We’ve been faithful users and staunch advocates of Sublime Text for nearly a decade. It’s been an integral part of our development process, providing a lightweight and fast editor that seemed to align perfectly with our needs. Yet, we recently made the decision to transition to Visual Studio Code (VS Code). This wasn’t a decision we took lightly, especially given our long-standing loyalty to Sublime Text. But it was a necessary one, prompted by a series of challenges we encountered with Sublime Text and the unique advantages offered by VS Code.
The Shortcomings of Sublime Text
There were three primary reasons behind our decision to leave Sublime Text.
Broken or Non-Existent Language Server Protocol (LSP) Integration
One of the most significant issues we faced was the broken or non-existent Language Server Protocol (LSP) integration for SonarCloud in Sublime Text. SonarCloud is a cloud service that offers automated code review and analysis to detect bugs, vulnerabilities, and code smells in your code. Its integration is crucial for maintaining code quality and ensuring that any issues are promptly identified and resolved. Unfortunately, Sublime Text’s lack of reliable LSP support for SonarCloud often left us unable to benefit from this essential tool, adversely affecting our development workflow.
Complexity of Integrating CodeSniffers
Another challenge we encountered was the complexity of integrating CodeSniffers, such as WPCS (WordPress coding standards). CodeSniffers are vital for maintaining code quality, particularly when working with specific platforms like WordPress. They help ensure that the code adheres to the best practices and standards of the platform, enhancing its readability, maintainability, and overall quality. However, integrating such tools in Sublime Text was far from straightforward and often led to cumbersome and inefficient workflows.
Community-Dependent Extension Development
Finally, despite being a paid product, Sublime Text largely relies on its community for the development of extensions. While this open-source approach can foster innovation and diversity, it also comes with its drawbacks. One common issue is that everyone wants to use the extensions, but few want to contribute to their development. This can result in broken extensions that go unaddressed, impairing the user experience and potentially slowing down development processes.
The Advantages of Visual Studio Code
Despite our reservations about Microsoft—the corporation behind VS Code—we found its unique benefits too compelling to ignore.
Seamless Integration of Complex Tools
VS Code excels in its ability to integrate complex tools in a ‘click and shoot’ manner. This is a stark contrast to our experience with Sublime Text, where integrating tools like WPCS often required a high level of technical expertise and time. In VS Code, we were able to set up and start using these tools with just a few clicks, significantly simplifying our workflow.
Built-In Git Integration
Another significant advantage of VS Code is its out-of-the-box Git integration. This feature allows us to perform common Git commands directly from the editor, such as staging changes, committing, pulling from and pushing to Git repositories, without having to switch to a separate terminal or command line tool. It’s a massive time-saver and a boon to productivity.
Comprehensive, Well-Designed Information on Extensions
VS Code also provides immense, visually well-designed information on extensions. This includes detailed descriptions, user ratings and reviews, and even animated GIFs that demonstrate what the extension does. Such comprehensive information helps us make more informed decisions about which extensions to install and how to use them effectively.
High Degree of Customizability
Finally, VS Code offers adaptability and customization options on par with Sublime Text. Sublime Text was known for its high degree of customizability, allowing users to tweak almost every aspect of the interface to their liking. This was a feature we loved, and the thought of losing it was daunting.
However, to our surprise, VSCode matched Sublime Text in this regard. Whether it’s modifying the color theme, changing the layout of the interface, or adjusting keyboard shortcuts, VSCode offered the same level of customization as Sublime Text. This allowed us to personalize our development environment to our individual preferences and working style, further increasing our productivity and satisfaction.
In VSCode, we found an interface that could be easily and extensively modified. It includes features like custom workbench layouts, multiple cursor editing, and a rich selection of themes. Further, its powerful settings editor makes it easy to change preferences across all scopes – user, workspace, and folder. This level of adaptability meant that we could create a coding environment that felt just as comfortable and efficient as our setup in Sublime Text.
But where VSCode truly shines is in its extensibility. Its vast marketplace of extensions, which are easy to discover, install, and manage, gives developers the power to add almost any functionality they desire. From language support and debugging tools to linters and formatters, the possibilities are virtually endless.
Moreover, these extensions are, for the most part, actively maintained and regularly updated, ensuring that they remain compatible with the latest version of VSCode and continue to function properly. This contrasts with our experience with Sublime Text, where we often found ourselves struggling with outdated or broken extensions.
In conclusion, while we have fond memories of our time with Sublime Text, the challenges we faced with it – such as the broken LSP integration for SonarCloud, the difficulty in integrating CodeSniffers like WPCS, and the reliance on the community for extension development – led us to seek an alternative.
Despite initial apprehensions about moving to a product developed by a corporation as massive and impersonal as Microsoft, we found in VSCode a worthy successor to Sublime Text. Its ease of integration, out-of-the-box Git support, visually appealing and informative extension marketplace, and adaptability and customizability on par with Sublime Text, made it an obvious choice for our development needs.
So, here we are, former Sublime Text loyalists, now advocating for VSCode. And while the transition was not without its challenges, we are confident in our decision and excited about the future of coding with Visual Studio Code.