When comparing XMonad vs Better Window Manager, the Slant community recommends XMonad for most people. In the question“What is the best window manager for Mac?” XMonad is ranked 16th while Better Window Manager is ranked 23rd. The most important reason people chose XMonad is:
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.
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 Very stable
Use of Haskell, in conjunction with smart programming practices, guarantees a crash-free experience.
Pro Handles multiple monitors well
XMonad can handle multi-monitor setups by default.
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 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 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 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 FinderMinder support
FinderMinder allows you to specify where (position) and what size you want newly opened Finder windows to appear. The default Finder behavior is to remember the last position and size for every window, but this can be frustrating if you already know where you want every window to appear (for example, centered at 800x600). FinderMinder must be running for window reposition and resize to take place.
FinderMinder must continue running in the background for window reposition and resize to take place, so click the "Hide" button to dismiss the preferences and keep FinderMinder running. Simply re-launch FinderMinder to access the preferences again or to quit the app.
Pro Cheap and has a free trial
The app costs just $3 and offers a free trial for testing it out before buying.
Pro Has almost all the features needed in a window manager app
I've tried almost every app on this list. I thought it was amazing how many there were out there by the time I finally stopped experimenting and searching for the one I liked most. I chose Optimal Layout mostly because it was sufficiently extendable and felt lighter to use than the others. There were lighter ones, but those were very limited in their features and customizability.
Pro It's free! Which is fair as it manages only windows for Finder.
The price is right! It comes from a great source of developers who already have window manager apps on this page's list. I am not sure what they plan to do with this app in the future, whether to keep it light and by itself and work in conjunction with their other window managers, or add this feature solely to one of their other fully featured window manager apps.
Con Steep learning curve for uninitiated users
Like a lot of tiling window managers, the learning curve for XMonad is quite steep.
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 Requires knowledge of Haskell for configuration
Understanding of Haskell is required in order to configure XMonad.