BBEdit vs. GNU Emacs

Overview
ProductRatingMost Used ByProduct SummaryStarting Price
BBEdit
Score 8.2 out of 10
N/A
BBEdit is a text editor from Bare Bones software headquartered in Massachusetts.N/A
GNU Emacs
Score 8.0 out of 10
N/A
GNU Emacs is described as a free extensible and customizable text editor for the Lisp programming language.N/A
Pricing
BBEditGNU Emacs
Editions & Modules
No answers on this topic
No answers on this topic
Offerings
Pricing Offerings
BBEditGNU Emacs
Free Trial
NoNo
Free/Freemium Version
NoNo
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
NoNo
Entry-level Setup FeeNo setup feeNo setup fee
Additional Details
More Pricing Information
Best Alternatives
BBEditGNU Emacs
Small Businesses
Microsoft Visual Studio Code
Microsoft Visual Studio Code
Score 9.1 out of 10
BBEdit
BBEdit
Score 8.2 out of 10
Medium-sized Companies
Vim
Vim
Score 9.7 out of 10
Vim
Vim
Score 9.7 out of 10
Enterprises
Vim
Vim
Score 9.7 out of 10
Vim
Vim
Score 9.7 out of 10
All AlternativesView all alternativesView all alternatives
User Ratings
BBEditGNU Emacs
Likelihood to Recommend
9.5
(7 ratings)
8.2
(4 ratings)
Support Rating
9.7
(7 ratings)
8.2
(2 ratings)
User Testimonials
BBEditGNU Emacs
Likelihood to Recommend
Bare Bones Software
I'm primarily a graphic designer who does occasional web development. For me, BBEdit works very well. I use it both for developer projects (editing code, editing system files) and for general text processing (cleaning up, formatting, or extracting text). I like that it offers real-time previews of edits to web project files. It comes with some nice editor themes and supports adding more or customizing them. I expect that for some coders, it will be inadequate. It is not an IDE. On the other end of the spectrum, someone who expects an experience more like Microsoft Word will be very disappointed; or if they wanted something more along the lines of Windows Notepad, they may find it to be overkill. It is an ASCII text editor with many advanced commands and tools built-in.
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Open Source
Emacs is best utilized on a Unix system where it can be easily installed and accessed. It allows for quick editing of files on a system whether you are accessing it locally through the console or remotely via an ssh connection. Once users familiarize themselves with the Emacs shortcuts, it becomes a pretty efficient text manipulation program. On a standard Windows computer, it is less likely to use Emacs for code editing, especially if you have a local repository on your host machine.
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Pros
Bare Bones Software
  • BBEdit remembers what I had open, so I never have to worry about losing work when I accidentally close the software. It will hold onto information almost indefinitely, so that the next time I open a program, I can access the information that I may have forgotten to save. Thankfully, its save function is also very simple to use, so I recommend still saving your work as needed.
  • Scripts are the most important aspect of BBEdit for the company I work for. Being able to import scripts and create new ones all in the same location are great.
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Open Source
  • GNU Emacs is a text editor that can do almost anything that you want to do with it. It is fairly easy to extend the functionality using Emacs Lisp with a large library available.
  • It can be easily customized using themes as well as custom code to change the look and feel as well as how everything works.
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Cons
Bare Bones Software
  • The cost of this product has just become too much for the functionality that most people need. You can find free or $10 tools that do what most people need to do.
  • The BBEdit program has lots of functionality, but could it be too much? Are there too many options?
  • It seems that there are too many upgrades.
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Open Source
  • Emacs is old, so it's a little crufty and not too easy to pick up and start using. There is a community package called Spacemacs that simplifies a lot of things that you do with Emacs. It is probably better suited to beginners.
  • Sometimes, the choices that were made to integrate certain functionality change the basic models for that functionality. This is seen primarily in the version control system support, where multiple version control systems are supported and "unified" to a standard Emacs-y way of doing things. This can be confusing to the new user not familiar with the Emacs way.
  • Emacs has, as its foundation, a lisp interpreter. This means that the extension language for Emacs is emacs-lisp. Some people find lisp hard to understand and have difficulties writing Emacs extension code, or understanding existing code.
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Support Rating
Bare Bones Software
I've been using BBEdit — no joke — for nearly three decades now. Believe it or not, I'm still getting "upgrade pricing" 13 versions later. Bare Bones' support has always been stellar, and pricing continues to be affordable compared to similar tools.
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Open Source
Everything that you need to know about Emacs can be found on the internet. There are many Emacs "cheat sheets" that list out all of the shortcuts for Emacs. There are videos on how to use Emacs. Emacs is easily installed using the standard Linux package managers and can also be easily updated through them as well. There are tutorials on how to customize Emacs to your liking.
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Alternatives Considered
Bare Bones Software
BBEdit wins over TextEdit every time. They are as different as chalk and cheese. I am so glad we moved to BBEdit.
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Open Source
Of course, Vim is a good contender for comparison as well, so I'll include it. I find Emacs much easier to learn, which will help speed up productivity for newer users. It seems much faster than VIM and VSCode, especially under load. It's highly highly customizable, in ways other editors don't stack up against. Its lack of bloat also is a nice addition to a great product.
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Return on Investment
Bare Bones Software
  • It saves me time, not only with web projects, but even with design, when I want to strip out formatting in text, I bring it in to BBEdit to clean it up.
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Open Source
  • Emacs is free software, there is no cost at all.
  • It has helped tremendously in situations where many, or large, log files need to be searched.
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