Chris Gmyr
Developer, entrepreneur, drummer, biker, dog owner, husband, and proud dad. Loves Laravel and coffee

A journey of web development from PC to Mac


At the end of 2012 I found myself pretty fed up with the PC world, and jealous that so many things were so much easier on the Mac/OSX platform. Just simple tasks through the command line are harder on PC, or you would even need additional programs to run them. For example, having to run Pageant on PC just to make your SSH keys work for GitHub/BitBucket. Well, add up a lot of those annoyances, problems with synching to/from my iPhone 5, and other things I decided to make the switch.

I ended up getting:

  • 15" MacBook Pro Retina with 2.6GHz Intel Core i7, with turbo boost up to 3.6GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD
  • 27" Thunderbolt Widescreen monitor
  • Wireless Keyboard
  • Wireless Trackpad
  • Super Drive

The first thing that I initially noticed was the speed of this machine. It is nothing less than amazingly blazing fast! You click on a program and it instantly comes up, not just the "welcome" screen...the whole app. After a little while you get more used to it, but it's really evident when jump back on the PC to do something and you have to wait a few more seconds (which seems like forever).

As with all PC to Mac conversions, there were a number of programs that I had to get in order to keep my workflow as similar as I could. The last thing that I wanted to do was to learn a new OS and a bunch of new software.

PC & Mac Compatible Software:

  • NetBeans – used only when needed, a little bulky but I like their code formatting option.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud – have this installed on my PC and Mac. If you haven’t signed up for this…you need to
  • Navicat for MySQL
  • Microsoft Office – Mostly Word/Excel
  • Quickbooks – a little different on Mac, but I was able to convert most of my stuff. Just had to rebuild some reports
Type PC Mac
Version Control TortoiseHG/Git – Both easy to use, and the icon overlays were very helpful in Explorer. SourceTree (also for PC) – Such a nice interface with a lot of options. It’s also a plus that you can have your HG and GIT repos in the same place!
Diff Beyond Compare 3 – The easiest diff program that I’ve used on PC. I like how everything is easy to see and visualize the changes, matching up lines, and able to select and “move” changes from one file to another. Araxis Merge – Similar functionality to BC3, and very easy to use
FTP SmartFTP – Probably THE best ftp program out there. I love how they have multiple “workers” uploading files at the same time. With 8 workers, you can upload a massive site within minutes. Transmit – This is the best ftp program that I found for Mac. It also features workers, but they don’t work as nice as the ones in SmartFTP. It also has a lot of great additional features.
Email Outlook – I’ve always liked outlook for an all-inclusive program for mail, contacts, and calendar. Unfortunately it is buggy with iCloud (or vice versa). Also around this time I moved to Google Apps for my company email Postbox – This is a great email program for Mac, and it integrates very well with Gmail/Google Apps. However, I have been using the Gmail interface more lately.
Editor Netbeans – Used for main development & mass code formattingDreamweaver – Used for simple HTML/CSS coding. I just like the available text hinting and option drop downs for CSS. Sublime Text 2 -The editor of choice by most (if not all) Mac devs. I love the speed and simplicity of this in addition to the multiple cursor option. This has already saved my tons of development timeDreamweaver – Same description as PC column
Run Windows VMware Fusion – There are a few apps that I need to run through windows. This program makes it super easy to do without having to fire up the old PC.

How about you, have you made the switch from PC to Mac recently? What other tools/programs do you use?