This week I had to sit down and take care of my tax filing for the year and one of the things that I put down is my computer. I sit in front of computers all day long, that at this point, they are like my car. I hardly can see myself living without one. But what I really started thinking about was what would be the best computer for web design, since WebKeyDesign is now a huge part of my life.
MacOS Versus Windows
Without a doubt I am a huge Macintosh proponent. I absolutely love my 15 inch Powerbook and think it is the best computer I have ever used. However not everyone is the same and not everyone wants to make such a big investment. If you are really serious about web design, I am going to recommend that you have both a Macintosh and a Windows PC. If you can swing it, you might also consider a home test server with Linux + Apache + MySQL + PHP setup. The linux server will be great to test out new projects before you actually implement them on your hosting server.
For most web design, if you absolutely are going to have one computer, I would recommend a Macintosh. The Powerbook or iBook will give you portability and the ability to do graphics work as well. If most of your web design is code based though, like PHP, Perl, or any other scripting language, I would probably choose a standard PC laptop like a Leveno Thinkpad. Although there are great text editors on the OS X platform, your options on Windows are more and more varied. Portability aside, you could probably do well with a nice desktop. Whatever you decide, make sure your main computer has a large monitor size. Something higher than 1024 is a must for today’s web work.
A Windows PC is what I use to check sites once they are up and running. Even though by now IE 6 is the most hated browser, you still need to check your site on it. There are tons of small utilities that are available on Windows that you can use for web design and maintenance. Yes, I know many of these apps really are bad, but sometimes you find a few that are worth using Windows for.
The Portable Web Server
MacOS X has Apache server already included, but you may find that messing up your main computer is not worth the trouble. If you already have the Windows computer, then you can also use that to run a test setup of Apache. My personal favorite is EasyPHP, which runs as a private server on Windows, only accessible to the local machine user. This is a great way of testing your site’s files before uploading them to your hosting account. If you have a third machine, you could probably run full blown Linux with Apache and have your own web server for testing.