When comparing MacVim vs Slate, the Slant community recommends Slate for most people. In the question“What are the best power user tools for macOS?” Slate is ranked 23rd while MacVim is ranked 24th. The most important reason people chose Slate is:
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Lots of plugins
Every plugin available for Vim is available for MacVim too.
Pro Extremely customizable
MacVim is Vim, meaning it has all of Vim's customizability and power.
Pro OS X input methods
MacVim supports OSX's native shortcuts making the adoption of Vim easier.
Pro Extensive community support
MacVim, like Vim itself has a large community backing it.
Pro Automatic font substitution
In cases of a selected font missing certain characters, MacVim will find a font that has that character.
Pro Vimtutor teaches the basics of Vim in 30 minutes
Vimtutor is an excellent interactive tutorial for people with no prior experience of Vim. It's bundled with Vim and takes about 30 minutes to complete.
Pro Everything is a mnemonic
Vim associates keys with words. For example,
d is for "delete" and
w is for "word". To perform an action you string together letters. Thus, to delete a word, press dw.
This way it's possible to abstract a large amount of functionality that Vim provides in an intuitive way.
Pro Enables effective keyboard-driven editing due to its modal nature
Interaction with Vim is centered around several modes. Each mode has a different purpose and switching between them changes behaviour and keybindings. There are 12 modes in total (six basic modes and six variations on basic modes) and four of them are used commonly.
Insert mode is for entering text. This mode most resembles traditional text entry in most editors.
Normal mode (the default) is entered by hitting ESC and converts all keybindings to center around movement within the file, search, pane selection, etc.
Command mode is entered by hitting ":" in Normal mode and allows you to execute Vim commands and scripts similar in fashion to a shell.
Visual mode is for selecting lines, blocks, and characters of code.
Modes allow separating concerns between various tasks and reusing keys for different kinds of functionality. As a result, the workflow becomes more efficient.
Pro Multi-byte support
Permits writing characters that don't fit in one byte, most notably logograms (for writing in languages such as Japanese, Chinese, and Korean) and Unicode characters.
Pro Extremely configurable
Pro It's free
Slate is completely free to download and use, which is a great option in a field of Mac WMs that often costs money to use.
Pro Lets you set default layouts
By using a feature called "snapshots", users can set up different default window layouts in Slate that they can switch to and from on the fly.
Pro Allows for tiling
Slate allows for customizing the config file in order to emulate tiling windows.
Pro Window hints
Slate offers window hints which are an intuitive way to change window focus.
Pro Based on hotkeys
Hotkeys can be set to re-size and focus windows, as well as activate layout presets.
Con Slow when opening files with very long lines
A lot of very long lines can make MacVim take up to a minute to open, where a few other editors take only a few seconds to load the same file.
Con Only available on macOS
A decent text editor is available on all major platforms (macOS, Linux, Windows).
Con Difficult learning curve
MacVim after all is still Vim, and with that comes the complexity that Vim brings and the difficult learning curve that needs to be overcome.
Con Project maintainance is on pause
The developer is currently taking a pause to focus on other things as of December 2015.
Con Hard to configure
There's no graphical user interface for configuring Slate, meaning it has to be done from the command line interface or by editing a config file. This makes it somewhat difficult and time-consuming.
Con Missing features
Unable to perform all tasks of software it was meant to replace.
Can not move windows between 'Spaces' (virtual desktops).
Con Video fail
Demonstration video failed to highlight any of the advantages of the windowing system. Or at least, the advantages were so subtly intrinsic that no-one who didn't already use the system could appreciate them.