This is why we no longer have a difference between IDEs and text editors
As time is passing by we can notice fewer differences between IDEs and Text editors and it makes me think, what’s the future?
So if you had a look at the recent announcements of JetBrains, you probably know that they have released a new IDE called a fleet. We must call it an IDE, cause we will be talking about this later.
IDEs are very different from text editors. It targets a completely different use case. Text editors for example are used by developers if they want clean software which is fast to load and does all the work, but it also needs the developer to manually download the compiler or any other installs. IDEs on the other hand come with all of that installed, and you just could directly use them, although IDEs are much slower and take more time…
What’s The Difference?
Ok… Now, with that said let’s go over the actual difference between an IDE and a Text editor. A text editor is meant for editing text. This might seem obvious, but the definition is what we should focus on. Visual Studio Code has a lot more features than just editing text in a file. Debugging, Intelli sense, error outputs, error correction, automation tools, and what not… In that case, why is this even called a text editor? It does a lot more than that right? Well the key difference here, is extensions.
Visual Studio Code for example relies completely on extensions for literally any feature other than text editing. This makes it more modular and lightweight But at the same time also makes you configure what you want and give fewer features by default. A text editor is also faster to load/open since it does not have to load any additional features by default. But, once opened, if you need to debug a program through an extension, it takes time since it now needs to load modules that did not load before. Think of a text editor as a store, where you order the product when customers arrive and ask for it.
IDE on the other hand is a beast that contains everything you want by default without wanting to download any additional extensions. It has all the features built-in while installing and can be easily used by… Well… Just opening the IDE. It does also have the ability to install extensions, but the extensions are mostly used for simple tweaks like changing themes, etc. But that does not mean that the IDE needs no extensions to work. Android Studio for example is an IDE that requires an additional flutter extension to get started with building flutter projects. But, all the extension does is some simple tweaks to enable some flutter options. Unlike Text Editors, IDEs are slower and take more time to load when opened. Think of IDEs as a store where you already have everything imported, you just have customers to deal with.
What Changed — Jetbrains Fleet
Coming back to fleet now. Jet brains fleet is an IDE, which follows a fairly different structure. It does NOT load any modules/libraries while opening like any other text editor. Once opened, you can also install extensions, change themes, customize the features, and so on, again, like what a text editor does. BUT, it’s another feature that it has which can change the way we look at IDEs and text editors. It has a small option that can be used to switch to “an IDE”. Yep, once pressed, it takes some time to now switch from a text editor which relies on extensions for everything to a fully-featured IDE with all the modules loaded in. This basic feature can not only increase the workflow and speed of my coding but can also increase the speed and performance of the computer. And it does not stop there. This software is a go-to if you want an IDE, or a text editor(or if you change your mind after some time) and depends completely on what you enable/disable. THIS is what makes it different and unique. And at this point, we have merged the whole idea of IDE and text editor which can mean so much to the tech/computer industry.
Well… There should be cons to everything. In this case, because fleet is not yet released(at the time of writing) in its stable state, although we know how it works and what we can expect. The only con I can think of would be the lack of support(maybe???). Since it is VERY new and uses a completely different approach, we should expect the community to be small initially. But again, since it is backed by such a huge company and has gained a lot of popularity, it might take less time to expand the community.
What Happens To Other IDEs and Text Editors?
I have to say this does not hugely affect IDEs like Visual Studio, at least when compared to text editors like Visual Studio Code. I can think of no reason why people would stick with VS-Code now. Most people aware of the fleet are probably waiting to switch due to speed, efficiency, features, or maybe just curiosity. Although I wonder how this would affect other JetBrain IDEs. I mean… What I used PyCharm for, I now do it in Fleet. So… it would probably affect JetBrain’s IDEs along with VS, but not as much as VSCode would be affected.
I’m waiting for the change, curious about the future and excitedabout the product. This can change so much! I mean… Of course, people would start learning from this and predicting the future, we could start having other text editors/IDE mix like this.
If you are interested in more tech/development/design/editing content, make sure you check my YouTube channel as well as the content there is also fun. With that done we finally come to the end of this article. I hope you enjoyed it,
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