My Local Environment Timeline

The dust has more or less settled now in terms of the tools I use to develop for the web, at least on my own personal machine. I’m rocking a mid-2012 MacBook Pro, and while it’s starting to show its age it still powers through thanks to some software options available. I wouldn’t say it’s a compromise by any stretch, and sure it would be nice to have that extra oomphf every now and then, but it’s not a limiting factor for my personal work.

# OS and Hardware

I’ve used Windows since I was a young lad, starting with Windows 98SE on a Compaq Presario. I remember playing a lot of Critical Mass on it, and the sound of firing a missle still rings pretty clear in my mind. Seriously, it’s a great game. I stuck with Windows from then through college and my first developer job. During my first job I had a bit of developer envy seeing all the tools available on Mac, and the power of the terminal. A lot of StackOverflow responses referred to the terminal, and I got more of a taste for it when I installed Ubuntu on my old laptop. Some hardware didn’t work correctly with it so I abandoned my attempt at switching OS after a couple of months. Eventually I saved up enough to buy a MacBook, and after a period of adjustment I was rm rf-ing with wreckless abandon. Every developer job I’ve had since has been almost entirely Mac-based outside of some time on Windows for cross-browser testing. That’s not to say I wouldn’t switch back; MacBooks are damn expensive, and when I end up having to shell out for a new machine in the future I might go that route.

# Software

College was mostly Netbeans and Eclipse for Java development, and Notepad++ for HTML, CSS and JavaScript. It was in college when I started using Sublime Text and the LAMP stack using tools like XAMPP. I stuck with this setup for years, only swapping XAMPP for MAMP on the Mac. When Atom hit the scene, I immediately switched. A massive community came from seemingly nowhere creating countless plugins. This was a refreshing contrast to Sublime Text which was starting to wane in terms of updates and communication from the developer. I stuck with Atom for a couple of years, before finally returning to Sublime Text due to performance issues. I could run Atom, Chrome and MAMP concurrently, but not much else.

It was during this time I switched to Laravel Valet and Sequel Pro, and it really gave my machine some breathing room by sparing some resources that were otherwise consumed by MAMP. I still had MAMP on hand for legacy projects that needed Apache and older versions of PHP, but those were slowly updated or phased out.

Later on, Visual Studio Code was starting to make waves, and I was distracted once again. For the most part, it was a really great experience, especially for larger JavaScript projects, but again I was eventually hitting performance issues with a rogue process hogging all my CPU power. After a few months, I once again switched back to Sublime Text.

# The Dust Has Settled

For now, at least, it has. I feel much more confident in where I’m at compared to previous setups. In the past while, it’s the code editor that was always the one being swapped in and out; I always felt like I was trialing something knowing I could come back to Sublime Text. I’m just as productive as I was (if not more so as I’m spending less time dealing with performance issues), and I don’t feel like I’m missing out using Sublime Text, Laravel Valet, and Sequel Pro.