One of aspects of the web that I really enjoy are all the meetup groups you can go to. I love the chance to get together with other industry professionals and talk shop. I work on a remote team so I really appreciate every chance to chat with other developers. One of the questions that came up recently in my Appleton WordPress meetup group was on the subject of what computers everyone uses. What I recommend to everyone else is exactly the same thing that I use myself. I use a Macbook Air, 13″, with an external keyboard, external mouse, and a standing desk.
Mac or Windows
I'm not an Apple fan boy by any means and I've actually used 2 different Windows machines in the past and they worked just fine. The main reason that I recommend a mac is because every other web developer uses a mac. Go ahead and call me a lemming about to walk over the edge of a cliff, but there are actually sound reasons for choosing a popular piece of software or hardware over less popular options.
Tutorials Made for Macs
If you've ever seen video tutorial or read a blog post walking you through something you'll notice the vast majority of the time the presenters themselves are mac users. That means that everything is from the point of view of the mac. If you want to use a windows machine you'll have to put forth extra effort to translate the mac features to the windows features.
Software Written for Macs
The same logic applies to software. Many web developers move from client work to product work. They find some area of web development that's a pain and they make a piece of software to fix it. The classic examples in the web world are TextMate & CodeKit. I heard about both of these pieces of software at conferences from other developers but it took me another year or two of using DreamWeaver shudder before moving to a mac and being able to try these out.
Laptops Are More Mobile than Desktops
One of the best aspects of the MacBook Air is that it's compact and light. I really value the ability to move around during the day. I like to spend my mornings at my apartment getting the vast majority of my work done and in the afternoon I like to go to a coffee shop to chat with other developers, designers, business people, or just the barista. The value of being able to work anywhere and meet new people at the same time is huge for me. I can't ever imagine going back to a desktop.
Use a Stand & External Keyboard for More Comfortable Typing
If you do decide to use a laptop I encourage you to make it as comfortable as possible. My standing desk raises the laptop up to my eye level and then I have a keyboard right at my elbow level which is perfect for typing. I know a lot of other developers that have similar types of stands even if they aren't using a standing desk. Check out my buddy Sean's new computer stand:
— Sean Cull (@seanreloaded) May 9, 2014