WebStorm vs VSCode : what’s the difference?

WebStorm and Visual Studio Code are the two big names in the developers world. In this article, I'll present my view on each of them as well as what they're good and bad at.

WebStorm vs VSCode : General consensus

WebStorm marketed itself as the smartest JavaScript IDE. Visual Studio Code defined as a code editor optimized for building and debugging modern web and cloud applications

WebStorm is a full-blown IDE while VSCode is an advanced source code editor.

WebStorm is geared towards JavaScript, Nodejs and web-based frameworks; whereas VSCode can be configured to work with many different programming languages.

VSCode aims to "Combines UI of a modern editor with code assistance and navigation", while WebStorm provides “Coding assistance for JavaScript and TypeScript” as a key feature.

Lightweight, fast and rich ecosystem are what people said about VSCode; whereas Easy JavaScript debugging, Intelligent IDE and "just-work" are the features of WebStorm.

Opinionated comparison between WebStorm and VSCode

WebStorm advantages over VSCode:

  • Better experience out of the box, no need for additional plugins.
  • No learning curve if you are already familiar with Jetbrains IDEs.
  • Intelligent, powerful refactoring features.
  • Superior code coverage and testing tools.
  • Navigates big codebase without any issues.
  • Super smart autocomplete.
  • Lots of other little features - suggestions in package.yml when you try to add a new library, jumping between definition and usage of any given class/function/component, TODO detector (useful when you leave some notes in code) and so on and on.

WebStorm disadvantages over VSCode:

  • Takes up a huge chunk of RAM and CPU power.
  • Commercial software

VSCode advantages over WebStorm

  • Free and open-source.
  • Snappier, faster (by leaps and bounds), starts in a blink of an eye.
  • Takes up less resources than WebStorm (but it's still Chromium at its heart, so it's still a greedy RAM hog).
  • Rich ecosystem, huge collection of extensions.
  • Extendable easily through extensions.

VSCode disadvantages over WebStorm

  • Autocomplete, refactoring features are not so strong as in WebStorm.
  • Clunky performance with big codebases, especially searching.
  • Not so good debugger.
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