Develop on Windows or Mac?

Ray Bennett smilingeyes at
Tue Nov 4 21:43:34 EST 2003

Hi Paul.  I'm sure you'll get lots of opinions on this one.

I've lived on Macs and Unix boxes for years and years.  We've 
developed, over the past year, a product that is cross platform - 
meaning that it has a market that requires Mac and PC support.  Alas, 
the Mac will likely account for less than 10% of our shipments.

I developed for the first several months on a Mac (Powerbook G3/400 
with a second head).  What I've found to be true is this:
* Nearly everything you develop on the Mac that looks pretty darned 
nice will disappoint you when viewed on Windows  (even if you used the 
Windows emulator to preview things).  Windows only has a few good fonts 
on the screen, and then only at hi-res.  The disconnect between what 
you see and what you print is impossible to understand until you 
experience it.  We Mac weenies just got way to used to getting what we 
* Some VERY critical functionality is NOT well-behaved on Windows.  
Specifically, you can't rely on memory management to work the way you'd 
expect.   The inability of Windows (or the rev engine on windows) to 
perform garbage collection of what has been paged and or swapped will, 
when you least expect it, crash your built application (and 
occasionally even the IDE) hard.  If you've developed exclusively on a 
Mac, you're not nearly as likely to experience these crashes (I went 
happily along for 4 months without ever seeing a crash - I went 20 
minutes on a PC before I crashed).   If you spend your development time 
on the Windows machine, you develop a better sense of where the trouble 
spots are and know to either plan on finding a work around, or thinking 
differently about how you design something.   (aside:  from my 
experience, the trouble spots are printing, cloning, rapidly changing 
cards or rapidly growing stacks)
* Because Mac interfaces "intuit" so much better than PCs (again, this 
is opinion), you can mistakenly develop a metaphor that is not familiar 
or intuitive to PC users.   If you're developing on the Windows 
machine, you tend to understand why the user of your application may 
just say "huh?".   This refers, especially, to clicking close boxes and 
positioning Cancels and OKs and Applys
* Printing - how its set up, how its presented, and how it actually 
works, has a lot of Jekyll and Hyde in it.  It is clearly one of those 
areas that justifies the use of what the Revolution team calls a 

I could go on, but I guess I said all of that to say this:
I think you should spend most of your _development_ time on the 
platform on which your users will spend most of their _using_ time.

Otherwise, you have a separation from their experience which doesn't 
help you or them.   And touching up interfaces you developed on a PC to 
look good (they always work) on a Mac is much easier than the converse.

God bless Apple.  Long live the Revolution.


On Tuesday, November 4, 2003, at 07:51 PM, Paul Stary wrote:

> I have used Mac since 1984, but have developed some reasonable PC 
> skills in the last 10 years. I still work on Mac for personal 
> productivity, but find myself moving lots of my engineering stuff to 
> PC just because that's the world view.
> Since I am soon to have both a G4 1.25 GHz. (Dual Boot) w/1.5 GB RAM 
> running OS 9.2.2 and a Pentium 4 2.66 GHz, 533 FSB, 1 GB RAM XP 
> machines available to me for a massive Revolution development project, 
> which one should I develop on?
> For instance, is Rev 2.1 any more or less stable on Mac or Windows? 
> Are features more or less accessible on one platform vs. the other? 
> Which will machine will run Revolution faster? (I'm guessing the PC as 
> much as it pains me to say)
> The project will ultimately run on Windows, so isn't there an 
> advantage in developing on a Windows machine?
> Any input will be greatly appreciated, as I don't want to spend the 
> extra money for Enterprise for the option when I wind up never running 
> the development environment on both machines. Does it make sense to 
> consider buying both Mac and Windows versions of Studio ($598) vs. the 
> $999 Enterprise if I never plan to develop on other OS's?
> Thanks.
> -- 
> Paul Stary
> Audio-Video Engineering
> Voice Mail: (949) 646-8877
> Fax: (949) 515-3640
> _______________________________________________
> use-revolution mailing list
> use-revolution at

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