IDE and code editor

First we should distinguish between an IDE and a code editor.

Simply put, an IDE is a set of integrated tools: a text editor, compiler, build or integrate, debug, and so on. IDEs are usually limited to one coding language or framework.

But sometimes we just need the tool we use to edit code — the code editor. Unlike a typical IDE, a code editor can be used in any coding language or framework you like.

An IDE contains all the functionality of a code editor, but a code editor can’t give you the full toolset of an IDE.

The first IDE in the universe: Visual Studio

It is well known that Visual Studio is one of the most famous integrated development environments, known as the first IDE in the universe. It can be used for almost anything: Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, cloud development — all of which Visual Studio can do. Just because it’s so powerful doesn’t mean it will meet your needs. That’s why some alternatives are sometimes needed.

Despite being a multi-billion dollar company and striving for perfection, Microsoft has never created a perfect product. Every one of their products (including Visual Studio) is riddled with problems and bugs, large and small. The biggest problems with Visual Studio are:

  • It’s a monster. If your computer is not that powerful, it can take up a lot of disk space and slow your system down.
  • If you’re not familiar with the process of writing code, searching for the necessary options and functions can be daunting. Visual Studio has a daunting learning curve compared to other IDEs.
  • There’s no auto-save option, so you could lose all progress in a flash.
  • The command-line interface may sometimes be unresponsive.
  • Integration with DevOps needs to be improved, such as Git.
  • As stated earlier, Visual Studio is a behemoth, and its price speaks for itself.

Sublime Text 3


This is an open, lightweight, and exceptionally fast code editor. It’s worth mentioning that there is a large and growing number of plugins available to customize Git plugins, color pickers, and the overall look and feel of your application. Sublime Text 3 is free if you don’t mind the annoying pop-up window that reminds you of your purchase.



Developed by Microsoft, Codespaces is new, untested and leaves a lot of room for improvement. The editor is cloud-based, which means it extends the capabilities of collaborative development.

Codespaces can also run offline, which is a great option for browser-based code editors. It has Git Repos support and an editable command-line interface that allows you to edit, run, and debug your programs from any device and does not rely on extensions. To create even more synergy, Codespaces can launch directly from GitHub. It’s currently free, but Microsoft plans to introduce a paid plan.



This is a code editor developed by GitHub. Initially influenced by Sublime Text’s snazzy new style. Atom, unlike Sublime Text, is open source and is integrated with Git and GitHub. It does start up much slower than other code editors, but if it provides reliability and speed of use, it’s worth the extra seconds.



Brackets are the products of Adobe. Unfortunately, the open source, full-featured code editor has no disadvantages: syntax highlighting supports few languages compared to other products. However, it supports CSS preprocessors such as LESS and Sass because it focuses on front-end technologies. In addition to the preprocessor, there is another feature that is useful when editing CSS: you can use a hotkey to pop up a small portion of the HTML page and then edit the CSS rules that affect the selected element. Thus, you save time by searching around your code to solve style problems.

But it also has significant disadvantages: speed and reliability is not high. However, unlike other editors, Brackets have several unique features, most of which can be configured from the menu. Despite having some drawbacks, Brackets is one of the better code editors out there.



Strictly speaking, Vim is a command-line software that is itself included in Linux OS and MacOS, and can also be downloaded and used on Windows.

Vim operates entirely through the keyboard, which makes it faster and more efficient, but only if you’re prepared to learn how to do it. Vim is more customizable than other code editors, allowing you to create custom commands that are appropriate for your workflow. But with no UI, the learning curve is steep. However, if you keep at it, you’ll end up with a very stable, fast code editor, which will definitely increase your productivity and give you amazing power.

IntelliJ IDEA


Unlike all of the IDEs mentioned earlier, IntelliJ IDEA is not free, which is a disadvantage. But on the other hand, you get a rich set of development tools. It integrates various tools to make your software development process more efficient and accurate. In addition, IntelliJ IDEA simplifies client-side and server-side scripting, which is very useful. So it’s one of the best alternatives to Visual Studio on the market.


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This is an IDE for Java development, but it is compatible with many languages, such as: JavaScript, Python, C, ABAP, Haskell, C#, C++, Ada, Lasso, and more. It’s free and runs on Mac, Linux, and Windows devices. Includes a full-featured and powerful Java IDE. The system is extensible and its workspace is highly adaptable. Although it is best suited for developing Java applications, it can also provide different language solutions.

Xcode IDE


This is a free IDE for Apple devices. The interface is very intuitive and easy to use. During the coding process, the Xcode IDE automatically provides resources that are appropriate for your specific coding process without interrupting the actual development. Navigation is very smooth with the assistant editor and jump bar. Regardless of the target device, you can test your application using different pre-installed and customizable working scenarios.



NetBeans is a free IDE developed in Java that runs on a modular architecture, has a powerful toolset and code editor, and is easy to use.



It’s expensive, but it works well. Because Outsystems provides you with stable functionality, mobile device support, and customization. It’s powerful, and if used properly, it can help you build, develop, and customize applications that can run on any device and fit any business need.



Code::Blocks is an open source IDE, and its free IDE solution is the ultimate. It’s very easy to extend. But you do need to write the Code::Blocks debugging framework, which includes custom memory dumps, Code and information breakpoints, disassembly lists, and many other useful features.



It provides instant analysis and detects errors that may occur during the process. The personalized editor allows you to customize the interface to your own preferences. The supported IntelliJ Platform extension further customizes your workspace and gives you additional support, integration, and frameworks.

AWS Cloud9


The IDE runs on a cloud-based platform that is not only compatible with many programming languages, but also allows for collaborative code building online, making it an efficient and flexible development environment. Its Web-based features also define built-in functions such as a code editor, debugger, and the ability to add input commands,



It is more suitable for small-scale development. For those just getting started, the Java development environment is very friendly. At the same time, Bluej can also be used for interactive creation and invocation of objects.

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