Opinions range all over when you ask any developer about their text editor or IDE (integrated development editor) of choice. You’ll probably. hear, “The only way to go is VS Code” or “That I’m stuck on VIM” - there a hundreds of reasons why you would choose one over the other depending on your project needs and personal preferences. While I don’t ever like to tell somebody what text editor they should be comfortable with, I do always recommend a paid and professional editor like the Jet Brains Product Suite, Sublime, or B.B. Edit because of their ability to speed up development and make your production code more secure and beautiful.
I was inspired to write this after watching my favorite YouTube Dev Channel, FireShip, who graciously reviewed 10 of the more popular code editors. I highly recommend watching that first, then coming back and reading the rest of this post.
First of all, if you returned to the blog post or continued reading and didn’t get stuck on YouTube watching funny FireShip videos, I commend you. But hopefully that was a good intro to the different nature of what each text editor has to offer. I honestly use probably all of these technologies in some form or another, depending on what I am doing - you probably won’t need to do this unless you spent most of your free time taking up random projects just for fun.
VS Code is a lightweight solution that most people use because it is highly productive and intuitive to pick up and use. Whenever I pick up a new repository to play with on GitHub, you can guarantee that I will pull it in using GitKraken (a GIT-GUI client that is a whole other topic of discussion) and then play with that repository in VS Code. It also has EMacs and VIM built in with extensions, so you have a whole environment compared to something more simple. You can still build wonderful applications and have outstanding productivity, but it doesn’t quite match up with Jet Brians products like WebStorm, Ruby Mine, or PyCharm for me.
Now before I jump into praising all Jet Brains products as the holy grail, it does have setbacks. For one, it is super heavy duty and will take up almost 3GB of application space (most of your drive) if you have adequate plug-ins and are developing a business application or website. This causes all of your other applications to constantly crash and ask for you to close out of WebStorm or whatever product you are using. You should only use one of these text editors if you are legitimately in development and production of a serious project that is making you money.
That is also because you have to pay for licensing on Jet Brains products. They have a fantastic deal that I’ve been able to keep up with, even on a very tight budget, costing only around $27 a month including tax. But if you are a hobby developer or are just learning, this may just be a cost that really isn’t economical in that it is returning real value to your project. You can utilize their 30 day free-license trial to see if you like their products, but ultimately you’ll be better off using Atom (soon to be discontinued *sniff, sniff*) or VS Code for free and you’ll still have many of the functionalities of what Web Storm or PyCharm offer.
But what these other editors can’t provide that Jet Brains does is a real, fully integrated development environment that focuses specifically on what you are doing and the language you are coding in. There are a lot of testing tools and features built in that are made specifically for certain frameworks and for the language you are coding in. When you focus tools and resources that are focused on one specific thing and are highly customizable, you are going to have a coding environment that is tailored to specifically what you need. I love sitting down for a big project and having all my dependencies already updated and ready to go before I’ve written a single line of code.
The picture above is a perfect example of why Jet Brians products rule - education and specialized tools. Every time you log into PyCharm, you are greeted with wonderful little tips that help you shave time off of your developer operations and allow you to hack your way to Uber productivity. Also notice how easy it is to set up Django on the Graphical User Interface. Bet that looks nice if your used to firing up your Django projects from the command line, eh?
There are so many ways to personalize Jet Brains products that I can’t really get too in depth on my setup for this post, but here is a good guide to 25 productivity tools you can integrate into Web Storm for now to get started. The main take away here is that I don’t think you can beat Jet Brains when it comes to a professional integrated development environment. If you have are freelancing or own your own business, you definitely should consider using something similar or have a good coding and testing environment for writing code.
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If you aren’t a developer you might not think this post pertains to you, but it really does. You should ask your developer what they use to write their code to make sure you picked the right agency or person for the job. If your developer doesn’t want to tell you or can’t explain why they use a certain tool, then you should probably consider somebody else.
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