Text editors are the bread and butter of a great coding experience. The right one can make coding a breeze with plenty of customizations for a uniquely tailored experience. However, the wrong program can turn coding into a frustrating task. Choosing the right editor for your needs, and being able to customize it to how you work will streamline the learning process of coding.
While searching for the right text editor, you’ll come across several options that’ll pop up repeatedly in your research: Sublime and Visual Studio Code among them. The programs themselves are quite comparable, so let’s take a look with a more in-depth analysis and assess if one of them may be the best option for you.
What Does Visual Studio Code Have to Offer?
Visual Studio Code was developed by Microsoft for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Virtual Studio Code is free, has a vast amount of plug-ins, and is integrated with Git to allow for even more development possibilities. The program also offers a sidebar, which makes it easy for users to create and move files.
One of its most acclaimed features is the automatic debugging function. Typically, it can take ages to find code errors, but by clicking just one hotkey, Visual Studio Code will highlight the errors that need fixing. With the addition of this convenient feature, Visual Studio Code officially qualifies as an IDE, meaning it can function beyond the capability of an average text editor. Visual Studio Code can debug, note, and manage the resources on code, therefore handling a decent amount of workload, so that the user doesn’t have to.
The user experience of the software is seamless, with virtually zero lag, and a clean feel to the text and dashboard. Some say Visual Studio Code is comparable to a near identical extent with Sublime, with it’s only major difference being the price. However, there are still some areas where Visual Studio Code misses the mark.
What Visual Studio Code Doesn’t Do (Very Well)
Visual Studio Code is a wonderful text editor, especially as a newcomer on the market. However, being so new, the developers still have some hurdles to overcome. Its open source nature allows for constant developments, but there are still a few issues with the program that might contribute to a subpar coding experience.
For one, having too many extensions at the same time will compromise its speed. If the extensions are not properly lined up, running the code can slow down the window so much that you would need to reload it. It’s good to keep in mind that Visual Studio Code is a lightweight program, therefore it has limitations on speed and load size.
Visual Studio Code also does not allow users to work on a project in two separate windows. This means if you wanted to work with individual files loaded onto the same project, you’d have to work with them one at a time. After making changes in one file, you would have to close it before opening the next to correlate the changes.
When you begin coding, this will not be very much of an issue. But as you increase your project complexity and size, you’ll add and edit more files per project. That means you’ll edit multiple files per project and need to match the variables between each file. It’s much easier to check your work via a side-by-side cross examination instead of one file at a time.
Are Visual Studio Codes’ Positives Worth the Negatives?
Overall, Visual Studio Code is a fantastic free text editor. The handy sidebar and debugging feature make editing an easy process. Although it would be nice to be able to open multiple files at once, Visual Studio Code still has plenty to offer with its multiple plug-ins, direct connection to GitHub, and clean aesthetic that allows your eyes to rest as you mull over miles of code.
However, it’s hard to decide if Visual Studio Code’s positives outweigh the negatives as we have yet to review it’s competition, Sublime. Let’s take a look at how this free software lines up with its $80 rival.
Sublime’s Best Qualities
Sublime often makes the cut as one of the highest rated text editors. Created in 2008, Sublime is a veteran in the tech industry. Like Visual Studio Code, Sublime also supports Linux, Mac, and Windows for an optimal experience. It has had no problem keeping up with the rapid changes of its field and remains one of the most versatile programs for coders and developers alike.
Sublime’s greatest claim to fame is its speed. It is a “heavier” piece of software than Visual Studio Code, and it’s designed to handle large projects with elegance. It can utilize and open multiple files at a time, allowing users to cross check their files for fast project building and thorough organization. However, Sublime is more than just a fast text editor.
Like Visual Studio Code, Sublime qualifies as an IDE, minus the automatic debugging feature. The trade off? Sublime can compile C++ in a program, without connection to a separate compiler. Perhaps the richest features of Sublime are the customizations achieved by its multitudes of extensions.
When you first open Sublime, it appears as a very bareboned editor. This is because the program relies on the user to add on whatever they find most useful to their experience. While this feature makes the experience worthwhile for well-seasoned developers, it can be quite difficult for beginners to get accustomed to the software. Learning Sublime, and the necessary plug-ins to optimize the experience, is nearly a lesson in coding in itself!
However, with a little knowledge of the perfect extensions that fit your personal coding style, Sublime makes for an amazing platform. You can plug in a sidebar just like Virtual Studio Code, and use some of it’s built-in features, like Command Pallet (which auto fills functions), multi-file editing, and the GoTo function.
What Can’t Sublime Do?
Certainly no one program can do it all, and this means the same for Sublime. For one, it can afford to offer everything it has because of the $80 price tag on its full license. Even with a 30-day free trial, it’s a steep price for those who are still on the fence about which editor that best fits their needs. Consider wisely as Sublime’s perks mostly come from the extensions and plug-ins which require some getting-used to.
On top of that, there are some wonderful features that Visual Studio Code offers which Sublime simply lacks, such as the automatic debugging function that is hands down hard to beat and the convenience provided by a sidebar.
Sublime or Visual Studio Code: Which One Will Work for You?
These two text editors are essentially very similar – both are IDEs with an amazing performance and a clean appearance. Sublime may be more capable of handling large projects between it’s multi-file editing, and GoTo functions. However, it’s hard to beat Visual Studio Code’s auto debugger and well-designed sidebar.
Overall, you’ll most likely find the best experience has to do with your personal experience level. Visual Studio Code is a free software that enables plug-ins and extensions while still providing some out-of-the-box features that make even the most basic setup highly functional. This may be the best option for students and beginners as they learn how to navigate the fundamentals.
However, as you move into larger, more complex projects, Sublime can’t be beat. The ability to edit multiple files at one time and the built-in compiler, though only for C++, will be tremendously helpful for a smooth and speedy coding process.
Our best advice is simply to get out there and play around with your options. Get to know the basics on Visual Studio Code, then try the free trial of Sublime. Eventually, you will find the right fit for you. And when you do? Well, coding is a world of endless possibilities, and we’re here to guide you through it!