Using Parallels to run Windows on a MacBook
I haven’t added anything to the blog for a few months as I’ve been busy on a number of fronts. First I’ve swapped over to using a MacBook for day-to-day development. It took me a while to get used to, especially as the keyboard layout in the UK is different from the PC–and it took me a while to discover that that # is produced using ALT-3 and isn’t even shown on the keyboard. But I love it! It works really well.
I use IntelliJ and Eclipse for development with Firefox for Java, PHP and Web development so it’s not much different. MS Office 2004 for the Mac is very different from Office 2003 for the PC, but all works as expected (though there’s no plug-in for the docx format yet). It’s very nice having Unix under the hood too.
However, there are a couple of things I still need a PC for, and the most important of those is running Internet Explorer so that I can test web pages. I have other PCs lying around, so I could use those, but the solution I’ve gone for is to use Parallels (www.parallels.com). This allows you to run a Windows virtual machine (and Unix if you like) at the same time as MacOS. So I have MacOS for development and then Windows in a window. Windows has access to the DVD drive and internet and behaves just like the real thing–well it is the real thing (you do need a Windows operating system license to install it). So I can run Internet Explorer and any other PC-only tools on my Mac whenever I need them.