When comparing XMonad vs Spectacle, the Slant community recommends Spectacle for most people. In the question“What is the best window manager for Mac?” Spectacle is ranked 5th while XMonad is ranked 16th. The most important reason people chose Spectacle is:
Spectacle is licensed under MIT with source code available on [GitHub](https://github.com/eczarny/spectacle).
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Fully extensible with Haskell
XMonad is written, configured, and fully extensible in Haskell. This means that users aren't limited to a small set of pre-programmed layouts and actions: anything can be programmed into the configuration.
It's simple to modify basic settings, and the example config has lots of comments to get you started. Haskell keeps this code clean, concise, and readable, and its type system keeps you safe from any serious mistakes. This makes it fast and light, even on very small and slow systems.
Pro Efficient to use
XMonad is a very minimal and efficient window manager, especially if the user is familiar with Haskell.
Pro Absolutely minimal
The entire window manager is extremely small, and includes nothing beyond basic window manipulation and tiling. Out of the box, there are no window decorations, status bar nor icon dock; just clean lines and efficiency.
Pro Very stable
Use of Haskell, in conjunction with smart programming practices, guarantees a crash-free experience.
Pro Edit configuration and reload on-the-fly
Configuration is compiled into the WM, and it can be changed/updated on-the-fly, without requiring a full reload.
Pro Great availability of libraries
The use of Haskell as an extension language means that popular pieces of functionality are easily shared and widely available as Haskell Libraries. Many default layouts, and tools for quickly and easily building your own, are available through XMonad-contrib, and highly re-usable configurations are commonly shared through blog articles and the Xmonad Wiki.
Pro Highly configurable
If you enjoy programming, you can even add features to XMonad to make it your perfect desktop environment, and the Contrib modules give you most of what you need to do exactly that.
Pro Handles multiple monitors well
XMonad can handle multi-monitor setups by default.
Pro Xinerama support
XMonad has full support for Xinerama: windows can be tiled and managed across multiple physical screens.
Pro Dynamic Tiling
XMonad uses dynamic tiling which means that it automatically handles arranging your windows into various layouts which the user can cycle through.
Pro Free and open source
Spectacle is licensed under MIT with source code available on GitHub.
Pro Low footprint
Spectacle only uses up 18-19 MB of RAM, which means there is not much overhead by using this app.
Pro Simple hotkeys
Spectacle offers easy-to-remember preset hotkeys.
All windows in Spectacle can be controlled with keyboard shortcuts, so no mouse is needed. This makes for a fast way to control windows.
Pro Great UX
Spectacle is easy to use and configure. It's plug and play.
Pro Multi-monitor support
Con Steep learning curve for uninitiated users
Like a lot of tiling window managers, the learning curve for XMonad is quite steep.
Con Requires knowledge of Haskell for configuration
Understanding of Haskell is required in order to configure XMonad.
Con Requires a lot of Haskell dependencies
XMonad depends on GHC (the Glasgow Haskell Compiler) which can take up about 700 MB or disk space.
Con Impossible to add new functions
While keyboard shortcuts can be changed for the available actions, there is no way to add custom actions which in turn limits the functionality of the app.
Con Not maintained
The software is free, but no longer seems to be maintained.
Con Breaks on macOS High Sierra / Chrome or Firefox
Doesn't support side by side windows.
Con Doesn't work with any Adobe products
There are some apps like Adobe Reader that do not work with Spectacle. Basically, any app with a heavily customized UI that breaks OS X accessibility will not work correctly under Spectacle.
Con Limited window sizing capabilities
You can use 1/2 of the screen vertically and horizontally (divide into 4 parts). You can also use the screen in thirds too, but only the left and right third: you can't use the 1/3 in the center. There is no way to do a more granular distribution.