MacBook Pro for PHP Programming

If you’re new to programming PHP and pondering whether a MacBook Pro is the right investment, you’re in the right place. With the abundance of information available, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Take a moment, relax, and let’s explore.

Programming in PHP demands a reliable, efficient, and well-equipped platform. Among the array of available options, the MacBook Pro stands out as a preferred choice for many seasoned developers, including myself. In this blog, we’ll explore the multitude of reasons why the MacBook Pro emerges as a top-tier choice for PHP programming and why it might be the ideal companion for your coding journey.

Table of contents

  • #1 – Unix Based OS
  • #2 – Native Terminal / Shell Support
  • #3 – Safari Support
  • #4 – Windows vs. MacBook Pro
    • CRLF
    • Viruses
    • Registry
    • Bootcamp
  • #5 – Linux vs. MacBook Pro
  • #6 – The Negatives
    • The price.
    • The Apple Way
  • #7 – Final Thoughts

#1 – Unix-Based Operating System

The MacBook Pro operates on a Unix-based OS, a key aspect when it comes to PHP programming. This significance arises from the fact that most developers employ PHP on Linux-based systems like Ubuntu or Debian, which are built upon the Unix architecture. As a result, a majority of commands are uniform across these operating systems. For instance, the ‘Change Directory’ command, abbreviated as ‘cd,’ remains consistent in both Mac and various Linux flavors. Conversely, in Windows, it differs as ‘dir.’

Consider a scenario where you’re programming on a Windows machine while your website runs on a Linux-based LAMP stack. This switch between operating systems can be frustrating, leading to typing the wrong command amidst the workflow, only to realize it’s incompatible with the OS in use.

#2 – Native Terminal and Shell Support

Moreover, owing to the Unix-based system of the MacBook Pro, it inherently supports terminal and shell functionalities, which is immensely advantageous for PHP programming. This eliminates the need to master two distinct scripting languages: Windows’ batch and Linux’s shell scripting.

When constructing a website, several scripts are often necessary for site initialization or managing migrations. In this context, having the ability to perfect scripts in a single language—shell scripting—streamlines the development process. Furthermore, the presence of a package manager akin to Ubuntu’s APT and CentOS’ Yum is notable. Enter Homebrew, Mac OS X’s unofficial yet highly supported package manager.

Homebrew simplifies the installation of essential tools such as Composer, NPM, NodeJS, wget, and others that would otherwise require intricate setup processes on a Windows machine. Additionally, the ease of setting up complex systems like Docker, Vagrant, Kubernetes, and more further underscores the efficiency and compatibility of the MacBook Pro for PHP development.

#3 – Safari Accessibility

This aspect is paramount. As a web developer, comprehensive testing of your website across multiple browsers is imperative. According to StatCounter, as of November 2020, Safari boasts a global usage of 19.24%. However, here’s the catch: Apple has ceased official Safari support for Windows and has never backed Linux. This situation leaves developers with only one viable option—to own a Mac for testing Safari compatibility.

Apple’s stance on this matter might raise questions. Their discontinuation of Safari support for Windows and absence of backing for Linux perplex many developers, including myself. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below, as the reasoning behind this move remains elusive.

Yes, you can resort to downloading older Safari versions. Yet, as a responsible web developer, the goal is to test websites on a platform as close to the end-user’s environment as possible. Given that most end-users opt for automatic updates, accessing the latest Safari version for testing purposes becomes crucial.

#4 – Windows vs. MacBook Pro Comparison

Having written PHP code since the age of 14, I’ve employed Windows machines, starting from Windows 98, through XP, 7, and up to Windows 10. Steering clear of the notorious Windows Vista and Windows 8 operating systems, I must say PHP on a Windows machine isn’t inherently bad. However, it often becomes irksome, leading to unnecessary time spent resolving minor issues that shouldn’t typically arise.

One such issue unique to Windows systems is the vexing CRLF problem—referring to line endings in text files, including your code. Windows concludes each line with \crlf, while Linux and Unix end lines with \lf.

This distinction in line endings poses a substantial problem within teams utilizing different operating systems. When the code is downloaded onto a Windows machine, it automatically converts every file within the code base to utilize \crlf line endings, impacting every line in potentially thousands of files. Consequently, comparing code changes becomes an arduous task when everything appears altered due to this line ending disparity.


In contrast to Windows, MacBook Pro systems are known for their considerably lower susceptibility to viruses. Waking up to a MacBook Pro plagued with viruses is a rarity. Consequently, you won’t find the need to burden your machine with heavy virus protection software, which often leads to system slowdowns.


The Windows Registry acts as the central configuration hub for the entire operating system. However, it possesses a fundamental flaw—its open accessibility. This vulnerability enables unauthorized alterations to the system, a tactic often exploited by viruses seeking to manipulate the registry and compromise your machine’s integrity.


In a worst-case scenario where a MacBook Pro user needs access to a Windows machine, there’s Bootcamp. This feature allows Mac OS X to officially support dual-booting to Windows. Following installation, the process is straightforward: shut down the machine, then boot it up while holding the alt key. This action prompts the display of dual boot options, granting you the choice to select Windows.

#5 – Linux vs. MacBook Pro

When exclusively considering PHP programming, Linux—especially Ubuntu—is often hailed as the optimal choice. Having personally relied on Ubuntu 18.04 as my primary operating system for a year at work, I can attest to its efficacy. Its superiority largely stems from the fact that most web servers hosting PHP websites utilize Linux-based systems.

However, the MacBook Pro extends its functionality far beyond PHP programming, catering to essential business requirements. This versatility and broader spectrum of utility make it an indispensable asset in various professional environments.

Ubuntu ranks at the top of the list, especially for PHP, earning a solid 10/10 rating from me. In a PHP-focused context, Mac follows closely with a 9/10 score, while Windows lags behind with a 6/10 rating.

However, when stepping outside the realm of PHP programming, issues start cropping up, particularly with everyday tools like Skype for Business or Microsoft Word. The frustration of having to resort to a phone for a business meeting because the laptop doesn’t support Skype for Business was a recurring annoyance. Picture the embarrassment of being unable to share your screen in a crucial meeting with high-ranking executives due to software limitations.

Adobe software, particularly Photoshop, presents another significant stumbling block on Linux platforms. The absence of Adobe support can be a significant setback for web developers who heavily rely on Photoshop as an industry-standard tool for image editing. Imagine not being able to open a client-sent PSD file, leading to unnecessary complications, time wastage, client frustration, and potential loss of business.

These real-world limitations eventually led me to invest in a MacBook Pro, seeking a device that seamlessly integrates industry-standard software while excelling in PHP programming—an attempt to secure the best of both worlds in a tech-driven environment.

#6 – Drawbacks

To maintain honesty, let me highlight a few downsides of opting for a MacBook Pro.

The price is undoubtedly a shocker. Going down the path of purchasing my first MacBook Pro was a costly endeavor I anticipated. I ended up spending £2,400 ($3256 USD) for the top-tier version, the 15-inch MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar and expanded storage.

The Apple Way

This aspect embodies a love-hate relationship for me. Apple exercises meticulous control over its products, limiting customization options compared to PCs, which offer varying degrees of flexibility. However, this tight control translates into nearly flawless functionality on the MacBook Pro. You sacrifice the freedom to customize your operating system for the luxury of it working seamlessly 99% of the time.

#7 – Final Impressions

Summarizing the vast array of advantages, practical implications, and personal anecdotes that emphasize the MacBook Pro as the ultimate choice for PHP development, underscores its position as the paramount platform for developers seeking seamless, efficient, and productive coding experiences.

 Personally, I’ve developed an affinity for my MacBook Pro and wouldn’t even consider reverting to a Windows Machine. While it may have cost me in certain aspects, notably my wallet, the long-term benefits made it a worthwhile investment.

I’m genuinely interested in your experiences! What’s your preference? Windows? Mac? Linux? Share your thoughts—I’m eager to hear them.


What is PHP?

 PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor and is a server-side scripting language designed for web development. It’s used to create dynamic web pages and interacts with databases to create a wide range of web applications.

How do I install PHP on my computer?

 To install PHP on your computer, you can use pre-packaged software like XAMPP, MAMP, or WAMP, which include PHP, Apache, MySQL, and other tools needed for web development. Alternatively, you can install PHP directly from the official PHP website by following the installation instructions specific to your operating system.

What text editor or IDE should I use for PHP development?

 There are various options available for PHP development. Some popular text editors include Visual Studio Code, Sublime Text, and Atom. Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) like PHPStorm, NetBeans, and Eclipse with PDT are also commonly used by developers for PHP coding due to their advanced features and debugging capabilities.

What are the advantages of using PHP for web development?

 PHP offers several advantages for web development, including its ease of use, wide community support, compatibility with different operating systems, integration with various databases, and extensive frameworks like Laravel, Symfony, and CodeIgniter, which simplify complex tasks and speed up development.

Is PHP a suitable language for beginners?

 Yes, PHP is often recommended for beginners due to its simple and intuitive syntax, extensive documentation, and vast community support. It’s relatively easy to learn compared to other programming languages and is an excellent starting point for aspiring web developers.

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