Best Laptops for Programmers and Tech Guides

Windows vs Mac Laptops for Development

September 12, 2018 Paul 0

Development refers to the use of computer programming languages and frameworks to create software. This can either be a mobile, web application or other utility programs used diversely in computing and management of various devices and products.

Windows Operating System is a type of Operating System developed by Microsoft Corporation to run on Personal Computers such as Laptops, Desktops, and hand-held devices such as tablets and smartphones. On the other hand Mac Laptops are Apple products that use Apple’s own signature operating system called Mac OS, which was derived from Unix operating system. Mac OS is the most known operating system for Apple’s Computer Macintosh line of Personal Computers and workstations. It is the second most used operating system after Windows today.

Windows Operating System for development

From the initial Microsoft Operating System i.e. MS-DOS(1981) developed by IBM through windows 1.0 (1985) until the recent most commonly used Windows 10 which was released in September 2014, Windows has been used over time in software development. Being the most spread Operating system, it has been used to create various environments for running frameworks such as Visual Basic Studio and Eclipse for java that used for development for many years.

Advantages of using windows

The most obvious advantage of using Windows is the fact that it is easy and cheap to obtain despite the recurring fees. Additionally, due to widespread use of windows Operating system and application software, becoming familiar and even understanding its use is much easier than other Operating System. The importance of compatibility in development cannot be gainsaid in the context of application development. The widespread use of windows makes the frameworks and IDEs used readily available in many places. This reduces compatibility issues that may arise. Most companies usually prefer windows products since window based programmers are readily available than Linux and Mac OS based developers who may be quite expensive to hire.There’s also quite a lot of support for windows Operating system and related applications and development framework.

Disadvantages of using windows

When compared with free based Operating System like Linux, windows is quite expensive. Most of the windows based application software are licensed and charged highly. The security for Windows is also quite low since it’s prone to attacks by malware such as viruses. Experienced users of windows have noted that it requires periodic rebooting because the system is prone to hang up.

Mac OS for development

Mac OS is a UNIX based Operating System that was first developed in March 2001. It has since metamorphosed from the initial version 10.0 that was called Cheetah through several releases until the current version 10.13 (High Sierra) that was released in September 2017.

Advantages of using Mac OS

Using Mac OS is easier for non-technical users. It is also known to be more secure than windows because of its UNIX base. To add to that Mac OS is quite stable as compared to windows due to Apple’s tighter control over the configuration options and its UNIX base. A look into the security status of Mac OS reveals that there’s almost no spyware or virus applications experienced.

Disadvantages of using Mac OS

Apple products such their devices and software Mac OS and related applications are more expensive as compared to others. The argument is that this is offset by less maintenance required over the life of the system. The cost of maintaining Apple machines is also quite challenging because of Apple’s less support. One may have to go to Apple for hardware problems. There are very few choices on hardware compared to other operating systems. Actually it’s very difficult to find a different hardware platform that is compatible with Mac OS. This may not be a problem for an average user since all common hardware types will work. Mac OS is known to be more complex than most operating systems due to its UNIX base.

Comparison of Windows and Mac laptop in development

Windows Laptop PCs are manufactured and distributed by hundreds of manufacturers and distributed by thousand of dealers, wholesalers and retails across the world. On the other hand, Macs are developed and distributed by Apple Incorporation.

Personal Computers are compatible with other Operating System platforms Linux, Solaris, FreesBSD etc. Macs are strictly Unix oriented i.eBSD>Darwin>Mac OS. Mac laptop supports only Intel processors which are expensive. Windows based laptops support both Intel and AMD processors.

Mac Laptops which are a product Apple have well-controlled hardware and software bundles and model updates. This ensures that every Mac operates smoothly without lagging, incompatibility, and have stable and expected performance. With diverse Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and custom built PCs might not have the suitable drivers released for each components in each Operating System Version therefore incompatibility and lagging may occur. Sometimes it may not each the expected performance.

Repairs, maintenance and upgrades for both Mac machines and Windows PCs can be performed by anyone who is knowledgeable. Despite the high cost, the battery life for Mac Laptop such as MacBook Air or MacBook Pro is awesome. It usually lasts for an average of 7 to 8 hours of use.

This is quite advantageous for a developer who ordinarily needs to take longer hours on a machine due to required longer hours for concentration. On the contrary Windows based laptops have short life battery yet windows based operating systems heavily consume power. This can be quite disappointing especially during long power outages.

Conclusion

The features described above have a direct impact on the use of either Mac or Windows laptop for development. One has to concisely consider and review the above factors before making a choice on which type of laptop to use. For example, Mac performance may be better but the cost may be far beyond the reach of a developer with little cash. Such an individual may opt to go for a Windows based PC due to its cheap price.

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5 Best Laptops for Programmers on Any Budget

August 26, 2018 Paul 0

The choice of a laptop to use for programming is usually a challenging task because of the dynamics involved in programming. This is attributed to the ever-increasing variety of laptop models in the market today with different trade-offs. Most of the laptops can be used in programming but one’s productivity will improve if the machine in use is the most suited for the task to be performed.

Programming involves different types of development where various tools are required with each specialization. This simply means that there is no one-size fits all approach in the quest for purchasing a laptop to be used for programming.

Factors to consider while choosing a laptop for programming

  • Portability – Laptops vary in shapes and sizes so one needs to consider how portable he/she wants the laptop to used for development to be.
  • Screen size – Developers usually stare at the screen for very long periods while paying attention to details.
  • Processing power – the CPU of any PC usually has an influence on its performance.
  • Memory – This refers to Random Access Memory(RAM).
  • Storage type and capacity –Solid State Drive(SSD) gives significant performance improvements over standard hard drive.
  • Keyboard – A programmer heavily relies on the keyboard to work all day and therefore cannot compromise its quality.
  • Battery life – This may especially be important to a programmer who stays away from power outlets frequently or resides in an area which is prone to long power outages.
  • Operating System – The choice of desired operating system will determine the type of laptop to purchase for programming.
  • Graphics – A dedicated graphics card may not be very important for coding purposes.

 

Some of the best-known Laptops for programming in the current market are:

Dell XPS Range e.g. XPS 13, 15.

xps-13

Pros

  • Thin and light
  • Pack enough horsepower to get the job-well done
  • They accept various operating system such as Windows and Linux
  • They have integrated graphics chips
  • Has the latest Intel processor
  • Speedy storage i.e. SSD• They have Quad High Definition (QHD++) screen which have very high resolutions
  • They have fantastic keyboards which have a satisfactory 1.2mm travel distance with ideal spacing/placement.
  • Their battery is double based. The cheap model can achieve up to 18 hours while the more powerful variant can only reach 11 hours

 

Cons

  • The material that surrounds the typing area despite being classy, it does not remain attractive after using the laptop as it is a smudge-magnet. Its therefore diminishes quickly after use.
    They are expensive i.e. the cost is beyond the affordability of an ordinary user
    They also have ergonomics issues, as it can be peeve to some users for example, opening of the lid cannot be done by one hand because of it’s lightweight.
  • The brightness of it’s display is quite low despite being QHD• The touchpad is quite snappy and relatively loud rather than tactile and firm.

Asus VivoBook

Asus VivoBookPros

  • The best for people running on the tiniest budget i.e. it’s cheap
  • It’s powered by 8th Generation Intel core i5-8250U quad-core processor and an 8GB ram that supports all multitasking.
  • It is comfortable to type on and has a numpad
  • All required ports and slots are lined on the sides of the laptop thus easy to access.
  • It comes with an 8GB DDR4 RAM which is upgradable
  • The Display is 15.6 inch which is ideal for multitasking
  • The display has anti-glare, which is best suited for a programmer who takes long hours glued to the screen.
  • The UHD 620 graphics is ideal for gaming and programming

Cons

  • Not quite portable since it is 15.6 inch
  • The battery life is 5hours, which is quite low
  • It does not come with a dedicated graphics card but the UHD 620 graphics does a great job

Apple MacBook Pro 15

macbook-pro2Pros

  • Ideal for Apple Developers
  • It is powered by a kaby lake i7 quad-core processor which is quite powerful
  • It comes with a 16GB RAM which is high end for developers
  • It integrated with a powerful dedicated AMD Radeon Pro 555 graphics.
  • For storage, this laptop provides 256GB SSD, which should suffice most of the programmer’s requirements.
  • The battery life is 10 hours which well suitable for a nomad programmer

Cons

  • The display is 15.4 inch which reduces its portability
  • The hardware is only compatible with Mac OS. This limits the use of other Operating systems.
  • This device is quite expensive i.e. it costs about $2,299 on Amazon

Dell Inspiron i5577-7359BLK

This is could be the best high-performance programming laptop

Pros

  • It has ergonomic backlit keyboard
  • It has 10 hours of battery life
  • It’s ideal for game development and is one of the best laptops on the market for programming
  • It has 15.6 inch full HD LED display which is preferably good for coding and its backlit keyboard is perfect for typing and playing games.
  • It is rocking inside quad-core Intel i7 kaby lake CPU which produces throttling power from all the 4 cores to handle all your bulky programming softwares and apps pretty easily.
  • It has got 8GB of RAM which can be further expanded up to 32GB.
  • It also has hybrid 1TB HDD + 128GB SSD drive inside which is also upgradable. The SSD can be used for OS installation plus additional applications and frequently accessed vital data files while the HDD can be used to store all other files.

Cons

  • It weighs 5 pounds, which may not be ideal for frequent movement
  • It has a touchscreen variant, which is not ideal for coding
  • The UHD resolution display is not necessary for programming
  • The 4K touchscreen also eats more power resulting into poor battery life of the laptop

System76 Oryx Pro

System76 Oryx ProPros

  • System76 supplies its in-house Pop! OS Linux variant along with Canonicals’ highly-popular Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS build. This is ideal for Linux based developers
  • It comes with discrete GeForce GTX 1060 graphics chip with 6GB of dedicated memory or the heftier GTX 1070 with 8GB of dedicated memory
  • The memory is expandable up to 32GB
  • Storage is quite awesome. This can go up to 9TB but at a considerable cost
  • The Oryx Pro also offers a very nice keyboard, with some much thicker keys than you’ll find on most laptops these days.

Cons

  • This machine can be quite expensive especially with high end specifications such 64Gb of RAM and 9TB of HDD
  • The machines has very high power consumption despite the good battery life.
  • The machine is Linux oriented and therefore may not work coherently with other Operating systems

Apple MacBook Air 13

apple-macbook-air-13Pros

  • Affordable among the MacBook variants
  • It has unibody design, which weighs less than 3 pounds, which is quite portable
  • It has 13.3-inch retina display with anti-reflective coating and impressive viewing angles
  • It also has a backlit keyboard which is also best in the programming segment.
  • It outputs enough power to easily run all your programming softwares, emulators.
  • It has a fanless design, but it still manages to keep laptop always at comfortable temperatures.
  • The battery life is 12 hours which any programmers dream

Cons

  • The RAM is LPDDR3 which is rare to come by hence hindering upgradability
  • The device is MacOS oriented hence may have incompatibility issues with other operating systems
  • Despite being affordable among its variants, it is still expensive for a low income programmer
  • The 13.3 inch screen is not ideal for multitasking• Being only SSD compatible with only 128 GB capacity provides limited storage space
  • The keyboard is compact but the spacing is miniature and thus may not be ideal for comfortable for programming.

 

The above factors determine the choice for the laptop desired by a programmer.

Beginners Guide to Buying a Programming Laptop

August 21, 2018 Paul 0

choosing-a-programming-laptopBuying a laptop is a daunting process. If you are looking for the best laptop for programming you have landed in the right place. Keep an eye out on the features that you need before rushing to make the purchase. You need a laptop that will compile your codes quickly and efficiently. In other words, you need a machine that will boast of the best and latest processors.

The most expensive laptops are not always the best. The price doesn’t really reflect how well the machine will perform. There are many things that will affect the prices including the graphics card they are using, the brand, features like the touchscreen among many others. Programming laptops, however, have budget ranges for optimal performance which helps you save a few coins.

We have prepared a few considerations that will help you make the best purchase for your next programming laptop. We are however assuming that you are a web developer.

Laptop Mobility

Different laptops are available in diverse shapes as well as sizes. This will, therefore, be determined by how mobile you are. Where you don’t move around a lot, a 15” laptop would work well. They have a bigger screen that enhances your multitasking ability and will definitely have more specs.

Where you are so mobile on the other hand, 13-14” screen is not a bad one. These are much lighter to move around with and will have a longer lasting battery life.

Memory

This is one of the most important aspects that any programmer ought to seriously consider even before going to the other specs. Any programming cannot be done with a laptop less than 4GB RAM. Since you want something that will give you fast and efficient services, I would advise you go for nothing less than 8GB RAM.

There are so many upcoming electron apps that are really consuming a lot of RAM. Within no time 8 GB RAM will as well become inadequate. For a start, however, make this your minimum requirement. T consider your future development and technological advancements you can then go for a 16BG RAM.

Screen Display

One of the most important features for any programmer is the computer screen. This is the interface you will be working from. Any programming is time-consuming. You have to star at your computer screen for long hours pay the closest attention to any small detail. Any screen should, therefore, focus on giving you a comfortable reading experience.

Many laptops beings shipped today havea1366*768 screen display. For a programmer, this should not be thought of. The screen alone is enough for multitasking neither is it sharp for a comfortable reading. A 4 k display is another common display for most expensive laptops. The level of battery drain and the high cost, however, is high.
Full HD 1920*1080 display is what you ought to be having on your laptop screen. This ought to be your minimum screen requirement. This gives you great viewing angels and most of all offering you great comfort for your reading experience. (https://medium.freecodecamp.org/how-to-choose-a-laptop-for-programming-a9e36f8b4cfe)

CPU

A laptops processing power through the CPU affects its performance. This is a spec that is a must consider in any purchase. To have the best computer processor consider the cache size, number of cores, frequency and most importantly the thermal design power.

An Intel Core i5 or i7 processor having a frequency of 3GHz should bring a fantastic web developing experience.

Computer keyboard

As we are wrapping up, we can’t forget this important input device. Remember you spend your entire day banging out the keyboard. It must be of high quality. Ensure that your keys are comfortable and easy to reach. A back-light keyboard would be much better due to the option of working in a low light condition.

Operating System

This is the mind of your computer. Your operating system determines your access to so many offerings and options on the internet.

A Windows OS, for instance, has greater access to so many options and has great compatibility with other operating systems in terms of sharing and operations. A macOS, on the other hand, limits you to the MacBook options only. A Linux OS is also compatible with most hardware and in such a case it would be better to buy a laptop with the preinstalled OS to get official support.

Discrete Graphics

To facilitate you coding procedures you might need a dedicated graphics card. We can recommend a spacious SSD say, 1 TB. With the rate of this technological growth, a 256 GB is becoming more than enough. After all, you can store your relevant media and data in the cloud service. At the end of the day, however, having a TB is not a waste of money since you will still need to use the space. It also boosts the performance of your computer.

To wrap it up…

For a bigger laptop lifespan stuff it with high-end components. It might seem like you are saving a lot of money by settling for smaller SSDs and less RAM but in the long run, you might end up damaging your programming investment. Either way, speed, and performance is the main agenda.

Tips to make you a better Pascal developer

August 14, 2018 Paul 0

pascalPascal is a high-level and readable programming language. It was designed for use by beginners or as a teaching language. Pascal was meant to enable beginners to “mentally compile” in a time when computer access was extremely limited. Pascal is often preferred to other programming languages, and may be useful in solving technical problems. You don’t necessarily require to learn any other easier language to better understand Pascal. It is a stress-free programming language and gets you to understand the programming fundamentals. Pascal goes a long way to helping you learn the C programming language. It has similar structure and syntax to that of the C programming language. Delphi became Pascal’s successor language: the object oriented version of Pascal.

Below are some top pascal development tips that might help you grow as a Pascal coder and gain more knowledge about the development language.

1. Understand the basics

Pascal offers you very many options and features, sometimes developers are lured into learning too many building blocks in a very short time. As a result of this, they end up reading a lot of content, but their fundamentals hang on a loose thread. Trust me, Pascal is one development language which is easy to learn and “mentally compile” if you pay attention to the simple syntax. On the other hand, it can be annoying if you are greedy trying to take shortcuts forward.

2. Case Sensitivity

Pascal is among the few a case insensitive programming languages. Meaning you can write your object, functions and algorithm in both upper and lowercase. Like variables X_Variable, x_variable and X_VARIABLE are interpreted the same in Pascal.

This is motivation to enable beginners learn Pascal with ease and for the sake of compatibility. However, if the compiler cares about something then the same is required for the programmer. This way the compiler is able to check and return errors.

3. Avoid creating many objects

Delphi enables you create objects in Pascal, However, many objects will exhaust memory and processor speed of the system. Object creation is never complete without allocating memory to it. Therefore, it is advisable to check the object requirements, and not creating unwanted objects in the code.

4. Don’t just read

Fine, if your only reason of learning Pascal is to pass the exam you have the next day, go ahead and read through all the things that you can. Since it is easy to understand and compile lines of code in Pascal, you might just get to pass the exam. Nonetheless, if you are serious about learning Pascal and getting to use it for applications development, then the best option is not by reading, but by executing the lines of codes. Gain skills and then implement what you have studied, in the form of program. You can never learn Pascal if you are not ready to get your hands dirty.

5. Understand the program structure and algorithm

Even if you are coding a simple program having a ‘for while’ statement, as a beginner, start by drafting the code on a book. E.g:
program Test;
begin
writeln(‘Hello World’);
end
Pascal is a very readable language, but you need to understand the idea behind the code. With clear meaning of the algorithm and the entire compiler process, it becomes easy to catch common student syntax errors that other programming languages would have allowed. Even for the experienced developers, the best approach to a complex problem or write an algorithm for Pascal program is to break the program into modules, then you get to crack a solution for each function. When you start getting at least one module right, you get the confidence to writing the next one.

6. Working with strings

In Object oriented programming a string is classified as a class. Concatenating two strings in Pascal might cause the formation of a new string object, which in the end slows down the memory speed of the system. Always begin by instantiating a string object directly, and avoid using the constructor for this purpose.

7. Exercise, exercise, exercise

There is a lot to learn on Pascal! However, it is important to uphold the interest to learn and wanting to get better. Like any other language in programming, you can understand Pascal on your own, but the only thing wanted is continuous learning, and coding to execute what you have understood. Consider playing football; the more you sweat while practicing for the game, less you bleed in the match.

5 Top High-End Programming Laptops

August 9, 2018 Paul 0

Software developers spend the majority of their working hours using their laptop. Therefore, it is important that developers choose a laptop that will speed perform tasks such as compilation and running web servers smoothly. A laptop has a significant impact on the productivity of a developer.

A good developer’s laptop should have at least 8 GB of RAM and an Intel i5 or AMD Ryzen 5. If a developer’s budget allows, they should choose a laptop with a Solid State Drive (SSD) as they are much faster compared to the traditional Hard Disk Drive (HDD). However, SSDs are more expensive compared to HDDs meaning they offer less storage compared to HDDs. Developers should consider laptops that contain both a HDD and SSD. The SSD is used for installing the OS and programs while the HDD is used to store data and backups. Other crucial factors to consider are the display resolution and brightness, keyboard, track pad, battery life, weight, number of ports and graphics card. Additionally, the platform one is developing for determines their laptop. Developers creating apps for iOS must use a Mac laptop.The following list contains laptops that are suitable for developers at various price points:

xps 15

Dell XPS 15

This 15 inch laptop weighs only 3.9 pounds. The display is bright and clear with a quad HD display. Developers have the option of choosing between a touch and non-touch display. Despite its low weight the XPS 15 does not compromise on performance as it has a core i7 8th Generation Processor, 16GB RAM and a NVidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card. The keyboard is backlit with the keys having 1.5 mm of travel making typing a pleasant affair. Developers are not limited when it comes to peripherals as there is 1 USB Type C port, 2 USB 3.0 ports, an inbuilt memory card reader and a headphone jack. However, the laptop does not have a DVD or Blu-ray drive. When it comes to storage, the XPS provides an SSD available at 256 GB, 512GB and 1TB depending on the developer’s preference. The battery life for the laptop is decent giving up to 10 hours battery life for normal usage.

 

macbook-proMacBook Pro MPTR2LL

This 15 inch Apple laptop is powered by a KabyLake i7 processor and a Radeon Pro 555 GPU with 2GB of graphics memory. The display crisp, clear and bright allowing developers to work outside if they want to. The Macbook Pro provides 16 GB of RAM and 256 GB of PCI-e SSD storage. Developers who transfer a lot of data will be delighted with the Thunderbolt 3 ports which support 10 GBps of data transfer speed.
Lenovo ThinkPad E570

This sturdy laptop is renowned for its speed and performance. Programmers and business professionals adore the ThinkPad E570 for its robustness and ergonomics. This ThinkPad has decent performance with 12 GB of DDR4 RAM and an Intel Core i5 processor. The display only has a resolution of 1366×768 but it uses anti-glare technology to provide clear images even under direct sunlight. Additionally, the laptop provides hybrid storage with a 1TB HDD and 128 GB SSD.

Dell-Inspiron-15-5000-5577-i5577Dell Inspiron i5577

The Inspiron i5577 is the best development laptop under $1000. The laptops display is a full HD LED display and the keyboard is backlit allowing developers to work at night. The processor is a Kaby Lake Core i7 CPU and Dell provides the laptop with 8GB of RAM, which can be expanded to 32 GB. Like the Lenovo the Inspiron i5577 is a hybrid with a 128GB SSD + 1TB hard drive. Despite packing all these features the laptop is not heavy weighing only 5 pounds. Frontend developers who do graphic design can choose the touch screen variant which has a 4K display.

ZenbookAsus Zenbook

The Zenbook is a 13 inch ultrabook with a 1920×1080 display. The whole body of the Zenbook is made using aluminum making for a very sleek and premium looking ultrabook. The Zenbook has numerous variants each offering different options. The best option has a Skylake Core i5 processor, 256 GB SSD and 8 GB RAM. The Zenbook has several connectivity ports including an inbuilt SD card reader, HDMI port, two USB 3.1 ports and one USB Type C port. This ultrabook is ideal for developers who like to work on the move as it weighs less than 4 pounds and it has a 12 hour battery life.