IntelliJ IDEA vs Visual Studio Code

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IntelliJ IDEA

29.4K
23.4K
+ 1
1.5K
Visual Studio Code

99.7K
85.2K
+ 1
2.1K
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IntelliJ IDEA vs Visual Studio Code: What are the differences?

What is IntelliJ IDEA? Capable and Ergonomic IDE for JVM. 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, by Microsoft. Build and debug modern web and cloud applications. Code is free and available on your favorite platform - Linux, Mac OSX, and Windows.

IntelliJ IDEA belongs to "Integrated Development Environment" category of the tech stack, while Visual Studio Code can be primarily classified under "Text Editor".

"Fantastically intelligent", "Best-in-class ide" and "Many languages support" are the key factors why developers consider IntelliJ IDEA; whereas "Powerful multilanguage IDE", "Fast" and "Front-end develop out of the box" are the primary reasons why Visual Studio Code is favored.

Visual Studio Code is an open source tool with 78.4K GitHub stars and 10.9K GitHub forks. Here's a link to Visual Studio Code's open source repository on GitHub.

According to the StackShare community, Visual Studio Code has a broader approval, being mentioned in 1104 company stacks & 2298 developers stacks; compared to IntelliJ IDEA, which is listed in 805 company stacks and 1027 developer stacks.

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 · 32.4K views
Recommends
IntelliJ 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
PyCharm
IntelliJ IDEA
and
Eclipse

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)

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
PyCharm

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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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
IntelliJ 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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awesomebanana2018

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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Ivan Martinez Morales
Software Engineer Intern · | 4 upvotes · 283.9K views

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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Pranshu Verma
Engineer at Cisco Systems · | 3 upvotes · 283.9K views
Recommends
PyCharm

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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Isaac Povey
Casual Software Engineer at Skedulo · | 3 upvotes · 283.9K views
Recommends
IntelliJ 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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Recommends
PyCharm

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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Brian Turner
System Architect at Mary's Watch, Inc. · | 1 upvotes · 283.9K views
Recommends
IntelliJ IDEA

Easy to learn and everything you need

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Pritam Nandy
Engineering Manager at Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited · | 1 upvotes · 231.4K views
Recommends
PyCharm

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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Recommends
PyCharm

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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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 · 457.5K 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
Head of Engineering at Dibiz Pte. Ltd. · | 12 upvotes · 691.5K 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 · 229.1K 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 · 620.5K 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
  • 297
    Fantastically intelligent
  • 243
    Best-in-class ide
  • 190
    Many languages support
  • 156
    Java
  • 121
    Fast
  • 82
    Code analysis
  • 78
    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
    Built-in terminal/run tools
  • 6
    Integrated Database Navigator
  • 5
    Free If you're a Student
  • 5
    Kotlin
  • 5
    All
  • 5
    Free for open-source development, students and teacher
  • 4
    Base for Android Studio
  • 4
    Database/Code integration
  • 4
    Cross platform
  • 4
    IDE
  • 4
    ERD Diagrams
  • 3
    Live Templates
  • 3
    Free
  • 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
    Out Of The Box features
  • 3
    Vim support
  • 3
    Special icons for most filetypes in project list
  • 3
    Supports many frameworks
  • 3
    Built-in web server
  • 3
    Scala support
  • 2
    Full support
  • 2
    Task managers
  • 2
    Diff tools
  • 2
    File Watchers
  • 2
    Support for various package managers
  • 2
    Integrated Code Linting
  • 2
    Its fake intellisense is better than real IntelliSense
  • 2
    Clean UI
  • 2
    Open source
  • 2
    Column Selection Mode
  • 2
    So modernised
  • 2
    Efficient, one Stop solution
  • 2
    Integrated Ssh/Ftp Managers
  • 2
    Just works
  • 2
    A lot of plugin
  • 2
    Works fine with mac os catalina
  • 324
    Powerful multilanguage IDE
  • 290
    Fast
  • 183
    Front-end develop out of the box
  • 151
    Support TypeScript IntelliSense
  • 134
    Very basic but free
  • 115
    Git integration
  • 99
    Intellisense
  • 72
    Faster than Atom
  • 46
    Better ui, easy plugins, and nice git integration
  • 41
    Great Refactoring Tools
  • 38
    Good Plugins
  • 36
    Terminal
  • 36
    Superb markdown support
  • 33
    Open Source
  • 27
    Extensions
  • 25
    Large & up-to-date extension community
  • 25
    Awesome UI
  • 22
    Powerful and fast
  • 20
    Portable
  • 16
    Best editor
  • 16
    Best code editor
  • 15
    Easy to get started with
  • 14
    Built on Electron
  • 14
    Good for begginers
  • 14
    Open, cross-platform, fast, monthly updates
  • 14
    Crossplatform
  • 13
    Lots of extensions
  • 12
    Extensions for everything
  • 12
    All Languages Support
  • 11
    Extensible
  • 11
    Totally customizable
  • 11
    Ui design is great
  • 11
    Useful for begginer
  • 11
    Faster edit for slow computer
  • 11
    Easy to use and learn
  • 10
    Git out of the box
  • 10
    "fast, stable & easy to use"
  • 9
    Great community
  • 9
    Great language support
  • 9
    It has terminal and there are lots of shortcuts in it
  • 8
    SSH support
  • 8
    Works With Almost EveryThing You Need
  • 8
    Powerful Debugger
  • 8
    Fast Startup
  • 7
    Features rich
  • 7
    Python extension is fast
  • 7
    Can compile and run .py files
  • 7
    Great document formater
  • 6
    Awesome multi cursor support
  • 6
    He is not Michael
  • 6
    She is not Rachel
  • 5
    Easy azure
  • 5
    Language server client
  • 5
    Extension Echosystem
  • 5
    SFTP Workspace
  • 5
    VSCode.pro Course makes it easy to learn
  • 4
    Has better support and more extentions for debugging
  • 4
    Very proffesional
  • 3
    Supports lots of operating systems
  • 3
    Emmet preinstalled
  • 3
    Excellent as git difftool and mergetool
  • 3
    'batteries included'
  • 3
    Has more than enough languages for any developer
  • 3
    Virtualenv integration
  • 2
    Light
  • 2
    CMake support with autocomplete
  • 2
    More tools to integrate with vs
  • 2
    VS Code Server: Browser version of VS Code
  • 2
    Fast and ruby is built right in
  • 2
    Better autocompletes than Atom

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Cons of IntelliJ IDEA
Cons of Visual Studio Code
  • 18
    Large footprint required to really enjoy (mem/disc)
  • 14
    Very slow
  • 7
    Bad for beginners
  • 6
    UI is not intuitive
  • 5
    Not nearly as many tools to integrate as vs code
  • 4
    Constant reindexing
  • 3
    Needs a lot of CPU and RAM power
  • 2
    Built in terminal is slow
  • 2
    Doesn't work that well with windows 10 edu
  • 1
    Ruby is a plug in
  • 1
    Pesky warnings increase with every release
  • 0
    AAD
  • 38
    Slow startup
  • 22
    Resource hog at times
  • 19
    Poor refactoring
  • 12
    Poor UI Designer
  • 11
    Weak Ui design tools
  • 9
    Poor autocomplete
  • 8
    Microsoft
  • 7
    Poor in PHP
  • 5
    Poor at Python
  • 4
    Super Slow
  • 4
    Poor intellisense. poor java
  • 3
    No color Intergrator
  • 3
    No built in live Preview
  • 3
    Poor in Python
  • 3
    No Built in Browser Preview
  • 3
    Dilshad
  • 3
    Huge cpu usage with few installed extension
  • 3
    Microsoft sends telemetry data
  • 3
    Very basic for java development and buggy at times
  • 2
    Bad Plugin Architecture
  • 1
    Electron

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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.

Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

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 tools integrate with IntelliJ IDEA?
What tools integrate with 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