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Frustrations of a Web Developer on a Mac

October 25, 2013 Leave a comment

As a web application developer I made the switch years ago to Mac.  My decision was heavily influenced at the time by the fact that  tools I use in my development environment.  I needed a new computer anyway, so at the time, I figured it would be easier to use the Apache and MySQL that were built-in to OS X.  My first Mac was an old PowerBook G4.  In fairly short order I was able to get my development environment up and running with ColdFusion, Apache, and MySQL.  I came to really like working with that set up, but at some point it was clear I was going to need to step up to an Intel based MacBook to keep up with software requirements.  And that’s when I really took the plunge into the Apple ecosystem with my first MacBook.

I’m now on my 3rd MacBook.  This one’s a 13″ MacBook Pro with 16gb RAM (that’s not a typo). It came with Snow Leopard and I ram ColdFusion 9 and MySQL to do my web development. Of course by this time Apple had ditched MySQL so I had to download and install it myself. Not a huge deal. Soon after, Lion came out and with it quite a few new problems. With Lion came a new version of Apache and new permissions settings.  I may be a web developer but I do not spend my time configuring web servers. After  quite a few hours of trial and error with the httpd.config file and the virtual hosts file I thought I’d ask Apple. I take my shiny Mac to the Apple Store and for the first time a Genius could not help. Even better, I call Apple support and am told that they don’t offer this type of support. I may be crazy but if you’re gonna package Apache with your OS, your people should expect customers to use it and you better be ready to support it. I did eventually get it figured out and had been running my ColdFusion under Apache for some time even through upgrades to both ColdFusion 10 and OS X Mountain Lion.

Enter Mavericks. I thought pretty hard about whether I wanted to upgrade. I knew the potential for problems. But I figured I’d made it through Mountain Lion easily enough that I could handle it. That as a mistake. As soon as the upgrade was complete, I couldn’t hit any of my local development sites. I couldn’t figure out if it was a permissions problem or what. Nothing seemed to work. For about 3days I tried everything I could with no luck.

Finally, I gave up and just installed MAMP Pro. It is now my web and db server. I was also able to get ColdFusion 10 running under it. It only took about 90 minutes to get everything back up and running under MAMP Pro. In order to get support for virtual hosts, I had to buy the full version which costs $60. But it is so worth it to not have the frustration that seems to accompany the built-in Apache. I don’t think I will be going back any time soon. It seems to run counter to Apple’s mission to be simple.  For me this has not been simple. But I am glad I can get back to writing code.