When comparing MacDown vs BBEdit, the Slant community recommends MacDown for most people. In the question“What are the best developer tools for Mac OSX?” MacDown is ranked 12th while BBEdit is ranked 21st. The most important reason people chose MacDown is:
MacDown is a free and open source editor influenced by [Mou](http://25.io/mou/). It's released under the MIT license.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Free and open source
MacDown is a free and open source editor influenced by Mou. It's released under the MIT license.
Pro Real-time split-screen preview
MacDown's main view is split into two panels. The user types on the left and the Markdown is rendered on the fly in the right panel. This helps users to better understand the way they are formatting their document.
Pro Markdown previews can be customized with CSS
You can use a CSS file to customize the rendered output and the file preview you are working on will display the rendered Markdown with the custom CSS styling on top.
Pro Supports syntax highlighting in fenced code blocks
MacDown has syntax highlighting support for various languages when writing code in fenced code blocks.
Pro Support for GFM
Pro Ideal for day-to-day programmers' work and MarkDown novices alike
Using MacDown for the notorious README.md use case gets you going without reading any manual or requiring any configuration values. Think of it as a sort of TextEdit for MarkDown files. Thus its shortcomings - neither powerful nor versatile - turn out to be a PRO for novices trying to jump on the MarkDown bandwagon. Open its help and you'll immediately find yourself editing the MacDown's MarkDown help file, a MarkDown primer with some MacDown menus and configuration added.
Pro Good auto-completion
MacDown has a good built-in auto-completion engine for Markdown symbols.
Pro Stable development, been around for decades
BBEdit is commercial software, the paid counterpart to their free application Textwrangler. Though BBEdit comes off as pricey, this allows for stable and consistent updates from the developers. BBEdit has been around since 1992.
Pro Can open very large files
Pro Great customer support
The developer is very responsive to bug reports and feature suggestions.
Pro Just about every feature is already built in
No searching for plug-ins that may or may not work.
Pro Built-in FTP/SFTP browser
BBEdit can open files directly from, and save them to, any available FTP server. It can also open and save files directly via SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol).
Pro Great JAMStack environment
You can build the static site of your dreams without needing any external assistants. Although it does not process LESS, SASS, or SCSS files, BBEdit's includes are very powerful.
Con Not very versatile
MacDown is not very powerful or versatile. It's not customizable or extendable. This is what makes it so simple, but it's not for people who want more from their tools.
Con Frequently fails to update the display and/or flat out hangs
Must often restart MacDown.
Con The Markdown preview is rather heavy on the CPU
The Markdown preview needs a lot of resources to keep rendering on-the-fly after each keystroke. A single keystroke in the editor panel may trigger up to 5 seconds of max-CPU usage.
It's US$49.99 a single user license