Are Chromebooks good for programming? pros and cons

A Chromebook is a type of laptop that operates on the Chrome OS operating system, which was created by Google. It is designed to be lightweight and portable, making it easy to carry around. Since the Chromebook is intended for online use, it relies heavily on an internet connection to function optimally.

While some may assume that a Chromebook is not ideal for programming, it is possible to use it for coding with some adjustments. Chromebooks now support embedded Linux, which allows users to install programming tools and environments such as Visual Studio Code, PyCharm, and Android Studio.

Are chromebooks good for programming?

While Chromebooks can be a good machine for coding, there are some limitations to programming locally on a Chromebook, such as limited storage and memory, and the inability to run certain applications due to chromeOS. Some developers may also find the keyboard and screen size of Chromebooks to be less than ideal for coding.

That being said, it is still possible to program in many languages on a Chromebook, such as Python, JavaScript, and Ruby, and there are resources available to help set up a development environment. For example, Crouton is a tool that allows users to install a Linux-based environment alongside Chrome OS, giving access to a wide range of development tools. Additionally, there are cloud-based IDEs, such as CodePen and Cloud9, that can be used with a Chromebook.

Cloud-based IDEs you can use.


Avantages of chromebooks for prgramming

Cheaper than regular laptops

Their cheap price is what makes these devices ideal for students in any field. At least, a 13-inch screen size is more practical than learning to code on a tiny mobile screen.

A Chromebook with excellent specs comes somewhere between $300. Refurbished options reduce the price to $150. In contrast, buying a Windows or Macbook laptop will probably cost you around $1000. Nonetheless, there are budget programming laptops you can buy.

Easy to use

Designed for students and kids, they are quite easy to use. Fast booting, easy access to the menu, and everything on it are just so simple.

Online cloud-based apps are the most suitable for these devices. Included are online compilers of your choice of programming language, online Photo editors, and all google cloud-based apps.

Though online Compilers may not be the best option, they are sufficient for learning a programming language and developing school projects.

Faster reset

At times when you get into problems making a Chromebook compatible with programming, some tweaks are required during that you may run into some problems.

Anyways, if something goes wrong, the process of troubleshooting is easy and can be done quickly. Use the powerwash option and reset your Chromebook to default settings. 

Compatible with many Linux distros

Chromebooks have breakable limits. Built on the Linux kernel, it’s possible to replace ChromeOS with Linux distros, including kali Linux, Debian, and Ubuntu and you can even use windows OS.

It involves some technical work, but at least you can do it. This means that ChromeOS can be made compatible with popular IDEs in this way. 

Good battery timing-

Battery life is one of the reasons why Chromebooks are so popular among students. Most can run up to 10 hours easily, enabling you to code for an entire day without charging. Even the cheaper models have good battery timing as the ChromeOS itself consumes minimal power.

Disadvantages of chromebook for programming

While Chromebooks can be a viable option for programming, there are some disadvantages to consider. Here are some of the main ones:

  1. Limited Storage and Memory: Most Chromebooks have limited storage and memory compared to traditional laptops. This can be a hindrance for developers who require more storage and memory for their programming needs.
  2. Limited Offline Capabilities: Chromebooks are designed to be used while connected to the internet, which can be a disadvantage for developers who need to work offline. Some cloud-based IDEs and development tools may not work well offline.
  3. Limited Compatibility: Chromebooks are optimized for web-based applications and may not be compatible with certain software or development tools. This can limit the choices of software available to developers.
  4. Limited Graphics Capabilities: Some Chromebooks have limited graphics capabilities, which can be a problem for developers who require high-end graphics processing for their work.
  5. Keyboard and Screen Size: Some developers may find the keyboard and screen size of Chromebooks to be less than ideal for programming, particularly for long coding sessions.
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