Both WebStorm and VS Code target web and application development — but the platforms are significantly different. WebStorm is a proprietary integrated development environment, while VS Code is an open-source, lightweight code editor.
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What is WebStorm?
WebStorm provides extensive automated processes and built-in tools to complete complicated programming tasks. Other features include unit testing, advanced version control and a built-in HTTP client.
What is VS Code?
VS Code is not an IDE, which can lead to some confusion. “Visual Studio” is Microsoft’s IDE platform, while Visual Studio Code/VS Code is Microsoft’s code editor. The two products can be used together.
However, VS Code does include advanced features like syntax highlighting, intelligent code completion and debugging support.
WebStorm vs. VS Code: Feature comparison
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Head-to-head comparison: WebStorm vs. VS Code
IDE vs. code editor
Let’s start with the most obvious and important difference between WebStorm and VS Code.
Conversely, VS Code is a lightweight, open-source code editor. A programmer can still develop an app from start to finish within VS Code, but there are fewer features available — it isn’t a full development environment. That being said, VS Code still provides programmers with a number of quality of life features, such as code assistance and debugging support.
WebStorm provides advanced code assistance beyond mere code completion. As you type, the code will be automatically completed for you. But you can also “generate code;” WebStorm will use pre-built templates to remove tedious, routine programming tasks.
As primarily a code editor, VS Code doesn’t have advanced code generation features — but it does have an intelligent auto-complete. Based on context, the editor will make auto-complete suggestions, which you can easily accept by pressing the “tab” key.
Note that VS Code has begun to pilot an AI system. This system is still an extension rather than built-in, but AI code generation will likely come to the platform shortly.
WebStorm is a paid, proprietary, and licensed system — it must be licensed directly from its developer.
VS Code is a free, open-source platform. It is available on GitHub and licensed through MIT.
The distinction goes beyond how much these systems cost. WebStorm’s support comes primarily from its developer, while VS Code has an active open-source community.
Refactoring and testing
WebStorm vs. VS Code: Which should you choose?
More than most, this should be a relatively easy decision. These platforms are substantially different enough that most programmers will have a clear favorite.
Choose WebStorm if:
- You’re interested in AI code-generation features.
- You want a fully integrated development environment.
Choose VS Code if:
- You want a lightweight, easy-to-use code editor.