The reason for this is quite simple: It may be true that doing frontend development in Windows has always worked, but it has also always been a bit clunky. Kind of like driving a car with manual window winders and poor sound insulation – it still takes you where you’re going, but it could have been done better.
In a way, this has cost Microsoft an entire generation of developers. But in recent years, the company has grown more open, and has started making moves on its lost generation.
Let’s take a look at the two most common tools as examples of how Microsoft has changed:
The text editor
The text editor focuses on performance, hotkeys and quick navigation. We’ve grown used to fuzzy finding: it’s enough to enter 3 to 4 characters to rapidly filter down to the file to be edited.
We’ve seen the number of pure text editors fluctuate in their popularity over the years. The first one was TextMate, followed by Sublime Text and then Atom. And all of them are at least as well supported for Mac as for Windows – except for TextMate, which was released for Mac only.
The tool chain
And Mac is the clear choice if you want to run a sensible graphical interface on top of UNIX. That’s just the way it is.
And Microsoft has caught on. Finally, you might say: in BUILD 2016, they released a bomb: Windows Subsystem for Linux, a porting not only of the Bash shell, but of the entire Ubuntu environment, which can now run on top of Windows. All you have to do is install it as a Windows component.
This autumn things will get even simpler on that front, when the Windows Store releases first Ubuntu, followed up by SuSE and Fedora. The integration with Windows will also be getting a much-needed makeover – it is starting to look downright useful.
Windows for frontend developers
And that’s basically where we stand today. Microsoft has discovered that frontend developers don’t like Windows; they’ve learned why that is and have taken reasonable steps to fix it. It makes you want to shout out: “At last!”