to perform [most of] my daily tasks: read and write emails, log into FTP servers, download files for editing and edit those files in the Eclipse IDE.


The Bad: Software availability is lack-luster in some respects.


Mac addicts will probably slay me for this one, but it comes down to my own experience in the Windows world that dictates my experience with SQL server management software.  I simply could not complete most of my daily requirements for managing our various SQL database servers from within Mac OS X based application software.  By day two, I was forced to boot up a virtual machine running Windows XP and utilize SQL Server Management Studio from within that virtual machine.  There was simply no way to complete my work without it.  Of course, the purists would say that our use of SQL server is the problem here and that if we switched to MySQL databases (or perhaps Oracle?) then I would have more luck in using native Mac OS X apps.  However, we are a SQL server shop, with no plans to change that, so that's where the buck stops.


The Final Score: I can't help but like it!


Maybe I just liked the change of scenery, but I actually enjoyed using Mac OS X over the past week as my development platform of choice.  It took a bit of massaging and a few small headaches to really get into it, but by day three I was humming right along, barely paying attention to how many extra clicks and keystrokes I was forced into completing to continue my work.  Mac OS X is a beautiful operating system, even if it does trade in some raw functionality to achieve that beauty.


In the end I can safely say that I will use it again.  Do any of my fellow Windows developers want to chime in on their experiences in the world of Apple?

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