What have I done? Pigs are flying… There’s a snowball fight in hell… The impossible has just happened – I just bought a MacBook Air.
Those of you who know my technology biases know what a gut wrenching thing this is for me. I am a PC guy through and through. Microsoft stuff all the way.
What changed? I see a HUGE opportunity to write cross-platform mobile applications – either my own ideas or for companies who need to have their own app. By and large, this is currently done by hiring iPhone developers to build an iPhone app, then hiring Android developers to port the iOS app to Android. Two code bases. Twice as many problems. It’s a nightmare. Now, when you consider Windows Phone as an up and comer (see – I’m still biased toward Microsoft), companies are faced with the scary notion of having to hire ANOTHER team to build their Windows phone app. Another code base. Another set of problems.
The thing is, when mobile developers are surveyed, the most positive responses about working with the platform come from Windows Phone developers. Say what you will about Microsoft’s operating system or their mobile devices, Microsoft provides the best developer tools in the business – it’s not even close. So developers LIKE to develop in Visual Studio (Microsoft’s development studio), but they can’t write apps for the two leading platforms – iOS and Android. Or can they???
Enter a framework call Xamarin (www.xamarin.com). This is framework that allow you to write mobile apps with C# (a Microsoft language) in Visual Studio, and SHARE almost all the code between all three mobile platforms. I say almost because you still have to have some platform-specific code to make things look right on each device – but if you plan things carefully, that can be minimized. As much as 95% of the code can be shared. One code base – three platforms. Cool.
One catch – Apple mandates that apps written for iOS MUST be compiled on an Apple computer. They’re the only platform that requires this. So, in order to target the iPhone, I need to have a mac. This is why I still dislike Apple – despite the fact that I just bought a laptop from them.
I also needed a smaller laptop form factor machine for when I present at tech conferences, etc… so it just sort of made sense to kill two birds with one stone. I plan on running Windows on this mac most of the time – so I’m still allowed to carry my Microsoft Fan Boy card with me. And hey – being a new business owner, I’m able to write this purchase off as a business expense!
I still feel a bit ill though. I swore I would never do this.