Portable, or jobsite table saws weren't around when I started out; back in the late 70s, I recall hauling a Craftsman radial arm saw to the job where we used it to make all kinds of life-threatening cuts. Later, I adapted a Rockwell contractors' table saw, breaking it into several components that I could reassemble on site, making it somewhat portable. Since then, I've owned a half-dozen truly portable saws, of varying make and design.
I currently use a six-year-old Makita suspended in a Rousseau stand, which provides a smooth-acting T-fence with a 26-inch rip capacity. The saw and stand were given to me, and I’ve made some tweaks to the setup, including a power switch convenient to my left hand, and a support at the far end of the fence that makes it glide effortlessly on the rails. Ease of use is vital to safe use, which is where I want to start this discussion.