So, I’ve had my MacBook Pro for a little more than two weeks and I thought I’d share my experiences using it for Flash development. The release of the BootCamp beta was my primary reason for switching and funny enough, I’ve only used it three times. The first time was for installing XP, CVS, Flash and FlashDevelop on it and the two other times was for playing C&C Generals. The second time, the whole machine froze and I had to reboot. A little discuraging, but BootCamp is after all in Beta so I guess I’ll blame it on that. Paralells proved to be the solution for Flash development.
I first installed Paralells RC2. Paralells lets you run Windows XP in a window (or fullscreen) on the OSX desktop. I was really unhappy with the perfomance. The mouse movement was sluggish and I had to send files back and forth via email, but I read that there was an option to install something called Paralells Tools. Installing it seemed pretty straightforward. One starts up the Virtual XP installation and select “Install” from the Paralells menu. Bummer! That was the second time my MacBook got a severe hardware hang. I lost the whole XP partition and at least 4 hours installing software. I posted my problem on the support forums, but got no reply. There was no way I could restore what was there…
Luckily I use CVS, so I only lost about an hour of work or so. A few days later, RC3 of Paralells was released so I gave it another shot. I was amazed! This time the “Tools” installed without any trouble and after installing all my software again, I was up and running. Since then, Paralells has performed flawlessly. Funny note I have no idea why the Paralells Tools are not installed by default, for they totally change how you perceive the software. Now I switch between fullscreen XP and OSX by pressing the Apple key and Tab. It’s totally smooth. I have set up the folders where I have my client files as shared folders so I have full access to them from inside Paralells. FlashDevelop runs perfectly and for the moment I use 30-day trial versions of both Flash and Dreamweaver while I try to figure out where I put my original Macromedia Studio CD.
FlashDevelop runs perfectly on Paralells but a native solution would of course have been better and there is some hope. I posted a wish in the FD forums and Nick, one of the admins wrote “I just switched to mac as well, FD works great in Parallels but I’m definitely giving some more thought now to a native solution.” Sounds promising!
What took the most time to get used to was actually the Macintosh keyboard. It’s very different from my Toshiba and I think I kept hitting the wrong keys for about one week. I get it right most of the time now, but since Parallels use the PC keys for things such as copying and pasting and OSX use the Apple-key I have some typos still. Wish they’d add a key-remapping feature. That’d solve my troubles. I haven’t installed any of the geeky stuff yet and I probably won’t. I’ll keep this as my “work” machine and play games on the PC until BootCamp is released.
I’ve had a lot of wow-moments using the Mac in general, and very few “downs”. So many things are solved in other way than on a Windows PC and most of these are just so much better. The other day, I needed an Apache server for some testing. I opened the control panel and clicked the start button. Apache comes with every OSX install but is disabled as default. It’s so true as they say - it just works! So - my recommendaton is that if you’re a FlashDev, there’s few problems switching to a MacBook. I wouldn’t switch back for anything. Now all I need is a Universal version of Flex 2 for OSX…