When comparing Spectacle vs IntelliJ IDEA, the Slant community recommends IntelliJ IDEA for most people. In the question“What are the best power user tools for macOS?” IntelliJ IDEA is ranked 31st while Spectacle is ranked 32nd. The most important reason people chose IntelliJ IDEA is:
Uses a fast indexing technique to provide contextual hints (auto-completion, available object members, import suggestions). On-the-fly code analysis to detect errors and propose refactorization.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
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
Pro Fast and smart contextual assistance
Uses a fast indexing technique to provide contextual hints (auto-completion, available object members, import suggestions).
On-the-fly code analysis to detect errors and propose refactorization.
Pro Smart refactorings
IDEA places an emphasis in safe refactoring, offering a variety of features to make this possible for a variety of languages.
These features include safe delete, type migration and replacing method code duplicates.
Pro Lots of plugins
Many plugins are available for almost any task a developer may need to cover. Plugins are developed by Jetbrains themselves or by 3rd parties through the SDK available for writing them.
Pro Stable and robust
IntelliJ IDEA hardly ever crashes or has any issues that plague other Java IDEs like file corruption or slowness.
Pro Android support, JavaEE support, etc
A very complete development environment support.
Pro Intuitive and slick UI
IDEA has a clean, intuitive interface with some customization available (such as the Darcula theme).
Pro Support for many languages
IntelliJ supports many languages besides Java, some of these are: golang, Scala, Clojure, Groovy, Bash, etc.
Pro Many convenient features
These simplify the daily work, e.g. copy/cut a whole line without the need to select it.
Pro Clear and detailed documentation
The documentation is exhaustive, easy to navigate, and clearly worded.
Pro Free version available
There is a free community edition (open source) and an ultimate edition, which you can compare here.
The ultimate edition is available for free for one year for students but must be registered through an .edu e-mail account.
Pro Very powerful debugger
With ability to step into a certain part of a large method invocation (Shift+F7), drop frame, executing code snippets, showing method return values, etc.
Pro Gradle support
Pro Built-in Git support
Pro Embedded database support
Creating an embedded database, running SQL script in a dedicated terminal, viewing tables and their contents, and creating a connection to an in-memory or embedded database is fully supported.
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 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.
Con Breaks on macOS High Sierra / Chrome or Firefox
Doesn't support side by side windows.
Con Not maintained
The software is free, but no longer seems to be maintained.
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 Slow startup
Startup can be slow depending on system configuration.
Con Uses a lot of RAM
Con Standard hotkeys behave differently
Seems like hotkeys assignment in Idea has no logical consistency.
Like «F3» is usually next match, «Ctrl+W» - close tab, etc — they map to some different action by default.
There is a good effort in making the IDE friendly for immigrants from other products: there are options to use hotkeys from Eclipse, and even emacs. But these mappings are very incomplete. And help pages do not take this remapping into account, rather mentioning the standard hotkeys.
So, people coming from other IDEs/editors are doomed to using mouse and context menus (which are rather big and complex).
Con Bugs are not solved as often as they should
They are more interested in adding new features or issuing new versions than solving bugs.
Con Built with closed source components
The version with full features is not opensource. Parts of the code are under apache licence though.
Con Cannot open multiple projects in the same window
Con Lack of plugins
IntelliJ supports a very small amount of plugins. Although these are 'quality approved', many features are missing and can't be implemented because of that.