As a concept, web design and development is quite feasible and can be tackled with some focus. However, the range of tools used is so broad that it’s impossible to list them all, let alone learn about each system’s requirements.
However, there are some standards by which you can decide both the minimum and recommended system requirements for web design and development. In this article, I’ll break it down for you, so keep on reading.
Best Operating System for Web Design
After choosing the best laptop for web design, perhaps the next thing you should consider when you're venturing into the world of web design and development is the operating system with which you’ll be working, be it Windows, Mac OS, Linux, or ChromeOS.
Every developer knows that Linux is the benchmark for coding and programming, be it for front-end, back-end, or full-stack development. This is because most developing tools are naturally used in bash environments. Not to mention, most websites hosted would be on Linux servers, which is why it makes sense to use Linux for back-end development.
Additionally, Linux is well-known for its open-source programming, which means that users can view and modify codes, and that’s the best way to learn how to code and write programs.
In short, Linux is the ideal choice if you’re looking for robust performance at a budget-friendly price. However, you should also be willing to make sacrifices as some problems may arise with some hardware when you try to pair it with your device.
You have to be ready for a bit of a learning curve as you’d have to enter plenty of commands directly to the command line, which would definitely take some getting used to in the beginning. This makes adjusting and installing apps a little daunting but manageable after a while.
If you want to venture into the world of Linux, you should start with Ubuntu. This is a free derivation of the Linux operating system that you can use on mobile devices or desktops alike, and it’s the most intuitive and easiest to use.
There’s a huge debate over whether Windows is any good for web development, and most of the time, arguments are against it, for a good reason.
While Microsoft has developed amazing tools like Microsoft’s Visual Studio IDE, TypeScript, the .NET framework, Microsoft Server, MSSQL database, and Azure cloud environment. These are typically used in educational institutions and similar environments. So, if you work in this area, you can opt for Windows.
You can still use a Microsoft Surface series computer or Linux Subsystem, which allows you to run Linux terminal in bash environment with access to Windows file-system on Windows 10.
In simple terms, Mac OS is the operating system that gives you the best of both worlds. Out of the box, it comes with everything you could possibly need, including Bash terminal and compatibility with plenty of applications for media editing.
After all, Mac OS is based on Unix, so you can use the built-in Terminal to access all the tools you need, like software for virtualization, applications, and git. However, the only setback is that Mac OS only runs on Apple devices, which everyone knows come at premium price tags, so you’ll be paying a lot to get the privileges this operating has to offer.
If you know you’ll do your web development and design work through a browser and won’t need to install any tools; Chrome OS would be the most user-friendly system you can use. It’s like having Google Chrome as an operating system; with no file browser and no applications to run, everything you do would be based on web apps that you can access through the browser.
In other words, if you prefer coding in raw HTML and CSS without using IDEs or editors, you’ll absolutely love the Chrome OS experience.
What Hard Drive for Web Design?
Your hard drive is the workhorse of your computer, and in our day and age, you can’t do without an SSD (Solid-state Drive) if you’re looking to get the kind of speed needed for programming and development.
Using an HDD would completely ruin your experience if you’re using tools like IDEs and editors, and that’s why a solid, reliable SSD is a crucial component when it comes to the minimum or recommended requirements for web design and development.
Also, make sure to upgrade your SSD as far as you can to get the smoothest performance and the largest storage capacity. Around 256GB for an SSD would be excellent for design and development purposes.
When considering CPUs, you should pick an up-to-date central processing unit as this component is a lot harder to upgrade than, say, a hard drive or a graphics card. This is especially true and important if you’re opting for a laptop instead of a desktop.
Generally, Intel processors are more recommended than Ryzen ones, especially the i5 or i7 of the 8th generation. If you want to be precise yet quick while you code, you should pay extra attention when deciding on your CPU.
Recommended RAM for Web Design & Development
When it comes to RAM for development, the more is always, the merrier. Running tools and IDEs take up a huge chunk of your memory, and the more demanding your projects are, the worse it gets.
That’s why you should opt for 16GB RAM. However, 8GB of RAM would be sufficient, while 4GB would be suitable for very low-demand tasks with little to no time-space complexity. Of course, 32GB of RAM would be heaven on earth for a developer, though it might be a bit of an overkill, so you can do without it if you don’t have the money to spare.
Best Monitor Resolution and Size for Web Design
Monitor resolution is a bit of a luxury for web design and development, but it’s an excellent upgrade if you can afford it. Having to sift through endless lines of code to debug and fix issues can take a huge toll on your eyes, and that’s why a full HD monitor (1920 x 1080p) that’s around 15 to 17 inches in size would be ideal for a developer.
Never go for screens that are small in size or whose resolution is too shabby because they could make your development process more challenging. One advantageous alternative is to use an external monitor, in which case our article ‘How to connect a monitor to a laptop for web design‘ would come in very handy.
Are the GPU Specifications Important?
When considering graphics cards, always opt for dedicated graphics cards instead of integrated graphics. NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Ryzen are the most widely known GPU manufacturers. Dedicated graphics cards give you incredible graphics performance to design your websites professionally, especially if you’re using more complex designs and tools.
If you’re opting for Windows, you should go for Windows 8 or later with an Intel Pentium 4 CPU or later. macOS Sierra 10.12 is the minimum with an Intel processor if you’re going for Mac.
Finally, if you opt for Linux, go for 64-bit Ubuntu 14.04+, Debian 8+, OpenSUSE 13.3+, or Fedora Linux 24+ with an Intel Pentium 4 or later.
When all is said and done, the hardest part about dealing with the recommended or minimum requirements for web design and development is picking the operating system you’ll be working with.
After that, the process of deciding on the RAM and CPU follows, and then the rest is all luxury to make your experience smoother.