I have a Macbook Pro I recently purchased (13" 2015). I am now looking into desktop solutions, and think my needs make a Mac Mini my best option. I haven't used Thunderbolt before, and am wondering if I can use Thunderbolt to connect my Macbook Pro to my Mac Mini, thus making my laptop files accessible from the Mini on my external display. If that is the case, in addition to purchasing a Mac Mini, will the only other piece of equipment I need to make this connection be a Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt cable?
You can do that, but you'll have to use Target Disk Mode in order to get the Mac to recognize the other one as a hard drive.
You don't need any cable to share files or share screens. Just turn on sharing in the preference pane.
If you wish to make the sharing speed faster, you could use a network between the two computers over thunderbolt.
The least desirable solution to me is target disk mode since one computer needs to be shut down entirely to enable that option.