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Which mac best for Xcode

Posted on 2012-03-27
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Last Modified: 2016-02-10
Which Mac and hardware configuration would be best for developing a C/C++ desktop application with context level help, audio, tutorials, database queries, multiple reports, sub-reports... in other words, not a simple iphone app?

Also, I have read online that Xcode 4 is buggy and Xcode 3 is no longer available. It appears that the Mac now comes with OS X Lion. Has anyone had any experience with OS X Lion and Xcode 4? Is it a stable development environment?

Thanks you,
SilverJade
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Question by:SilverJade
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6 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:jkr
ID: 37774789
I'm currently porting SW to OS X using a MacBook with the most recent release of $WhateverTheKityIsNamedNow, and actually since Xcode just wraps gcc to some extent, this is going fine (inconsistencies with man pages and header files aside). The same code base also works fine on a PPC MacMini, so from my experience, there is no such thing as 'the best' from a developer's POV, but you should rather focus on what kind of machines you are planning to run your SW on - if you can afford to say "[beep] it, just update to the most recent OS X version", you might be well off with the newest thing that Apple has on sale, but if you want to support older versions as well, $WhateverTheKityIsNamedNow might not be the wisest decision...
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by:Aaron Tomosky
ID: 37775048
Best is really arbitrary. I think a mini is the best value for the $$. iMacs aren't bad either if you consider the price of a >1920x1200 monitor is $1200.
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satsumo earned 2000 total points
ID: 37787432
I use a Mac Mini to build iPad apps, though they are far from simple.  I can't speak for the other hardware, the Mac Mini works well enough.  It does slow down if you have too many documents open but not enough to be a problem.  I'm told that would be improved by upgrading the RAM.  In terms of value its about the best option there is for Apple development.

I can't speak for Mac development but Xcode is sometimes buggy when I'm debugging off the iPad.  You can't fix code while debugging, coming from a PC/Developer Studio background I find that frustrating but the same applies to MS Dev when remote debugging.  It crashes maybe once a month, but I've never lost any work.  It also has a very rigid idea of how you should format code.

It's actually a very good editor in many ways, you miss some of it's better features when you go back to MS Dev.  It's particularly good at managing files from inside the IDE, searching the code, version control, managing builds, checking code for leaks and other errors (a proccess it calls Analysing), making test builds and many other things.  Many of the bugs people report are just things they don't know how to setup.  It's a big change from PC development and it does take a while to get used to it.

The thing you have to ask is, are the alternatives any better?  The other IDE may look more friendly to a PC programmer, but they tend to be slower and lack many of the useful features that Xcode does have.  I looked at the other options and decided that Xcode was the better choice, despite its flaws.
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by:Aaron Tomosky
ID: 37787630
The other "best" is the fastest one damn the price. This would be a macpro as it has dual quad core xeon CPUs. You can put all the ram you want and adding an ssd will make it the fastest Mac available. But this will set you back $3k plus a monitor.
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by:satsumo
ID: 37787939
By far the worst thing about developing for the App Store is the whole licensing/certificates/keys debacle.  Microsoft will find a reliable way to do it which involves taking logical steps.  The Apple approach is -

"Follow this simple twenty stage process involving a variety of websites, programs, passwords, licenses, keys, certificates, downloads and uploads.  If it doesn't work delete everything and do it all again.  You won't get an explanation of what went wrong so you can make the same mistake many times.  Apple, it just works (except when it just doesnt)".
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Author Comment

by:SilverJade
ID: 37791437
The software I will be converting for the Mac is large and complicated. It will be a commercial product, and as such, it must work perfectly every time under many different conditions, or when a bug does pop up, I will have to be able to fix it quickly or else the company that is hiring me to do the conversion will be very unhappy.

If I sound naive, I am not. I have successfully faced this type of challenge many times on both PC and Mac OSs. However, the development software I used before is no longer available, and if Xcode is buggy in a way where a work around is not possible, then I will either have to find another development platform or I will have to tell my client that the conversion is not possible at this time.

Is Xcode truly capable of producing commercial-ready applications? I am also considering Qt, but I have also heard negative comments regarding its IDE and lack of support.

If anyone has had experience creating commercial applications with Xcode or Qt, I would appreciate your opinion on whichever software you used.

Thank you.
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