VScode vs Others: the War on Code Editors

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Code editors are pivotal in software development, serving as the primary interface for programmers to write, edit, and debug code.

In recent years, the competition among code editors has intensified, with developers expressing strong preferences for their preferred tools.

This article dives into the war on code editors, focusing on the popular contender VScode (Visual Studio Code) and comparing it with other leading code editors.

Overview of VScode and other popular code editors

Visual Studio Code (VScode) is an open-source, lightweight code editor developed by Microsoft. It offers comprehensive features and functionalities that enhance the coding experience. Some key features of VScode include:

  • Intuitive user interface: VScode provides a clean and easy-to-navigate user interface, making it accessible for beginners and experienced developers.
  • Cross-platform compatibility: VScode is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux, ensuring a consistent experience across different operating systems.
  • Integrated terminal: VScode includes an integrated terminal that allows developers to run commands and interact with the command-line interface without leaving the editor.
  • Language support: VScode supports many programming languages, including popular ones like JavaScript, Python, Java, C++, and many more. It provides intelligent code completion, syntax highlighting, and code formatting specific to each language.
  • Extensions marketplace: VScode boasts a vast collection of extensions in its marketplace, allowing developers to customize and extend the editor’s functionality. These extensions range from themes and snippets to powerful tools for specific frameworks, making VScode adaptable to different development needs.
  • Git integration: VScode offers seamless integration with Git, a popular version control system. It provides features like viewing Git diffs, staging changes, and resolving merge conflicts within the editor, streamlining the development workflow.

User base and community support

VScode has gained immense popularity and has a large user base. Its intuitive interface, extensive feature set, and active community support have contributed to its rapid growth.

The VScode community actively develops and maintains a wide range of extensions, themes, and plugins, fostering a collaborative environment where developers can share their knowledge and enhance the editor’s functionality.

The vibrant community ensures continuous improvement and support for the editor, making it a go-to choice for many developers.

Integration with other tools and extensions

One of the standout features of VScode is its seamless integration with various tools and extensions, enabling developers to build customized workflows.

VScode integrates with popular development tools like linters, task runners, test frameworks, and build systems.

Furthermore, it supports debugging for multiple programming languages and frameworks, making identifying and fixing code issues easier.

The extensibility of VScode allows developers to tailor their editing environment to match their specific requirements and enhance productivity.

Other popular code editors

Sublime Text

Sublime Text is a proprietary code editor known for its speed, simplicity, and extensive customization options. It offers a distraction-free writing mode and a powerful search and replaces functionality and support for multiple selections and split editing.

Sublime Text’s plugin ecosystem and package control make it highly customizable and adaptable to different programming languages and workflows.


Atom is an open-source code editor developed by GitHub. It focuses on providing a highly customizable and hackable editing experience.

Atom offers features like a smart autocompletion system, multiple panes for efficient multitasking, and a built-in package manager that enables developers to enhance and extend the editor’s functionality.

Its extensive library of community-created packages allows for endless customization possibilities.

IntelliJ IDEA

IntelliJ IDEA is a powerful and feature-rich Integrated Development Environment (IDE) specifically designed for Java development, although it also supports other languages.

Developed by JetBrains, IntelliJ IDEA offers advanced features like intelligent code analysis, refactorings, and deep integration with popular build tools.

Its comprehensive set of tools and features caters to the needs of Java developers, providing a highly productive development environment.


Emacs is a highly customizable and extensible text editor with a long-standing history in the software development community.

It offers a unique feature called “modes,” which allows developers to switch between different editing modes tailored for various tasks, such as coding, text editing, or file navigation.

Emacs provides extensive customization options through its Lisp-based scripting language, enabling developers to adapt the editor to their specific workflows and preferences.


Vim (Vi IMproved) is a powerful and popular code editor known for its modal editing capabilities. It operates in different modes, including normal mode for navigation, insert mode for editing, and command mode for executing commands.

Vim offers a lightweight and efficient editing experience, with features like powerful text manipulation commands, macros, and a wide range of plugins and customization options.

Although it has a steeper learning curve than other editors, Vim’s efficiency and speed make it a favorite among experienced developers.

Comparison of features and capabilities

To understand the strengths and weaknesses of code editors, it is essential to compare their key features and capabilities. This section explores various aspects:

  • User interface and customization options: The layout, themes, and plugin support provide a personalized coding experience.
  • Programming language support and syntax highlighting: Code editors differentiate themselves by providing extensive language support and accurate syntax highlighting.
  • Integrated development environment (IDE) features: Some code editors offer robust IDE functionalities, such as code completion, refactoring, and integrated debugging tools.
  • Code editing and productivity tools: Features like split view, multiple cursors, and advanced search options enhance productivity and streamline coding.
  • Debugging and version control capabilities: Efficient debugging and seamless integration with version control systems are essential for developers.

Popularity and adoption trends

The popularity of code editors is dynamic and subject to developer preferences. Surveys and statistics reveal interesting trends and provide insights into the most widely used code editors.

Factors such as ease of use, performance, community support, and availability of plugins contribute to their popularity.

Stats for 2020 show VS Code was used for 18,637,503 hours of programming, while the second-place editor, Chrome, notched only 3,087,864 hours.

Top Editors for 2020

This reporter always thought of Chrome as a browser with built-in dev tools, but the remaining top-ranked editors are more traditional: IntelliJ (2.7M hours); PhpStorm (2.5M hours), WebStorm (1.6M hours); Android Studio (1.5M hours); Visual Studio (1.2M hours); Sublime Text (985,623 hours); PyCharm (850,257 hours); and Vim (741,118 hours).

The finding isn’t surprising, as many other studies and surveys have long pointed to the popularity of VS Code.

Community and ecosystem

A thriving community and a robust ecosystem are essential for evaluating a code editor. They contribute to developers’ overall experience, support, and collaboration opportunities. Here are some key aspects to consider.

  • Extensions and Plugins: A strong code editor ecosystem offers a wide range of extensions and plugins, allowing developers to extend and customize their editor’s functionality according to their needs.
  • Developer Community: An active and engaged developer community fosters collaboration and knowledge-sharing and provides a platform for developers to seek help, share insights, and contribute to the ongoing development of the editor.
  • Support Forums and Resources: Access to support forums, documentation, tutorials, and other learning resources is crucial in helping developers overcome challenges, discover best practices, and stay up-to-date with the latest features and updates.

When choosing a code editor, considering the vibrancy of the ecosystem, the availability of extensions and plugins, the strength of the developer community, and the presence of active support forums can greatly enhance the development experience and facilitate growth as a developer.

Pros and cons of VScode and other code editors


  • Extensive ecosystem: VScode has a vast ecosystem of extensions, themes, and plugins, allowing developers to customize and enhance their coding experience based on their needs.
  • Popularity and community support: Being one of the most popular code editors, VScode benefits from a large user base and an active community. This results in continuous development, frequent updates, and strong community support.
  • User-friendly interface: VScode provides an intuitive and visually appealing interface that is easy to navigate, making it accessible for developers of all skill levels.
  • Cross-platform compatibility: VScode is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux, ensuring a consistent experience across different operating systems.
  • Integrated terminal: The integrated terminal in VScode allows developers to run commands and interact with the command-line interface without switching to a separate terminal window.
  • Language support and intelligent features: VScode supports a wide range of programming languages and provides intelligent features such as code completion, syntax highlighting, and code formatting tailored to each language.


  • Resource-intensive: Although VScode is relatively lightweight compared to full-fledged IDEs, it can still consume significant system resources, especially when working with large codebases or using resource-intensive extensions.
  • Steeper learning curve for advanced features: While the basics of VScode are easy to grasp, some advanced features and configurations may require a learning curve for new users.
  • Lack of deep integration for specific languages or frameworks: While VScode supports a wide range of programming languages, it may not offer as deep integration or specialized features for certain languages or frameworks compared to dedicated IDEs.

Pros and Cons of Other Code Editors

Sublime Text-Pros

  • Speed and performance: Sublime Text is known for its exceptional speed and performance, making it ideal for handling large codebases.
  • Extensive customization: Sublime Text offers extensive customization options, allowing users to tailor the editor to their preferences and needs.
  • Strong text editing capabilities: Sublime Text excels in powerful text editing features, including multiple selections, split editing, and search and replace.


  • Lack of official plugin ecosystem: Sublime Text’s plugin ecosystem, while substantial, is not officially maintained. This can result in some plugins lacking updates or compatibility with newer versions.
  • Proprietary software: Sublime Text is not open-source, which limits community-driven contributions and improvements.


  • Hackability and customization: Atom emphasizes customization and offers extensive options for users to modify and extend the editor’s functionality.
  • Active community and package ecosystem: Atom has a vibrant community actively develops and maintains a vast array of packages, themes, and plugins.
  • Cross-platform compatibility: Atom is available on multiple operating systems, allowing for a consistent platform experience.


  • Performance issues with large files: Atom’s performance can suffer when dealing with large files or working on resource-intensive projects.
  • Relatively high resource usage: Atom is known to be more resource-intensive than other code editors, which can impact overall system performance.

IntelliJ IDEA-Pros

  • Comprehensive IDE features: IntelliJ IDEA offers an extensive set of features, including advanced code analysis, intelligent code completion, and robust debugging capabilities.
  • Deep integration with Java ecosystem: IntelliJ IDEA provides excellent support for Java development, including build tools, frameworks, and seamless integration with popular Java libraries.
  • Powerful refactoring capabilities: IntelliJ IDEA excels in automated refactoring, making code maintenance and improvements more efficient.


  • Heavier memory and CPU usage: IntelliJ IDEA’s comprehensive features and extensive toolset can result in higher memory and CPU usage than lightweight code editors.


In the war on code editors, there is no clear winner. Developers have diverse needs and preferences, making it challenging to declare a universal champion.

As discussed throughout the article, choosing a code editor depends on individual requirements, language preferences, and workflow.

The ongoing war on code editors continues to drive innovation and improvements in the field, promising an exciting future for software developers.

In the end, the most important aspect is the code itself. Regardless of the code editor chosen, the quality, efficiency, and elegance of the code produced ultimately define the success of a developer, team, or project.

If you find this article thrilling, discover extra thrilling posts like this on Learnhub Blog; we write a lot of tech-related topics from Cloud computing to Frontend Dev, Cybersecurity, AI and Blockchain. Take a look at How to Build Offline Web Applications. 

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