Workflow: Mac vs Windows

Mac vs Windows Everyone knows the value of improving your workflow. Well it turns out I work a whole lot faster on a Mac, both in web development and web design. I think the OSX developers must have thought a great deal about workflow, because Mac has a lot of great features: from much more drag-and-drop integration between programs than windows, to little things like the mouse command to fly out all windows or show the desktop (this saves me so much time). But workflow on a Mac goes much deeper than these features.

Web development is great on a Mac, since the programs you need for coding run very quickly and the terminal is really handy for doing lots of things, its really easy to move between the terminal and the finder/other programs. Also since the terminal is Shell based, its useful for practicing your Apache server modification skills. There are certain things Windows does better, for example the Mac version of Excel is really impossible to use, it takes literally twice as long for me to use. Also Windows is much better in terms of FTP clients. I really like Filezilla, and it is only available on Mac if you’re running Leopard. I’m now using Transmit on Mac and its much better than the awful Cyberduck, but still no where near as good as Filezilla.

I think it comes down to a difference in mouse based versus keyboard based control. When I first was on the Mac of course I hated it because all the keyboard shortcuts were different. Now that I’ve learned them all, I don’t think they’re nearly as good as windows in terms of tabbing between items. They are however better for scrolling between windows.

Mac is a more visual environment and uses a lot of mouse actions to make things “user friendly”. I normally hate user-friendly and find that it actually impedes workflow. But not in this case. Mac’s mouse commands, mainly the windows flyout where you can select any window visually, combined with ordinary keystrokes (e.g. command-tab) and unique Mac keystrokes (command-tilda) make for an optimized window selection environment. Add to this a dramatically increased ability to drag and drop items from program to program, and you have a very optimized workflow. You can even drag things into the terminal! I can’t express how useful this is, mainly for directories.

Web design is great on Mac as well. It’s a known fact that Macs runs PhotoShop CS3 (and CS2) faster than comparable Windows machines. Also the window flyout and drag and drop is extremely useful for integrating programs and many pieces of artwork.

To summarize, workflow on Mac is way better for both web design and development. I’m going to start moving projects over to the Mac, and when I think about getting a new desktop, I think it will have to be an iMac (the huge screens are awesome but I hate how with Mac I can’t build it myself)

Jon Raasch

Jon Raasch is a UX nerd and free-lance web designer / developer who loves jQuery, Javascript & CSS.

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2 Comments to “Workflow: Mac vs Windows”

  1. Mac have also great FTP clients. I use MacFusion/ExpanDrive (MacFusion is free, ExpanDrive is paying), and muCommander.

    muCommander is like Total Commander in windows.

  2. Jon Raasch says:

    Yeah I like Mac FTP clients too, but I’m partial to the paid Transmit, at $30.

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