IDE Recommendations?

I’m just about to launch on phase 2 of my FCC journey… Sass and REACT.js. Codepen has been a great environment for my initial HTML-CSS-JS projects but that seems to be the limit of it’s capabilities (unless I missed something fundamental). So where should I go next for an integrated development environment that gives me what I had in Codepen but can scale up for Sass, REACT and other tools/libraries I’m going to need?

I’m experimenting with WebStorm because I have some experience with PyCharm but struggling with the SASS/SCSS file watcher configs. I once installed Eclipse and NetBeans (because they were free) but never really got any traction. Or perhaps there are better suites or tool combos I haven’t discovered.

I eventually want an environment that will enable me to do both client work, including mobile devices (JS) and back-end server work (Node). Would be grateful for insights from those with more experience.

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I’ve used PhpStorm in the past, and love it. However, lately I’ve been using mostly MS Visual Studio Code and it has been fantastic. It’s free, lightweight, and built using web technology. It works great for Javascript, Node, and TypeScript. If you decide to give it a try, let me know what you think.

p.s. There is an episode of Javascript Jabber that discusses how VS:Code was made. It’s an interesting listen.

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I have visual studio and Webstorm but they both feel too slow. So far I’ve liked sublime the best.

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Visual studio, or Visual studio code ? The second one is surprisingly fast. I have been using a demo of sublime text for almost a year (shame on me) before finally getting something actually free. The transition has been painless :slight_smile:

Have a glance through this, many campers here have given their preferences for what IDE / Editor they like to use: Link…

My personal preference is WebStorm by JetBrains

Sublime Text and Atom seem to be the light-weight kings of coding. Atom is free, Sublime nags you to purchase.
However, they’re text editors, as opposed to full-fledged IDEs.
Both require a bunch of add-in packages to get features up to par with full-scale IDEs, and are really great at customization, if you are very particular about how you code, and which of the various helper features you use for your projects.

More recently, Visual Studio Code (also based on the Electron shell that was built at first for Atom), has really taken off. It’s fast and well-endowed with polished features. Essentially, the difference between VSC, Atom and Sublime are marginal, in my opinion.
They all try to do the exact same things for you. Their community-provided packages / addons give you things like snippets, themes, automations, intellisense to some extent, linters, custom panels with all kinds of toys like an in-editor browser, slack chats, build and unit test views etc…

Webstorm is very popular and offers a lot of the above out of the box, but quite heavy-weight and perhaps a bit much if you’re still learning. Same for things like Eclipse-based editors (Nodeclipse, anyone?) and what have you.

Personally, I am an avid Atom user, having been with it since the day they open-sourced it. It allows me to use only those features I really need, and add toys as and when I want them. Most of the time, the only stuff I need is proper syntax highlighting with themes, automatic indentation and closing of tags and curly braces, and that’s about it. Especially while still learning!

I forgot Notepad++, which is probably the fastest among all of the above. It feels too much like Notepad to me, personally. But it’s eye-popping fast compared to Atom or Sublime and gets the basic text editing job done. Just don’t expect any major IDE features, although it does have a small plugin ecosystem.

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You should also consider I have only been using this a few weeks but like it and it seems to be gaining traction in the coding community. Really it comes down to what you feel most comfortable with. I have also used Sublime, Dreamweaver and Webstorm and think they are excellent also.

Right now I am an Atom fan! :slight_smile:


Thanks Rick… I saw the earlier thread on similar topic. It is a great set of responses, lots of useful info, and somewhat beyond my current understanding, although I am parsing through for the learning experience. My takeaway was that experienced coders have the skill to create their own custom environments using their favorite tools. Before Codepen, the text editor I last used to code was vi. :wink:

Great responses from all… thanks everyone. Based on the foregoing it seems my preferred options would be as follows:

  • for customizable editor, it’s Atom or Sublime.

  • for IDE, it’s VS Code or WebStorm.

I’ll start my journey with the Free Open Source options… Atom while deciding whether or not I want to pursue the full IDE with VS Code.

Really appreciate all your insights Folks!

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VS Code is not a full IDE though, it’s on the same level as Atom (and also free) and Sublime.
“Visual Studio Code” is a different product than “Visual Studio” (which is indeed a full IDE).

I am not quite sure why so many people here are recommending webstorm, and other ide’s from jet brains. They are 120$ per year, while on the other hand you can get a free editors with similar features. Having 90% of their extra features I am not using does not justify the price IMO.

( I was using PyCharm for a while, honestly I don’t need all those ‘run in the background bloat’, vim and atom can handle everything just fine).

@GreatDanton for a lot of student use you may be correct, a professional grade IDE may be over the top. But the feature set on these IDE’s are deep and rich. I learn a new trick using WebStorm every other day it seems. The debugger tool set alone is worth the money to me. One more point, I spend a great deal of effort and time doing FCC work, I’m doing it full time right now actually, and I believe the time I spend learning all the many features of a tool like WebStorm will reap great benefits down the road, and after all, if I am going to be doing all that work anyway, if I should learn a professional grade tool on top of that - isn’t that time very well spent?


You might also want check out [Aptana Studio] (, a rebuild of Eclipse geared towards web development.

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And indeed, this comparison of major web IDEs:


In case there isn’t enough to read about here, check out this thread too.

I’d suggest sublime and gulp. Sublime is really fast and once you get to know the commands and plugins it gets really cool to code there. You can add lots of nice features, like opening console from project folder, adding new files with shortcodes. Although sublime is not IDE, with plugins it can get really close to them. Also, you can try Atom.
With gulp, you can take care of sass compilations, code minifications and livereloading the browser page.

If you wanna stay in the cloud/web based environment, like Codepen, you can use

Sublime for text editor. Atom or Pycharm for IDE.

If you work with any Microsoft stack, Visual Studio (Community or 2015/2013, express etc) is a must.
You can get around it with Xamarin for multi-platform.

Some java devs love Netbeans and Eclipse but I have NEVER used them.

I’m currently loving PyCharm and Webstorm, I don’t pay for them since I have a year student licence.

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I am at the same now (late March) as you were in June 16. How did you go with your IDE selection?