Pro Tip #2: Laptop Users - Improve Efficiency with Added Hardware
Aug 05 2014 Filed in: Pro Tips
If you are using RapidWeaver to develop your website with a MacBook Air, MacBook or MacBook Pro, then Pro Tip #2 is for you. I personally do most of my development work in RapidWeaver on a 27" iMac, but on occasion I find myself in a situation where I am needing to do that work on a 13" MacBook Air. As I've done development work on the MacBook Air, I've noticed that it takes me longer to do things on the laptop, on account of the smaller screen size and use of a trackpad, opposed to a "traditional" mouse.
I was curious about how much efficiency I was losing, so I conducted a test, where I performed the same work on both the 27" iMac and the 13" MacBook Air. The result was that my efficiency dropped by 30-40% on the MacBook Air. If I were to do all of my development work on a laptop, then it would take me 30-40% more time to complete each project -- that adds up to a lot of additional time when you take development of entire websites into account.
Many of you who use RapidWeaver exclusively on a laptop may not realize how much faster that same development work could be done with a larger screen and traditional mouse. Now I certainly don't recommend that you go out and spend $2000 on a new iMac, but you can create a kind of desktop computing environment by adding an external display and a USB or Bluetooth wireless mouse to your laptop. By connecting an external display to your laptop, your laptop display will mirror to the larger screen, and whenever you need portability you can simply disconnect the monitor to continue using the laptop as usual.
As little as around $200 can significantly improve your productivity with RapidWeaver, and work in other applications as well for that matter. I have put together a few links to products on Amazon that may be worth considering.
Logitech Wireless Performance Mouse MX - USB
Logitech Bluetooth Mouse M555b - Bluetooth (doesn't use a USB port)
Apple Wireless Magic Trackpad - Larger version of laptop trackpad. I find a traditional mouse like the options above to be more efficient.
External Display (Monitor) - Multiple options to choose from for every size. Each will be compatible with a Mac, using the Mini DisplayPort Adapter linked below.
Mini DisplayPort Adapter - This will be needed to connect any non-Apple display to an Apple laptop.
The primary benefit of using an external display is that you gain additional vertical space on the screen. This reduces the amount of scrolling that is necessary, which translates to greater efficiency in working with RapidWeaver. The best example of this is in working with Stacks, where moving and copying stacks is much faster when you don't need to scroll up and down a great amount of the time.
A traditional mouse has an advantage over a trackpad because it offers much more precision in tracking and selecting items. Again, the use of Stacks provides a great example, where precision is important as you often must click in very specific spots. Selecting a particular stack on a page and adjusting its options in the Stack Inspector is most efficiently done with a traditional mouse.
If you decide to add an external display and/or mouse to your Apple laptop, I'd love to hear about your experience to see if your increase in productivity is similar to my own. Please leave a comment to let me know!
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