WebStorm vs Visual Studio Code

I often see developers comparing JetBrains WebStorm and Visual Studio Code. There’s often some argument about which one is better. Since is the internet and every else shares their opinion here, I figure I’ll do the same. Here’s what I think:

I love VS Code and use it every day.

But I often like JetBrains’ IDEs even more, because when I’m really in the zone it feels like I’m pair programming with a psychic. If I know a symbol (class, function, constant, whatever) is defined¬†somewhere¬†in my code, or in a library my project can see…I just start typing the name of the thing I want to use, even if I haven’t imported it into the file I’m working on.

99 times out of 100, WebStorm (or PyCharm, or IntelliJ, or Rider, depending on what language I’m working in) knows what I intended to use well before I’m done typing it. So with a single keystroke, I’m able to autocomplete the line I’m typing, and the IDE will, if necessary, auto-add the import to the file I’m in so I don’t have to do that manually.

At various times I’ve come close to this experience in VS Code – but it varies a lot based on the language. The code indexing and intelligent code completion in the JetBrains IDEs just seems very in tune with my thinking and my workflow, and it’s very consistent across languages…whether I’m working in JS, Java, Python, C#, or TypeScript, the overall experience has the same smooth “feel” to it. So I’m very aware that my positive experience with these IDEs may be very specific to the way my brain is wired.

I find that the JetBrains IDEs also have better debuggers and better profiling tools.

That’s not to take anything away from VS Code. As I mentioned, I love it. Most days, I’ve got a JetBrains IDE and VS Code open at the same time, and often on the same codebase. VS Code feels a lot snappier and is quicker to start up. Some days I’m just in a VS Code sort of mood, and it’s the only thing I use.

If I had to pick one and couldn’t use the other…I suppose I’d pick IntelliJ/WebStorm. But if I had no choice but to use VS Code exclusively, I’d still be a happy camper. I think they’re both awesome tools and I’m happy I live in a world where I can use both of them.

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