Nice article, however I can't help but be bothered by your co-workers who apparently only have 4GB RAM.
As a developer, your computer is the tool of your trade. Just as a hairdresser can't work with blunt scissors and a carpenter can't do their job without a decent hammer, a developer cannot do their work without a decent machine. Well you can do your job, but you'll be slowed down and frustrated, resulting in less efficiency and poorer results.
With RAM being cheap and easy to upgrade, I'd expect anyone (or any company) who even remotely cares about their craft (or employees) to have at least 8GB of RAM in their machines. If you're going to be running VMs then you're quickly looking at 16GB to keep things smooth.
Now don't get me wrong, VS Code runs on Electron and it is very memory intensive, but with 4GB I'm pretty sure that VS Code isn't the only thing they have issues running.
Totally agree, I was feeling some perf issues on webstorm when i was running a VM.
The first thing I did was a RAM upgrade, now I run 16GB and it's smooth again.
I enjoy webstorm so much I don't know how I would do without it !
But it's still nice to know that getting SublimText can be a quick fix.
Yeah. My $150 smartphone has 6GB of RAM...
What if you have only a 2015 MacBook Air with 4GB RAM? Is it still cheap to upgrade? I assume this mentality that if it's cheap for me then it's cheap for everyone is what stops many developers like you to build experiences suitable for all users (e.g people against accessibility, React concurrent mode etc)
I would like to make the hasty generalisation that if you're driving a MacBook, money is not an object in the first place.
Upgrading to a new MacBook is always a big purchasing decision. Can I afford it? Yes. Do I want to while my 2015 MacBook is working fine? No!
Anyway I'm not really talking about myself. I do web development and I'm running mostly nodejs apps in CLI. My VS Code is working pretty smooth. I'm just arguing that the mentality to expect users to upgrade to support un-optimized apps is wrong.
I think that's also a general assumption we shoudn't make. I bought my first Macbook with Google Summer of Code's money during uni. I wasn't wealthy, at all :-)
People are also allowed to save for the things they want, we shouldn't judge them.
The point here is that software shouldn't be slow, it's not "hey, who cares, upgrade your computer"
We shouldn't judge people for living their lives how they want to live them — as long as they are ethical and following the law — but when someone works in a profession then by all means we can judge them for their level of professionalism. A professional developer choosing to work on a computer with only 4GB RAM is just unprofessional.
Now I get that different parts of the world computer costs are a larger percentage of income and I empathize, but if a person is a reasonable developer their incomes can be much higher relative to many others in their region, and good professionals should invest in good tools.
Put another way, I hire freelance developers to work on projects for my company. If I found out that someone was switching to Sublime (instead of using PhpStorm) because they only had 4GB of RAM In their computer, I would be unlikely to hire them unless I determined that it was chicken-and-egg problem; e.g. that they would invest in a better computer but first needed the income to get them there. And I have actually hired someone who did exactly that, and now he works on a state-of-the-art computer, because he is a professional.
But a team of developers where many only have 4GB ram? That sounds like a recipe for a disastrous codebase.
I don't think 4GB is unprofessional per se, it depends what you're doing with it.
It's plenty for a lot of work: I've just logged onto my home dev box and checked, and it's got 6GB, is running hugo and gatsby servers and a couple of Vim instances in tmux.
And out of that 6GB? 5 of it is currently unused. You might say that's because it's headless, but it is what I use for personal development :)
You are talking apples and oranges. The discussion was about not being able to use a quality IDE on the desktop because of only 4GB RAM. An SSH target is a different fruit entirely.
You're right, but the conversation seemed to have moved on to "professional developer" with no further qualification.
For clarity then, I was assuming the original context of the conversation when I commented my opinion that developers sticking with 4GB by choice was unprofessional.
Perhaps a regular PC or laptop would be a better idea if money is an issue, since those are easy to upgrade and are cheap to buy new or second hand. Add Linux to the mix and you can easily get a great machine for a small amount.
I do not understand why you feel the need to assume things about my work. I've actually worked on software created for people with a need for increased accessibility (near-blind, dyslexics, etc...).
I'm also curious where you find people who are -against- accessibility. Sure plenty of people don't really bother (or just don't know better), but actively being against accessibility seems a bit strange to me.
You still didn't get my point. The point was that it's not anyone's business to tell others they have to buy new hardware if they are "serious" developers.
Perhaps it's a good idea to start with writing out what your actual point is instead of using ad-hominems if you want to be clearer in your communication.
You have a point but I still disagree. Talking from experience, a laptop with 4GB of RAM would slow me down too much and would be too inefficient to work with for doing actual serious work. Instead I'd spend my days waiting for builds to finish, pages to load, debuggers to start, etc... which would lead to missing deadlines and losing the confidence of my clients.
If you are unable to afford better hardware, then obviously it can't be helped. However, I would assume that a professional developer actually gets paid. And just like a carpenter invests their income into their tools, so should a developer invest in software and/or hardware to help make their life and job easier.
All of this is obviously only relevant to freelance work. No excuses for employers not providing their employees with decent tools.
Apologies for ad-hominem, my bad. However you saying "serious" developers is also No True Scotsman in some ways!
Anyway, 4GB of RAM on windows is terrible but on a Mac it's not that bad. Builds and page loads rely mostly on CPU and HDD speed and with my comparison with the latest Mac there is not much difference. The only difference is in the amount of resources you can have open at the same time which I agree sometime is annoying but doesn't really slow me down.
Even so, developers get paid but they live in different locations which means different level of income but hardware prices are mostly same anywhere. It's of course a problem but I don't want to continue this argument. I think there shouldn't be any expectation from the developers of tools for users to buy new hardware to be considered serious. At the moment most of the developments are put into electron based apps which are just simply inefficient but cheaper to develop and the responsibility of handling the burden is on the user to buy better hardware. I just think it's not fair to those who can't afford and should go back to the less progressive tools like sublime, same as the teammates of OP.
Ah true, I did speak only from my own experiences and point of view. Your comment is a welcome nuance to mine. And I assure you, I very much appreciate where I live and am not blind to the realities of the world around me.
But even though I appreciate your comment, I feel the need to point out that it seems overly confrontational. Your message would be more easily accepted if you took a calmer approach.
That's not an apology. "sorry you're offended" is never an apology.
Exactly. It’s specifically called a non-apology. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-apolog...
Try not to do this in a professional environment, folks! It happens a lot which is why I mention it, and it’s a huge problem... Especially if you’re “calling someone out” for responding to criticism in a way you don’t like. It just adds fuel to the fire.
It’s something most people do without realizing it. Try and take a few moments before responding with “apologies” to see if you might be giving a fauxpology because, chances are, you’re response could escalate things. And if you’re entire point is to comment on how someone is already escalating things... Well, you can see the cycle.
No, they realise.
Apparently so since they deleted all of their comments.
niceties like public health care and education
niceties like public health care and education
If you mean the US, we don't have those things. It's kind of a big thing in politics right now.
I am running into the same problem with my Surface laptop 2 with 8 GB of RAM and an i7 CPU, so it's not a third world problem as Niels was trying to state. Thanks for the article and for the response though! But have to tell, Niels is right, working professionally and do not have the basic tools seems to be contraproductive and ridiculous...
8gb RAM, core i7, but the laptop is pretty old and I am not in liberty to purchase another one so a quick fix is something I'd love to switch to
I wasn't trying to state it's a third world problem and made no mention of any such thing...
"with 4GB I'm pretty sure that VS Code isn't the only thing they have issues running"
I was thinking the same. 😅
I was an advocate for Sublime Text for a long time and then switched to vscode. With 12GB of RAM, I've found no issues running vscode + docker-compose with about 8 containers.
I don't care if ram is cheap, a decent software developer at Microsoft should ask himself/herself why vs code is using so much resources!
Vscode uses electron if I remember correctly, so it's going to probably have a lot of the same memory quirks as chrome. It's essentially a fancy web app.
Came here for exactly this. You put it on the nicest words. I would add that the extra RAM VScode uses for the extensions really make your life easier as a developer, so it's a trade off, and Sublime does not have anything close to that.
Also, adding a "we're hiring" with the "non-upgradeable" 4GB RAM horror story before seems counterproductive LOL.
Woho !! Things escalated real quick down there. Anyway, I agree with you completely Niels. But consider this a quick fix. Also few laptops were old enough that even upgrading ram couldn’t help (old processors). So, by adjusting in what they have and getting the best out of it, the short term solution can be shifting to lighter options but in long term buying a new laptop is a better option of course. 😊
My laptop from 7 (8?) years ago had 16GB of RAM. I'm not looking for a cookie or anything, but RAM should always be a priority for devs.
(Granted I was also doing 3D, but I think RAM should be a priority regardless. CPU and disk space are second class citizens.)
Well, sometimes for some reason people are stuck with their crappy laptops. Upgrading RAM alone won't help as the processor is crap, and buying a new laptop, while extremely recommended, may not be in someone's reach.
That said, I'm inclined to agree that most people can afford it but are careless; for example, they'll go to the movies and shop regularly, but won't upgrade laptops.
It's likely that buying another 4GB is cheaper than buying Sublime Text. I picked up a 2GB stick from my local CEX store the other day for £1. I do realise that's different depending where you live.
Yup, generally RAM is pretty cheap (and has more use cases than Sublime Text has :P). I'm using a laptop I bought 5 years ago (i5, 8 GB, 2 GB graphics) that I gradually upgraded to 8 GB RAM and, very importantly, SSD. People don't realize that often disk read/writes are the bottlenecks and no amount of RAM/processing can help beyond a point. When you switch to SSD, there's an instant jump in performance that's hard to believe (feels like 2-3 times faster).
You can use Sublime Text for free.
Honestly, I'm not sure if the company making their own devs working on a laptop with 4gb RAM pay for several Sublime Text 3 licenses...
For free for non commercial use (since it clearly says you can use it for free for evaluation).
That's twisting the words of the license. If you're continuing to use it for personal use, you're not evaluating it. You're breaking the license agreement.
Yes, my daily-driver laptop is from 2010 or 2011, and I've added an SSD and boosted it to 8GB (which is more than enough for my personal development needs).
You can, but then you can also break into someone's house and steal their RAM chips, if you really want to.
But today, when I'm actually making money from my work, I'm using Webstorm and paying for its license. There is no excuse, especially for us developers, to use pirated software when most of us can afford it and support fellow developers.
Quite. I'm big on sticking to license agreements these days (though I may have been less enthusiastic when I was a kid) because if you think it's fair to use winrar forever or to say you've found a "loophole" or something, then you can't expect anyone to treat your own licenses with respect.
True, true ... Basic human nature: I should everything for free, but others must pay (high) for everything I provide. :-)
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