Or How the Surface Pro Became My Main Machine
I've been using my Surface Pro for a while now, and while I wasn't expecting it to it has become my main development machine. I thought that it was going to be small, and in truth it is, but if you need to you can always connect it to an external monitor so size wasn't as big of an issue as I had first imagined.
Technically speaking the Surface wasn't really a down grade from my machine (my desktop did everything I needed and more, even though it was older), aside from the 4GB RAM limitation (my old desktop had 8GB), it is a pretty much comparable machine. And I have replaced my previous dev machine on the go, my Macbook Air 11" with it.
And I know that people say that they "develope" but really just means that they use it to write some simple scripts. I will give you a sense of what I'm using it for:
- PHP/HTML/JS/CSS development in Sublime Text
- Visual Studio
- Server management in Powershell and cygwin
Overall, I'm super happy I got the Surface Pro, even though I didn't think that that would ever be something I would say.
And it might be partially because I didn't reallize how much I was not actually using. And if I had the chance to add to it I couldn't think of anything. Since I don't ever feel like it's lacking, and in fact I am gaining more from it since it also has the convenience of being a tablet when not being used for serious work.
As I said I ditched my Macbook Air 11", and it gets more use than my Macbook Pro 13" even though I have set it up to dual booting Mountain Lion and Windows 8.
One benefit I had not really anticipated when I bought the Surface was the remote debugging in Visual Studio. What a great feautre that has turned out to be.
Since I have the chane to hook it up to a monitor I get the added benefit of working on an app on the desktop which can be quickly deployed and debuged on the Surface. This also allows me to test all of the touch screen capabilities But since it goes back and forth so easily I can do the same in reverse from the Surface to the desktop and test things there as well.
It is extremely convenient and flexible. But flexibility is a thing that can get in the was, especially if you are using it on a soft surface. What I mean is that the keyboard sometimes flexes down just enough to not register a bunch of keystrokes which is a pain in the neck because you basically need to redo the last sequence and this breaks your concentration.
That said, it has so many features that have become very useful to me. And having a Surface Pro with an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse is pretty nice.
You can easily put your IDE on the big screen, and keep mail or docs up on the small screen.
And having the ability to debug a touch app on the small screen has saved me some time which has made it a great investment. Who would have known?