IntelliJ IDEA vs Visual Studio Code

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IntelliJ IDEA vs Visual Studio Code: What are the differences?

Key Differences between IntelliJ IDEA and Visual Studio Code

IntelliJ IDEA and Visual Studio Code are two popular integrated development environments (IDEs) used by developers for software development. While both have their own unique features and capabilities, there are several key differences between the two:

  1. Interface and User Experience: IntelliJ IDEA provides a more feature-rich and complex interface, with a variety of tools and options available for customization. On the other hand, Visual Studio Code offers a simpler and more lightweight interface, focusing on providing a smooth and efficient user experience.

  2. Language Support: IntelliJ IDEA is primarily focused on Java development, providing extensive support and features specifically designed for Java projects. However, it also offers support for other programming languages like Kotlin, Scala, and more. In contrast, Visual Studio Code is a versatile IDE that supports a wide range of programming languages out of the box, including JavaScript, TypeScript, Python, C++, and many others.

  3. Plugins and Extensions: IntelliJ IDEA has a vast ecosystem of plugins and extensions available, providing additional functionalities and integrations with various frameworks and tools. It has a strong community support and a dedicated marketplace for these plugins. Visual Studio Code also offers a rich collection of extensions, and its marketplace provides a wide range of options for enhancing the IDE's capabilities.

  4. Debugging and Testing Tools: IntelliJ IDEA offers comprehensive debugging and testing tools, with advanced features like support for remote debugging, code coverage analysis, and integrated test runners. Visual Studio Code also provides debugging and testing capabilities, but its focus is more on simplicity and ease of use, with features like inline debugging and integrated terminal.

  5. Integrations and Ecosystem: IntelliJ IDEA has strong integrations with various build tools, version control systems, and development frameworks, making it a preferred choice for enterprise-level development. It also offers seamless integration with other JetBrains tools, creating a unified development experience. Visual Studio Code, on the other hand, is highly extensible and integrates well with various tools and frameworks, catering to a wide range of development needs.

  6. Performance and Resource Usage: IntelliJ IDEA is known for its robustness and powerful features, but it consumes more system resources compared to Visual Studio Code. Visual Studio Code is optimized for lightweight development and focuses on providing a fast and responsive coding experience even on lower-end machines.

In summary, IntelliJ IDEA is a feature-rich and powerful IDE primarily focused on Java development, while Visual Studio Code is a versatile and lightweight IDE with support for multiple programming languages. IntelliJ IDEA has a more complex interface and extensive plugin ecosystem, ideal for enterprise-level development, while Visual Studio Code offers simplicity, ease of use, and strong community support. Choose the IDE that suits your specific development needs and preferences.

Advice on IntelliJ IDEA and Visual Studio Code

I am a QA heading to a new company where they all generally use Visual Studio Code, my experience is with IntelliJ IDEA and PyCharm. The language they use is JavaScript and so I will be writing my test framework in javaScript so the devs can more easily write tests without context switching.

My 2 questions: Does VS Code have Cucumber Plugins allowing me to write behave tests? And more importantly, does VS Code have the same refactoring tools that IntelliJ IDEA has? I love that I have easy access to a range of tools that allow me to refactor and simplify my code, making code writing really easy.

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Replies (1)
Stanislav Petrov
Senior Software Engineer at GfK · | 3 upvotes · 64.9K views
Recommends
on
IntelliJ IDEAIntelliJ IDEA

I use Intellij IDEA Ultimate for javascript development and testing. Everything is configured and run smoothly. Visual Studio Code is a basic editor with a rich set of plugins. Making them to work smoothly is challenging sometimes. If you don't have a license for the Ultimate Edition, you can use Intellij EAP builds. The best judgement is to test both tools and see where you perform your work more efficiently. I'd recommend Intellij IDEA IDE for professional development.

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christy craemer
Needs advice
on
EclipseEclipseIntelliJ IDEAIntelliJ IDEA
and
PyCharmPyCharm

UPDATE: Thanks for the great response. I am going to start with VSCode based on the open source and free version that will allow me to grow into other languages, but not cost me a license ..yet.

I have been working with software development for 12 years, but I am just beginning my journey to learn to code. I am starting with Python following the suggestion of some of my coworkers. They are split between Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEA for IDEs that they use and PyCharm is new to me. Which IDE would you suggest for a beginner that will allow expansion to Java, JavaScript, and eventually AngularJS and possibly mobile applications?

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Replies (12)
Vlad Vetsh
Recommends
on
Visual Studio CodeVisual Studio Code

Pycharm is great for python development, but can feel sometimes slow and community version has Somme very annoying restrictions (like they disabled jupyter notebooks plugin and made it premium feature). I personally started looking into VS Code as an alternative, and it has some very good potential. I suggest you take it into account.

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Recommends
on
PyCharmPyCharm

The Community version of PyCharm is free and should give you what you need to get started with Python. Both PyCharm and IntelliJ are made by JetBrains. IntelliJ is initially focused on Java but you can get plugins for lots of other things. I subscribe to JetBrains' Toolbox: https://www.jetbrains.com/toolbox-app/ and have access to all of their great tools.

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Recommends
on
Visual Studio CodeVisual Studio Code

Hi, I will give my opinion based on my experience. I have used PyCharm, both community and Professional version. The community has limited functions, like you can't use a Jupyter notebook whereas it's available in the Professional version. PyCharm is slower compared to Visual Studio Code. Also Visual Studio Code is an editor which supports various languages. I myself have used both Visual Studio Code and PyCharm. I feel Visual Studio Code would be better choice. You may as well decide based upon your requirements.

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Charles Nelson
Recommends
on
IntelliJ IDEAIntelliJ IDEA

I couldn't imagine using a development tool other than the IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate All Products Pack. A single license allows me to work directly on my server running Ubuntu and/or my workstation running Windows 10 Pro simultaneously. My current project uses HTML, W3CSS, JavaScript, Java, Groovy, Grails, C, GO, Python, Flask, and Rust. For me it's worth every penny of the $150 license fee. And you can try it for free.

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Ivan Martinez Morales
Software Engineer Intern · | 4 upvotes · 664.7K views
Recommends
on
Visual Studio CodeVisual Studio Code

I'd personally recommend Visual Studio Code as it gives you the flexibility of working in any language, so long as there are extensions to support it. It gives you the flexibility to learn Python, venture into Java, Javascript, and eventually AngularJS, and potentially mobile applications. It's also free and you can install it on your personal computer. I think Visual Studio Code would serve your intended use case best.

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awesomebanana2018
Recommends
on
Visual Studio CodeVisual Studio Code

Visual Studio code is easy to use, has a good UI, and a large community. Python works great with it, but unlike some other editors, it works with most languages either by default or by downloading a plugin. VS Code has built in linting, syntax coloring, autocompletes (IntelliSense), and an api for plugins to do there own tooling.

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Isaac Povey
Casual Software Engineer at Skedulo · | 3 upvotes · 664.8K views
Recommends
on
IntelliJ IDEAIntelliJ IDEA

IntelliJ really is the best for Java, I switched from eclipse years ago and never looked back. As for javascript, python and angular either using the standalone products from jetbrains (pycharm for python, webstorm for js) or installing the relevant plugins for InteliJ will be your best bet. Pycharm etc. are really just InteliJ with some additional plugins installed.

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Pranshu Verma
Engineer at Cisco Systems · | 3 upvotes · 664.7K views
Recommends
on
PyCharmPyCharm

If you starting with Python then PyCharm is better. For Java I would suggest to go with IntelliJ IDEA but people also prefer eclipse so I would say try both and then decide. For JS/Angular/React I would suggest go with VSCode. I personally use it and prefer as its light weight and have good integration with chrome for frontend development.

PyCharm, IntelliJ IDEA are both products of JetBrains. They have a free (limited feature) and paid edition. Eclipse is free. VSCode is also free.

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Recommends
on
PyCharmPyCharm

All three are great, however, I believe that IntelliJ IDEA's multiple IDE's are slightly more straight-forward and more up-to date than Eclipse. If I had to choose one specifically for Python projects I would go with PyCharm.

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Recommends
on
PyCharmPyCharm

Pycharm is all you need to get start coding in python or any of its framework. Its an awesome tool you should give it a try :)

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Pritam Nandy
Engineering Manager at Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited · | 1 upvotes · 612.2K views
Recommends
on
PyCharmPyCharm

This is a very easy to use tool and gives you the opportunity to start coding right after the installation with almost everything setup automatically by the tool.

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Brian Turner
System Architect at Mary's Watch, Inc. · | 1 upvotes · 664.7K views
Recommends
on
IntelliJ IDEAIntelliJ IDEA

Easy to learn and everything you need

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Decisions about IntelliJ IDEA and Visual Studio Code
Brian Blankenship

Now, to be clear, I'll still use VS Code for larger projects because my computer is somewhat oldish (5 or so years) and isn't quite beefy enough to run a large project on an IDE, but for a small-medium project, IDEA is perfect.

I have mostly migrated to IDEA because of it's beautiful UI, git tools, and file tree. There are other reasons, but these are the top 3.

The UI is modern and clean, it has depth and everything is easy to read compared to VS Codes flat design, and zero depth.

The git tools are amazing. Sure, VS Code has useful git tools, but most of the time I hardly remembered they were there. But for the times I did use it, using the git CLI was more convenient. But Git and IDEA? Now that's a match made in heaven. Git is well integrated, and makes working with git a bit easier than the CLI. You can do everything in the GUI that you can in the CLI, and it makes having to do that dreaded hard reset super easy. Like there's no real way you could possibly screw it up my putting in the wrong command, or the wrong commit to roll back to. Rebasing is easy. Pushing is easy, Commiting is easy. Just about anything git is easier with IDEA.

With it's terminal-like git controller, (though that is more GUI than CLI), we have the option to add branches both locally and directly to the remote. We can delete branches both locally and remotely directly, and you can follow your typical git workflow by right clicking. You also have a beautiful git menu up-top. And here is the path to fast commits:

And for that file tree? I mean, try finding your way around a large project in VS Code is a nightmare, or even just a medium sized project the size of my weather app (in current progress), it's hard to navigate in vs code. I always forget where I am, and where to go. I always have to use the menu search. Now for IDEA's file tree, I haven't even touched the search feature yet other than for testing it out. It is so much clearer and easier to read. So yeah, I'm a bit enthusiastic about this tool, and wonder why I didn't try it out sooner but anyways, yea. IDEA FTW.

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Samriddhi Sinha
Machine Learning Engineer at Chefling · | 6 upvotes · 976.6K views

Lightweight and versatile. Huge library of extensions that enable you to integrate a host of services to your development environment. VS Code's biggest strength is its library of extensions which enables it to directly compete with every single major IDE for almost all major programming languages.

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Kamaleshwar BN
Senior Software Engineer at Pulley · | 12 upvotes · 1.3M views

Visual Studio Code became famous over the past 3+ years I believe. The clean UI, easy to use UX and the plethora of integrations made it a very easy decision for us. Our gripe with Sublime was probably only the UX side. VSCode has not failed us till now, and still is able to support our development env without any significant effort.

Goland being paid, as well as built only for Go seemed like a significant limitation to not consider it.

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Comparison points:

  • Free advanced tools vs Unaffordable pro license
  • Simplicity vs Complexity (ie, indexing backgound tasks)
  • Lightweight vs Heavyweight UX
  • Extensibility vs Too many bundled features
  • Intuitive keyboard shortcuts vs Keymap reference
  • Full-stack user base vs Backend-oriented user base

IntelliJ code suggestions and superb Kotlin support are some features still missing in VSCode, but for everything else it's a simpler choice of IDE, and #vscodecandothat too.

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Manabu Tokunaga
CEO, Co-Founder at WinguMD · | 10 upvotes · 505.4K views

I originally chose IntelliJ over Eclipse, as it was close enough to the look and feel of Visual Studio and we do go back and forth between the two. We really begin to love IntelliJ and their suite of IDEs so we are now using AppCode for the IOS development because the workflow is identical with the IntelliJ. IntelliJ is super complex and intimidating at first but it does afford a lot of nice utilities to get us produce clean code.

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Simon Ibssa
Student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo · | 2 upvotes · 1.2M views

I decided to choose VSCode over Sublime text for my Systems Programming class in C. What I love about VSCode is its awesome ability to add extensions. Intellisense is a beautiful debugger, and Remote SSH allows me to login and make real-time changes in VSCode to files on my university server. This is an awesome alternative to going back and forth on pushing/pulling code and logging into servers in the terminal. Great choice for anyone interested in C programming!

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Pros of IntelliJ IDEA
Pros of Visual Studio Code
  • 301
    Fantastically intelligent
  • 242
    Best-in-class ide
  • 190
    Many languages support
  • 158
    Java
  • 121
    Fast
  • 82
    Code analysis
  • 79
    Reliable
  • 76
    Out of the box integration with maven, git, svn
  • 64
    Plugin architecture
  • 61
    Integrated version control
  • 12
    Code refactoring support
  • 11
    Best java IDE
  • 7
    Local history
  • 6
    Code Completion
  • 6
    Kotlin
  • 6
    Integrated Database Navigator
  • 6
    Built-in terminal/run tools
  • 5
    All
  • 5
    Free for open-source development, students and teacher
  • 5
    Base for Android Studio
  • 5
    Free If you're a Student
  • 4
    ERD Diagrams
  • 4
    Free
  • 4
    Cross platform
  • 4
    IDE
  • 4
    Database/Code integration
  • 3
    Out Of The Box features
  • 3
    Column Selection Mode
  • 3
    Server and client-side debugger
  • 3
    More than enough languages for any developer
  • 3
    Typescript support
  • 3
    Multicursor support
  • 3
    Reformating Code
  • 3
    Intuitive
  • 3
    Command-line tools
  • 3
    Android Integration
  • 3
    Vim support
  • 3
    Special icons for most filetypes in project list
  • 3
    Supports many frameworks
  • 3
    Built-in web server
  • 3
    Live Templates
  • 3
    Scala support
  • 2
    Works fine with mac os catalina
  • 2
    A lot of plugin
  • 2
    Just works
  • 2
    Integrated Ssh/Ftp Managers
  • 2
    Full support
  • 2
    Task managers
  • 2
    Diff tools
  • 2
    File Watchers
  • 2
    Support for various package managers
  • 2
    Integrated Code Linting
  • 2
    Clean UI
  • 2
    Open source
  • 2
    So modernised
  • 2
    Efficient, one Stop solution
  • 340
    Powerful multilanguage IDE
  • 308
    Fast
  • 193
    Front-end develop out of the box
  • 158
    Support TypeScript IntelliSense
  • 142
    Very basic but free
  • 126
    Git integration
  • 106
    Intellisense
  • 78
    Faster than Atom
  • 53
    Better ui, easy plugins, and nice git integration
  • 45
    Great Refactoring Tools
  • 44
    Good Plugins
  • 42
    Terminal
  • 38
    Superb markdown support
  • 36
    Open Source
  • 35
    Extensions
  • 26
    Awesome UI
  • 26
    Large & up-to-date extension community
  • 24
    Powerful and fast
  • 22
    Portable
  • 18
    Best editor
  • 18
    Best code editor
  • 17
    Easy to get started with
  • 15
    Lots of extensions
  • 15
    Good for begginers
  • 15
    Crossplatform
  • 15
    Built on Electron
  • 14
    Open, cross-platform, fast, monthly updates
  • 14
    Extensions for everything
  • 14
    All Languages Support
  • 13
    Easy to use and learn
  • 12
    Extensible
  • 12
    "fast, stable & easy to use"
  • 11
    Ui design is great
  • 11
    Useful for begginer
  • 11
    Totally customizable
  • 11
    Git out of the box
  • 11
    Faster edit for slow computer
  • 10
    SSH support
  • 10
    Great community
  • 10
    Fast Startup
  • 9
    Great language support
  • 9
    It has terminal and there are lots of shortcuts in it
  • 9
    Works With Almost EveryThing You Need
  • 9
    Powerful Debugger
  • 8
    Can compile and run .py files
  • 8
    Python extension is fast
  • 7
    Great document formater
  • 7
    Features rich
  • 6
    He is not Michael
  • 6
    Awesome multi cursor support
  • 6
    She is not Rachel
  • 6
    Extension Echosystem
  • 5
    VSCode.pro Course makes it easy to learn
  • 5
    SFTP Workspace
  • 5
    Very proffesional
  • 5
    Language server client
  • 5
    Easy azure
  • 4
    Has better support and more extentions for debugging
  • 4
    Supports lots of operating systems
  • 4
    Virtualenv integration
  • 4
    Excellent as git difftool and mergetool
  • 3
    Emmet preinstalled
  • 3
    More tools to integrate with vs
  • 3
    Has more than enough languages for any developer
  • 3
    Better autocompletes than Atom
  • 3
    'batteries included'
  • 2
    Microsoft
  • 2
    Light
  • 2
    Big extension marketplace
  • 2
    CMake support with autocomplete
  • 2
    Fast and ruby is built right in
  • 2
    VS Code Server: Browser version of VS Code
  • 2
    Customizable

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Cons of IntelliJ IDEA
Cons of Visual Studio Code
  • 20
    Large footprint required to really enjoy (mem/disc)
  • 16
    Very slow
  • 8
    Bad for beginners
  • 7
    UI is not intuitive
  • 5
    Not nearly as many tools to integrate as vs code
  • 5
    Constant reindexing
  • 4
    Needs a lot of CPU and RAM power
  • 3
    Built in terminal is slow
  • 3
    Doesn't work that well with windows 10 edu
  • 1
    Ruby is a plug in
  • 1
    Pesky warnings increase with every release
  • 0
    AAD
  • 46
    Slow startup
  • 29
    Resource hog at times
  • 20
    Poor refactoring
  • 13
    Poor UI Designer
  • 11
    Weak Ui design tools
  • 10
    Poor autocomplete
  • 8
    Super Slow
  • 8
    Huge cpu usage with few installed extension
  • 8
    Microsoft sends telemetry data
  • 7
    Poor in PHP
  • 6
    It's MicroSoft
  • 3
    Poor in Python
  • 3
    No Built in Browser Preview
  • 3
    No color Intergrator
  • 3
    Very basic for java development and buggy at times
  • 3
    No built in live Preview
  • 3
    Electron
  • 2
    Bad Plugin Architecture
  • 2
    Powered by Electron
  • 1
    Terminal does not identify path vars sometimes
  • 1
    Slow C++ Language Server

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What is IntelliJ IDEA?

Out of the box, IntelliJ IDEA provides a comprehensive feature set including tools and integrations with the most important modern technologies and frameworks for enterprise and web development with Java, Scala, Groovy and other languages.

What is Visual Studio Code?

Build and debug modern web and cloud applications. Code is free and available on your favorite platform - Linux, Mac OSX, and Windows.

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What companies use IntelliJ IDEA?
What companies use Visual Studio Code?
See which teams inside your own company are using IntelliJ IDEA or Visual Studio Code.
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What are some alternatives to IntelliJ IDEA and Visual Studio Code?
Eclipse
Standard Eclipse package suited for Java and plug-in development plus adding new plugins; already includes Git, Marketplace Client, source code and developer documentation. Click here to file a bug against Eclipse Platform.
PhpStorm
PhpStorm is a PHP IDE which keeps up with latest PHP & web languages trends, integrates a variety of modern tools, and brings even more extensibility with support for major PHP frameworks.
Android Studio
Android Studio is a new Android development environment based on IntelliJ IDEA. It provides new features and improvements over Eclipse ADT and will be the official Android IDE once it's ready.
PyCharm
PyCharm’s smart code editor provides first-class support for Python, JavaScript, CoffeeScript, TypeScript, CSS, popular template languages and more. Take advantage of language-aware code completion, error detection, and on-the-fly code fixes!
WebStorm
WebStorm is a lightweight and intelligent IDE for front-end development and server-side JavaScript.
See all alternatives