7 Replies Latest reply: Jul 29, 2007 6:15 PM by cacruden
m0thr4 Level 1 (100 points)
I'm just about to start with a very small new company developing J2EE apps. They're going to buy me a laptop and I was wondering what the minimum Macbook would do the job, as I think they were probably expecting to supply me with a non-Apple Laptop.

I'll be running Eclispse IDE with JBoss + Tomcat for running local Junit tests. I want a Mac because I prefer to do my Java development on Unix and OS X gives me the best balance between OS stability and a nice, solid desktop environment. Also, all my computers at home are Macs and I want to be able to use iChat from the office to chat to my son before he goes to bed when I'm working late.

This laptop particularly needs to be able to connect to an external screen and run in dual screen mode (very handy for running Eclipse). Will the little 13" MacBook do this, or do I absolutely need a MacBook Pro? If so, will the bottom end MacBook Pro suffice?

iMac G5, Intel Mac Mini, G4 Powerbook, Mac OS X (10.4.8)
  • edvax Level 1 (0 points)
    I am in the same boat. I was considering either the Dell M-90 or the new Apple Santa Rosa based laptops. I went with the Apple - 17", 2.4 GHz, 160 GB 7200 RPM disk drive, probably bump up the RAM to 4 GB. However, the kernel panics that people are reporting on these forums are not encouraging.

    I bought parallels too so I can run windows as the same time (or use Apple's bootcamp).

    A lot of the J2EE App Servers do not run on Mac OS X - WebSphere, WebLogic. However, Sun's GlasFish does. Tomcat does.

    I personally don't use Eclipse, I stick with XEmacs

    I will put Oracle on this laptop too. I prefer to run the whole development sandbox on one machine.

    My recommendation for you is to get the fastest hardware - CPU, RAM, disk drive. You are obviously not going to get the performance of a 4 GB/sec fibrechannel SAS RAID array out of this thing, but the 7200 RPM drive should help.

    You may also want to try an external eSATA setup or FireWire 800 setup.

    I think most folks use these high end laptops for video production. Our tools - Oracle, app server, web server - puts an even greater strain on the system resources than the video streams. Oracle will eat whatever resources you have and demand more. WebSphere (even though it doesn't run native on OS X) is a slow POS. Looks like JBoss is platform independent (dunno if it runs on OS X).

    Good luck and let me know what you find out.
  • cacruden Level 1 (20 points)
    I am waiting for three things to complete my full configuration:
    vmware fusion (august) - my guess is that the released version will be more stable than parallels (too many complaints about stability of parallels).
    Oracle 11g (TBR July 11) - hopefully July 11 for OS X (Intel version) - but it could be quite a bit longer (I have set up a remote oracle server for now). Oracle halted development on 10g at the time Apple moved to Intel -- so that has got to hurt (running through Rosetta).
    Geronimo 2.0 (end of July) - It is community developed (supporting j2ee5) - and if some company does not feel comfortable with software not backed by a big name -- I can always deploy it in Websphere Community Edition (which is 90% geronimo 1.2).
  • cacruden Level 1 (20 points)
    Short answer yes, with an upgrade to 2GB, but the question is -- how cheap is this company (I contract for a very cheap company :p).

    Basically, the price difference between the top end and the bottom end is fairly insignificant when worked into the equation of salary, and other license costs (unless the organization is completely open-source - in which case your salary and office-space will still dwarf the cost). Add in the fact that the company will be able to depreciate the laptop and deduct it from any profits the company might earn (going forward in time). Basically, it would be stupid to hire a developer (with the overhead), then give them an underpowered machine since any reduction in productivity (over a fraction of a percent) will outweigh the savings of buying a less powerful laptop.

    If they are NOT a macshop -- it really does not matter -- since you could still run windows on it -- in the worst case.

    Now getting back to the comparison -- I know that the macbook pro can support dual monitors -- but I do not think the macbook can (unless it is something recently added).

    As far as iChat -- is the company internet friendly (at my current contract -- they seem to hate the internet -- most anything is blocked -- iChat may not be able to work through their firewall) -- I was just lucky enough to be located in a corner of the building that has access to outside Wifi (provided by the sports stadium below :p). Of course even if iChat is blocked for business reasons, you might be able to convince them to only enforce that rule (on the firewall) during core working hours.

    Basically, I would not recommend anything less than a pro model with a 7200RPM drive for development.
  • m0thr4 Level 1 (100 points)
    Thanks for all your help, but in the interim, I tried to get Eclispe set up on my iMac with JBoss to see how well it would run.

    The problem is, Sun don't seem to provide a JDK 1.5 for OS X (and JBoss no longer includes one either), so this makes the whole question of which Apple laptop to use, rather moot.

    Sun's support for Linux is excellent however, so I ended up buying an Acer Laptop and am running Eclipse, JBoss and Sun's JDK on Ubuntu Linux.
  • cacruden Level 1 (20 points)

    I have java version 1.5.0_07 on my version:

    Java(TM) 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition (build 1.5.0_07-164)
    Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 1.5.0_07-87, mixed mode, sharing)
    craig-crudens-computer:~ cacruden$

    I think it was installed as part of OS/X. (Intel)
  • cacruden Level 1 (20 points)
    I also have Eclipse - Europa installed.
  • cacruden Level 1 (20 points)
    Sun only provides downloads for operating systems whereby the distributor does not support java as part of the base installation (or their own) -- i.e. Windows/Linux (many distro do not include it).

    Apple supports it directly: