sublime compared with vs code

There’s a pretty good discussion in the Sublime Forum comparing Sublime with VS Code. Here’s my two cents.

I first started programming in JavaScript when my primary job was in Java development. My IDE was Eclipse, which was used by everyone in the company. I would occasionally have to tweak some JavaScript code. And Eclipse worked fine for that.

Later, I started working full time on a rather large Node.js codebase. One of my JavaScript developer friends highly recommended Sublime. I wound up using that code editor for years. I’m too embarrassed to say how long it took me to pay for a license, but eventually, I did. Kudos to the Sublime crew for building a very solid product!

Last year I went to a meetup where a demo was done in VS Code. It looked okay, but I was skeptical… It’s a Microsoft product, and it’s free? What’s the hitch? I was happy enough with Sublime, so while I did try out VS Code, very briefly, I didn’t switch.

It was only a few months later that I heard from my JavaScript developer friend – he had switched to VS Code! I decided to try it. The switch from Sublime to VS Code was very easy, and I’ve been using it for a few months now.

I can’t exactly explain why, but I think the main reason I stuck with it is that Sublime is sometimes unresponsive, whereas VS Code is snappier. However, I’ve noticed that other developers complain that VS Code can be slow for them, so maybe there’s some peculiarity on my system (Ubuntu) which causes that.

I like the “look and feel” of VS Code better than Sublime. I get the impression that it does code completion better than Sublime, but I don’t actually have any facts to back that up.

On the other hand, I have a few problems with VS Code. It has a weird way of forgetting my word wrap settings. I’ll be editing a text file and use Alt-z to wrap text and everything’s good to go. Then I close VS Code, and the next time I open it, my word wrap setting is gone and I have to redo it. Not cool! I also prefer the way that you “quick switch” workspaces in Sublime. But these are minor quibbles.

I’m not convinced that VS Code is the wave of the future. And I’m still waiting for a bomb from MS to drop (“oops we’ve decided to charge a $500 subscription now that you’re hooked on VS Code!”). I may switch back to Sublime, sooner or later.

Some others have switched from Sublime to VS Code: Nick Janetackis, Zell Liew, Mike Herchel, and others. Andrew Davis gives some good reasons for sticking with Sublime (mostly about working on PHP code, and I agree with him there, I think Sublime rocks for editing PHP).

My main reason for not switching code editors up until now is that I prefer to spend as little time tinkering with dev tools as possible. As a fullstack dev, I already have plenty of excitement dealing with multiple technologies on a regular basis. When I’m working, I want to spend time getting stuff done. I do recognize that little inefficiencies can really add up to less productivity in the longer term, though! So it’s good to explore new tools once in a while. Spending the time now to tweak a tool, or learning how to switch over to a new one, may eventually save you time in the long run.

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  1. Pingback: editing React files in VS Code results in a Parsing error – Full Stack Oasis

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