re: Switching back to my old buddy Sublime Text from VS Code 🤷🏻‍♂️ VIEW POST

re: 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...

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.

@moopet 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.

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