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Emacs vs Xcode: What are the differences?

Emacs: The extensible self-documenting text editor. GNU Emacs is an extensible, customizable text editor—and more. At its core is an interpreter for Emacs Lisp, a dialect of the Lisp programming language with extensions to support text editing; Xcode: The complete toolset for building great apps. The Xcode IDE is at the center of the Apple development experience. Tightly integrated with the Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks, Xcode is an incredibly productive environment for building amazing apps for Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

Emacs belongs to "Text Editor" category of the tech stack, while Xcode can be primarily classified under "Integrated Development Environment".

Some of the features offered by Emacs are:

  • Content-sensitive editing modes, including syntax coloring, for a variety of file types including plain text, source code, and HTML.
  • Complete built-in documentation, including a tutorial for new users.
  • Full Unicode support for nearly all human languages and their scripts.

On the other hand, Xcode provides the following key features:

  • Source Editor
  • Assistant Editor
  • Asset Catalog

"Vast array of extensions" is the top reason why over 57 developers like Emacs, while over 127 developers mention "IOS Development" as the leading cause for choosing Xcode.

Pinterest, Instacart, and Lyft are some of the popular companies that use Xcode, whereas Emacs is used by Webedia, Flexport, and Edify. Xcode has a broader approval, being mentioned in 1051 company stacks & 603 developers stacks; compared to Emacs, which is listed in 99 company stacks and 73 developer stacks.

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What is Emacs?

GNU Emacs is an extensible, customizable text editor—and more. At its core is an interpreter for Emacs Lisp, a dialect of the Lisp programming language with extensions to support text editing.

What is Xcode?

The Xcode IDE is at the center of the Apple development experience. Tightly integrated with the Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks, Xcode is an incredibly productive environment for building amazing apps for Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
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    What are some alternatives to Emacs and Xcode?
    Atom
    At GitHub, we're building the text editor we've always wanted. A tool you can customize to do anything, but also use productively on the first day without ever touching a config file. Atom is modern, approachable, and hackable to the core. We can't wait to see what you build with it.
    Eclipse
    Standard Eclipse package suited for Java and plug-in development plus adding new plugins; already includes Git, Marketplace Client, source code and developer documentation. Click here to file a bug against Eclipse Platform.
    Vim
    Vim is an advanced text editor that seeks to provide the power of the de-facto Unix editor 'Vi', with a more complete feature set. Vim is a highly configurable text editor built to enable efficient text editing. It is an improved version of the vi editor distributed with most UNIX systems. Vim is distributed free as charityware.
    Spacemacs
    Since version 0.101.0 and later Spacemacs totally abolishes the frontiers between Vim and Emacs. The user can now choose his/her preferred editing style and enjoy all the Spacemacs features. Even better, it is possible to dynamically switch between the two styles seamlessly which makes it possible for programmers with different styles to do seat pair programming using the same editor.
    Visual Studio Code
    Build and debug modern web and cloud applications. Code is free and available on your favorite platform - Linux, Mac OSX, and Windows.
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    Decisions about Emacs and Xcode
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    How developers use Emacs and Xcode
    Avatar of Ryan VanBelkum
    Ryan VanBelkum uses XcodeXcode

    Even though React Native takes care of most of the heavy lifting, there are still some cases where we need xcode. These cases include app icon integration, mobile deployments, loading screens, ect...

    Avatar of Refractal
    Refractal uses XcodeXcode

    Xcode is our primary development platform for iOS applications, with a very fully featured set of dev tools for the platform. For everything else, there's Sublime Text 3.

    Avatar of Nick De Cooman
    Nick De Cooman uses XcodeXcode

    Experience with Xcode in the context of iOS development. This includes Storyboards, Debugging tools and the Simulator.

    Avatar of Ujjwal Bhujel
    Ujjwal Bhujel uses XcodeXcode

    QA and Testing have been so much easier with the help of its simulators on Apple Devices like; iPhones and iPads.

    Avatar of Promethean TV
    Promethean TV uses XcodeXcode

    PrometheanTV provides SDKs for IOS devices and utilizes the XCode IDE for development and testing purposes.

    Avatar of Yoandy Rodriguez
    Yoandy Rodriguez uses EmacsEmacs

    Emacs is my text editor/frontend to git/ blog editor/ filesystem explorer/ tool for editing remote files.

    Avatar of Mathias Vonende
    Mathias Vonende uses EmacsEmacs

    'The' editor for erlang/otp-systems, integrates niceley with git.

    Avatar of Ismael Arenzana
    Ismael Arenzana uses EmacsEmacs

    Editor of choice. Vi fanboys please don't comment.

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