Visual Studio Vs Visual Studio Code

Chiamaka Uzuegbu
6 min readOct 5, 2023
Source: Free Code Camp

Have you heard about IDE’s (Integrated Development Environment)? How about a text editor? Well, if you are into software development, then you must have heard about both, or at least one of them, but if not, that is fine too as this is what this article will be about.

Visual studio is an Integrated Development Environment(IDE). So what is an IDE? An Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is a software application which allows programmers and engineers to build software code efficiently. With this system, the developers productivity is maximized and this is done by combining capabilities such as software editing, building, testing, and packaging in an easy-to-use application. Just as accountants use spreadsheets, in the same way, software developers use IDEs to make their job faster and easier.

Look at an IDE as a photo studio that has the cameras, editors, printers and photographers all in one studio. The picture effects, the poses, and different backgrounds are all in that location. You do not have to snap the picture in one place, and take it out to another studio to edit, and then print. Everything exists and is available in just one studio. Yes, that is what an IDE represents, hence the name integrated development environment.

Photo by Harry Cunningham on Unsplash

What are the Significance of IDEs?

The available integrated development environments (IDEs) have functionalities that goes beyond just text editing. They make available an environment for common developer tools, making the software development process much more efficient and optimized. Programmers can work on building new applications quickly instead of manually integrating and configuring different software. Subsequently, they do not need to learn about all the tools and can instead focus on just one application. Below are some key reasons why developers use IDEs:

  • Code editing automation

Most coding languages have rules for how statements must appear. So, been that an IDE knows these rules, it contains many intelligent features for automating the writing and editing of the source code.

  • Syntax highlighting

An IDE has the ability to format the written text by automatically making some words bold or italic, and also by using different font colors. These visual indentations make the source code more readable , understandable and immediately give feedback about wrongly written codes and syntax errors.

  • Intelligent code completion

When writing your code in an IDE, it brings up suggestions to what you want to write. It almost looks like it is in your head, and follows your thought process. An IDE can make suggestions to complete a code statement when the developer begins typing.

For instance in Visual Studio IDE .NET 6, when doing a constructor injection and write ‘private’, the IDE will automatically show you

readonly IInterface _var

which is your interface name and the assigned variable name then you can press the ‘tab’ button to take in the suggestion. This makes writing codes very fast and easy.

Furthermore, Visual Studio comes with built-in support for C# and .NET. It also supports programming languages such as C, C++, Visual Basic, Python, F#, web languages (HTML, CSS, JavaScript), and a host of others. The support for Java was however removed back in Visual Studio version 2017.

Visual Studio can run on both Windows and Mac. It has 3 editions — community, professional, and enterprise. The community version is free to use, however, the professional and enterprise are not.

To install Visual Studio for both Windows and Mac, go to VisualStudio

On the other hand, Visual Studio Code is a text editor, but a very rich one such as Sublime Text and Atom. A text editor is a computer program that enables developers to create, change, or edit plain text files (i.e., files ending with .txt). They’re mostly used to build complex code for websites; read, create and edit source code; or build text files.

When writing codes to build an application, most developers use text editors because they work with plain text. Text editors are usually included with any computer or operating system purchase. They are an important tool for computer programming as they have features required by software programmers and web developers to write and edit codes without hassles. Text editors have the capacity to highlight codes or include an indentation.

Visual Studio Code (also called VS Code) is like a child version of Visual Studio. It is an open-source text editor available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Features of Text Editor

  • Copy, paste, and cut

With a text editor you can do the afore mentioned, and also typically find and replace words, including creating bullet lists.

  • Search and replace

This feature looks for a particular text string and replaces it with another line.

  • Syntax highlighting

The syntax highlighting feature highlights the code where there are syntax errors so as to bring your attention to them. Color-coded text that are based on the programming or its markup language are available for easy reference on text editors.

  • Code auto-completion

As the name suggests, the feature pops up possible completions for a code as you type. It also helps coding process come along faster by reducing and correcting typing errors. Code snippets make it easier for users to reuse code by quickly replacing longer text or code with a short expression.

Types of Text Editors

There are a couple of text editors. The common types are:

  1. Line editors:

This type of editor edits one line at a time. While typing the line of text, the end-of-line is recognized and delimited.

2. Stream editors:

These kind of editors treat the text files and continuous sequences of characters well. This implies that you can type and edit paragraphs here.

3. Screen editors:

For screen editors, it allows for easy process of editing any portion of the displayed document using it.

Visual Studio Code is a popular source-code editor created by Microsoft. The software enables programmers to build their code with other team members in real time on either Windows, macOS, or Linux. The tool is equipped with syntax highlighting, code completion, debugging and most text-editor features that enhance the software development process. Visual Studio code enables users write HTML, CSS, JavaScript, C#, TypeScript, NodeJS, to mention but a few.

Other text editors used by programmers for writing codes includes: Sublime Text, Atom, Notepad, and Bracket. However, Visual Studio Code offers a wider range of extensions making it a rich text editor used in developing software.

To install Visual Studio Code on your system, go to Visual Studio Code

Which would you rather use? The answer depends on your coding requirement and the kind of language you write, and also your budget.

Conclusively, both Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code enables programmers to build beautiful and well detailed software applications. They are resourceful in bringing a wide range of products from start to finish, as in the case of Visual Studio, which is an IDE. Simply put, an IDE provides an environment for the developer to write, test, and deploy codes, while a text editor provides a platform to write and edit codes but not necessarily deploy them.



Chiamaka Uzuegbu

Hey!!!. I love to write and I'm a huge fan of creative contents. My best quote as a writer is "the pen is greater than the sword". I bring imaginations to life.