Which Operating System is Best Suited for Your Development

Not all operating systems are created equal, especially for developers. You might be surprised which platform is the right choice for your development teams.
February 14, 2022
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Your developers work within IDEs and even the terminal window to create all of the software and systems for your business. Without those developers working tirelessly to deliver, your company would be hard-pressed to function with any level of agility, competency, and reliability.

To make use of the tools required to develop software, your engineers must make use of an operating system. Of course, anyone who uses a computer must work with an operating system. That’s a given. But did you know there are choices to be had for which OS to use? There’s Chrome OS, Linux, macOS, and Windows for desktops and laptops and Android and iOS for mobile devices. 

Each operating system has its pros and cons, which not only applies to end-users but to developers as well. Depending on what your software engineers do, their choice of operating system could mean the difference between being highly efficient and accurate or less than on all fronts.

Let’s take a look at the different types of development and decide which operating system is best suited for each.

Backend Development

Backend development is also called server-side development and is all of the under-the-hood, behind-the-scenes stuff that powers websites, web applications, and various services that help run your company. Backend development is crucial to nearly every aspect of business functionality and without it, your business would struggle to keep up with demand, supply, and competition.

Backend development places a significant amount of focus on databases, backend logic, APIs, servers, and services. What does that mean for your developers? For one, it means they must be very familiar with the environments that run those services. What does that mean? The vast majority of backend services run on the Linux operating system. Because of that, your backend developers will have to know how to use the command line and the various methods and means of communicating to the underlying systems. c

That translates to the best operating system for backend development being, you guessed it, Linux. Fortunately, Linux isn’t just a server operating system. With plenty of desktop distributions available, your engineers can find a development environment that will be very similar to the one they’ll be developing for.

Frontend Development

Frontend development is what users see. It’s the GUIs, interfaces, and apps consumers, customers, and clients use to interact with your company. Front end is all about the user interface and depends on the likes of HTML, CSS, DOM, and JavaScript

Because much of what frontend developers do is within a web browser, the operating system isn’t nearly as important as it is with backend development. So long as the engineer’s IDE of choice runs on the OS, they can take their pick. However, one thing to keep in mind is the majority of those who use your website or web application will be doing so with the Chrome web browser, and because Windows is the most-used OS on the planet, Windows is probably your best option for these developers. 

Windows also offers the widest variety of tools that are front-end specific (such as IDEs, emulators, and debuggers). That doesn’t mean, however, Windows is the only option. Because web browsers have become mostly universal, your developers would do fine with any operating system (so long as the tools they use are available).

Mobile Development

Because most internet traffic across the globe is now emanating from smartphones, mobile development has become one of the hottest sectors in the market. What does that mean for your developers? It means they must be on their A-game with mobile development.

Fortunately, within this space, there are only two platforms to focus on: Android and iOS. With regards to Android, your mobile developers can work on Linux, macOS, or Windows. This is made possible because of one reason: The Android SDK and the required languages (Java and Kotlin) can be installed and used on Linux, macOS, and Windows. For iOS, however, the only platform your developers should be using is macOS. Why? Because developing for iOS on any platform other than macOS is problematic.

Container Development

Containers may or may not be on your radar, but they should be. Containers make it possible for your developers to deploy massively scalable services that cannot be matched by traditional, monolithic applications. If you plan on growing your business such that it can keep up with the ebb and flow of demand, containers will be in your future.

There are two reasons why only one operating system is the best choice for container development. The first is that without exception, the environment you’ll be using to deploy those containers will be Linux. The second is that much of the development of these containers depends on Linux images. That one-two punch means, hands down, the best environment for your engineers to use for container development is Linux.

Low-code/no-code

There is a new trend on the horizon, one that makes it possible for businesses to develop applications without requiring much in the way of coding skills. Both low-code and no-code development is done within a browser, so the operating system you choose really doesn’t matter. In fact, you could go this route with ChromeOS, Linux, macOS, Windows, Android, or iOS and be just as effective.

Conclusion

Backend, frontend, mobile, container, and low-code/no-code development just about covers everything your business will need to keep up with the ever-evolving nature of technology. When you go to empower your developers with the tools they require, make sure the choice of operating system best fits the task at hand, so you can ensure your staff is working as effectively and efficiently as possible.

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