A tale of text editors and IDEs, the not-so-objective comparison

Let me get this straight and reiterate what the title says. This isn’t an objective comparison by no means, even if I’m trying my best so it actually resembles what an objective software comparison should be (spoiler: I won’t succeed). I also should make a note here, nobody pays me a dime here, so do not worry, this is as objective as my human brain can be -so probably not much.

With all that negativity out of the way, let’s get on topic. There’s TONS of awesome text editors and IDEs out there, but over the years, some of them stand out and rise above the others. Today, I’ll be presenting three of my favourite text editors, so that you, as a newbie or experienced developer, may choose to try them out and decide for yourself -the only actual way of finding out what really works for you.

Bear in mind, that this is directed at front and back-end developers working with JavaScript, HTML and CSS (and their wonderful variety of frameworks) and may not work out for a C or Ruby dev.

Without further due, I present to you:



I just recently discovered Brackets, an open source editor by Adobe coded in JavaScript. Let me get this straight, brackets is plain awesome, especially while working on design and templating. It’s live preview feature speeds up development in a significant way, allowing us -the devs- to edit CSS and HTML code and instantly see the result on the page. And when I say instant, that’s exactly what I mean, it happens so freaking fast. It can also open PSD files and suggest CSS styles to achieve similar results with your code.


It may lack some functionality compared to other software, but wait, this is easily fixed thanks to the humongous amount of plugins available, just a few clicks away. The brackets extension manager present a huge variety of plugins and themes, including those must-have plugins (such as Emmet, which I’ll cover in a new blog post soon) we all love.
Regarding performance, while Brackets is fast, it’s not the fastest. It’s not the slowest either.

Anyhow, if you want to get a taste of Brackets, go ahead and download it, it’s free!


Sublime Text

A community favorite, Sublime Text has a few features that make it great, for me, it’s the amount of extensions available and it incredible speed and performance. Sublime is fast. Very fast. I could open 5 Sublime Text instances while Brackets loads.

On the other hand, it does lack some functionality compared to it’s competition, but Sublime text is… Very sublime. It focuses on code and code alone. I always recommend Sublime Text to those starting out in the world of development. It’s simplicity and lack of complicated functionalities make it an awesome editor for those learning. Large IDEs try to autocomplete everything all the time, Sublime Text tries to give you some tools to speed up your typing, but does not interfere at any time, and that’s great.

Sublime Text

Go ahead and download Sublime Text! The free version is exactly what you get with the complete version except for one little detail; it shows a “Buy me!” pop up every few saves you do, it’s not much of a problem, and if you do fall in love with Sublime Text, consider buying it!


JetBrains WebStorm

The big boy in town, WebStorm is a complete IDE specifically tailored for Web Developers. It’s large array of advanced functionalities (live preview, JavaScript debugger, version control and MANY more), make it one of the best solutions for any kind of project you may want to tackle.

One could argue that WebStorm may be scary to someone getting into development for the first time. And that person would be right. I would only use WebStorm on larger scale projects, and once you are working on production level stuff. The large amount of functionalities come at a performance cost -even if not too significant- but if you’re new to development, an IDE of this size will just hinder your progress. Relying to much on it’s debugging tools and code completion may be godsent to professional web developers, but once should start out with something simpler, such as Sublime Text.

JetBrains WebStorm

Do not get me wrong, I use WebStorm for most projects involving the use of a framework such as Angular.js; it’s the best thing out there, and it’s version control settings are very welcome.

You may want to give it a shot and get a license (or try the 30 day trial – it’s $50 after that, with various discounts for startups and students), since it is not free, but well worth the price.

I’ll stop here. Short list, I know, but the good stuff is in there. If you’ve been coding for a while, you might be infuriated, smashing your fist against the table and screaming VIM, Emacs or even Notepad++ very loudly. But I like to keep things fresh, and these 3 can do anything you need them to.

Each piece of software here is unique and has a purpose. While -very- different, these three editors are, in my totally opinionated take on the subject, totally worth trying. Each of them fills a niche area of development.

Brackets.io – Styling and templating – Official site
Sublime Text – Simple, functional and FAST editor with minimal distractions – Official site
JetBrains WebStorm – Full featured IDE for larger projects where features such as integrated version control and organization are necessary – Official site