Under The Microscope

Re: Comparing Mac and PC development

Code IconsArs Technica’s Infinite Loop has a post summarizing Phanfare’s comparison between Mac and Windows development. The end asks for opinions on the matter, so I thought I’d share.While we’d love to give a point-by-point breakdown like the original article, we actually aren’t in a good position to give one, despite having just released a Windows version of Airfoil, formerly a Mac-only application. When we began discussing Airfoil for Windows, we decided that instead of attempting to retool our Mac coders we’d be better served bringing in professional Windows coders to do the port. We really don’t have anyone here that has done professional work on both platforms.However, the original Phanfare article does seems to be suffering from environment shock. They had switched from coding in Visual Studio to coding in Xcode, and no matter if Xcode was better or worse, they were going to long for the environment to which they had grown accustomed. We certainly went through the same thing when we switched away from CodeWarrior, and it took years to stop seeing the bad about Xcode and start seeing the things that it really did do better.That said, what we are really talking about here is development cost. Which is cheaper to develop on – Mac OS X or Windows? The answer is a rather boring “it depends”. For Phanfare’s web-service style application, the answer is clearly Windows, as that was a big focus of .NET. For us, Mac OS X comes out slightly ahead because of things like the audio encoders inside of CoreAudio.But development cost is still just one part of the picture: Profit = Sales – Costs. If your Mac OS X development costs are (somehow) twice that of Windows, but your sales are (sometimes) four times as high, you still come out a winner at the end. No matter how good or bad Xcode/Cocoa is, it would be the height of foolishness to refuse to develop for OS X based on nothing else.

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