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10 things every Mac coder should know

Lucy Hattersley | | July 11, 2016
Macs make great machines for programmers. But here are 10 things every Mac coder should learn

The Windows vs. OS X argument isn't going to vanish any time soon, but here's the best bit: you can run both at the same time on a Mac.

Installing Windows inside OS X, in a virtual environment, is a great idea. With Windows installed you can code on a Mac, and check how your code runs on a PC. This is especially important for web designers who need to ensure that code works across platforms efficiently.

Installing Windows on your Mac is easy with software like VirtualBox or Parallels. Windows 10 is incredibly lightweight too, making it an ideal candidate for running in a virtual environment.

10 things every Mac OS X coder should know: Linux

OS X is a UNIX-based operating system, but Linux is too (albeit based on a free clone of UNIX called "GNU").

Linux is an incredibly popular operating system amongst developers, so you should ensure you have a copy of Linux running alongside OS X.

There are many different versions of Linux, known as "distributions". Most distributions are free, and like Windows you can install them inside OS X using virtualisation software.

10 things every Mac OS X coder should know: Git and GitHub

Git is a program known as a "versioning tracker". With Git installed you can start backing up versions of your programs online. You can then switch back to earlier versions of code, or create spin-off versions (known as "branches") that enable you to test out ideas. If they work you can merge them into your program; if not just drop them.

There's a site called GitHub that provides free online storage for your code (although it is shared publically; you have to pay for a private account). Both Git and GitHub are very popular names amongst the developer community. Make sure you sign up for GitHub and learn to use Git as soon as possible.

10 things every Mac OS X coder should know: Code for iOS

Apple makes OS X devices (Mac-based) and iOS devices (iPad and iPhone). You build software for iPads and iPhones on the Mac. So don't get an iPad if you want to learn to program.

The iPad Pro is a great business and educational tool, but its usefulness to programmers is extremely limited. While one program, Pythonista, enables you to create code it's hamstrung by Apple rules (you can't import and export code).

If you want to learn to program, then stick with your Apple Mac.

10 things every Mac OS X coder should know: Stack Exchange

Stack Exchange is your new best friend as a programmer. Stack Exchange is a platform for asking questions, and getting answers. There are dozens of sites in Stack Exchange, but the one you need to know most is Stack Overflow.

 

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