November 6, 2017

Why I Switched from Sublime to VS Code

Let me begin by stating that I have a been a hardcore Sublime Text user for the past 3 years. Not only did I spend $80 on a full license, but I also purchased Wes Bos' Sublime Text Power User guide for $45 so I could get even better at it. In other words, I was committed to the tool and had invested the time and money in it.

That said, my text editor is one of my most critical tools to my life. Because not only do I use it for work, but I also use it a lot for personal projects and hobbies as well. So yeah, it's a big deal to me and I can get very protective of my tool. Yet, there was enough buzz from people I respected in the field to pique my interest. And then as fate would have it, a friend of mine also made the jump and gave me the final push I needed to give it a shot.

My Top Three Reasons for Using VS Code

If you had told me even three months ago I was going to be leaving it behind for VS Code, I would've laughed in your face because it would have been the most absurd concept to me. But as the fates would have it, I have officially switched from Sublime to VS Code. And since there may be others on the fence, I wanted to give you my top reasons why.

#1. Migrating was painless (for the most part)

When it comes to trying to get someone to try something new, the worst thing you can do is to tell them, "You know all those keyboard shortcuts you learned over the years and made into muscle memory? Well, you need to forget them and learn ours."

Fortunately, VS Code makes it so easy for you to migrate your favorite keyboard shortcuts from whichever text editor you used to use:

Welcome screen with shortcut migration section highlighted

I will say that there still have been some minor hiccups in the way I think my shortcuts will respond from time to time, but it's so minor I can't even list off which ones get in my way. So all in all, not an issue but something I wanted to mention for honesty sake.

#2. Extensions (i.e., plugins) are way better on VS Code

One of the reasons I never left the Sublime Text world is because I loved my plugins. Not only were they essential to my workflow, but I honestly enjoyed tailoring my tools and finessing my techniques to make me even faster.

However, the plugin system for Sublime is a tad outdated when it comes to user experience. In fact, until I tried out VS Code, I didn't realize what I had been missing out on.

Not only is it incredibly easy to add extensions and manage the settings for all of them, but the documentation available in the Extensions store is incredible.

Screenshot of the Prettier extension on VS Code

As a result, this means my beloved plugins are way easier to setup and manage which is a huge win in my book. I can't tell you how much time I've wasted trying to get things like ESLint setup on Sublime Text because something wasn't pointing at the right node_modules folder because of some node versioning tool I used at some point.

#3. They are actively listening to the community and constantly updating it.

As some of you are aware, one of the gripes that many had with Sublime Text is the fact that updates are far and few between. Now don't get me wrong, from what I know, Sublime Text was build by one person and he/she has done incredibly well for themselves. So I completely understand if the founder of Sublime Text is off doing other projects.

VS Code on the other hand, is actively being maintained and updated while actively listening to the community. In this day of software development, that's the ultimate dream when it comes to a tool I so heavily rely on.

Final Thoughts

Some might be surprised that one of my top reasons isn't the fact that VS Code is free. And the reason for that is simple, VS Code is something that I would gladly pay money for. I personally believe in paying it forward when people do good work and make my life easier. So while I like to emphasize the fact it's free to new people adapting it, it's not a major deal to me.

At the end of the day, while it was painful to leave Sublime behind, Microsoft has come a long way and released a product I'm proud to have in my essential toolbox. And they deserve every bit of praise and hype that comes along with it.