When comparing Sublime Text vs Intellij IDEA, the Slant community recommends Sublime Text for most people. In the question“What are the best IDEs for web development?” Sublime Text is ranked 8th while Intellij IDEA is ranked 12th. The most important reason people chose Sublime Text is:
Sublime Text has a minimap on the side that provides a top-down view of the file and keyboard shortcuts for most actions. It also supports a large number of languages and general text editing features out of the box.
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Pro Comfortable to work with
Pro Functionality can be easily extended
Sublime Text uses TextMate's syntax declaration files to support new languages, it has all its menus and keybindings generated from JSON files, and it can be scripted to add new features using Python.
If Sublime Text doesn't support a desired language or feature, it's usually not long before someone implements it themselves - examples include the plugin package manager and the 'open in browser' command.
Sublime Text is very lightweight by default. Customization occurs on the fly thanks to Package Control.
Pro Consistent cross-platform
Sublime Text looks consistently the same across Windows, OS X, and Linux.
When you start using Sublime Text, it doesn't drown you in keyboard shortcuts or non-intuitive use-concepts. However, high-level functionality can still be easily accessed when the need for it arises.
Pro Offers Command Palette
Command Palette allows for fuzzy searching all available settings, snippets, etc.
Pro Fully customizable
Sublime Text allows for all sorts of customization to help users change almost everything in the editor: Key Bindings, Menus, Snippets, Macros, Completions, and many more. Essentially, just about everything in Sublime Text is customizable with simple JSON files. This system gives the user flexibility as settings can be specified on a per-file type and per-project basis.
Pro IDE features without the cruft
Sublime Text, while being lighter-weight than an IDE, still supports many IDE features.
- Text from the current file is used to provide autocomplete.
- Project Support (folder browsing, scoped history, build-system declarations).
- Refactoring support is emulated through multi-select, project-wide find and replace, and regular expression search.
- Syntax-aware selection and GoTo for quickly jumping to locations in the project.
- Snippets and Macros.
- A Python console for everything else.
Pro Multi-line select and editing
Multiple cursors and column selection allows for versatile ways of editing.
ctrl + d will select the current word and each time the command is repeated, it adds the next occurrence of the word to the selection.
ctrl + click or
middle-mouse click will place another cursor in the place that's clicked. Cursors can then be controlled together. This also permits selecting vertically.
ctrl + shift + l will place a cursor on every highlighted line.
Pro Distraction free editing mode
Distraction free editing takes over your screen and removes every UI element so you can focus on code.
Pro Easy to get started
All you need to do when starting up is to install a package manager and modify user configuration.
Pro Has tons of plugins available
Pro Very fast
Sublime is quick to start and never slows down. The UI is always responsive and you know what is happening in the background.
Pro Regex commands
Regex commands help describe a certain amount of text.
Pro Installable package manager
The package manager is a plugin and can be swapped with something else custom.
Pro Permits instant file switching
Open Goto Anything by pressing Ctrl or Command + P and by using fuzzy search you can look for a file in your project. The file will load even without pressing enter, so you can make sure you've found the correct file without committing.
Pro Customizable keymapping
From menus to commands, assign key maps to almost anything.
Pro Haxe and OpenFL integration via plugin
Both of these programming interfaces are cross-platform, open source, and easy to use.
Pro Dynamic Build System
Choose from many build systems or craft your own.
Pro Multiple languages are supported
Pro Projects support multiple folders and git repos
Pro Allows for Vim-style editing
Vintage mode is Vim-style editing that's already built into the text editor.
Pro Support for TextMate themes and window decoration themes
Sublime Text compatibility with Textmate bundles is good, but excludes commands, which are incompatible. In general, Sublime Text syntax definitions are compatible with Textmate language files (.tmLanguage extension).
Pro Portable settings
Settings are modular and can be shared.
Pro Highly Theme-able
Create your own theme with online editor.
A Sublime license can be bought but it can still be used for free. However, a pop-up appears when you save multiple times.
Pro Direct server upload
Provides command line shortcut for server upload.
With lot of functionalities, where other editor even not think to provide.
Pro Fast and smart contextual assistance
Uses a fast indexing technique to provide contextual hints (auto-completion, available object members, import suggestions).
On-the-fly code analysis to detect errors and propose refactorization.
Pro Free version available
There is a free community edition (open source) and an ultimate edition, which you can compare here.
The ultimate edition is available for free for one year for students but must be registered through an .edu e-mail account.
Pro Intuitive and slick UI
IDEA has a clean, intuitive interface with some customization available (such as the Darcula theme).
Pro Stable and robust
IntelliJ IDEA hardly ever crashes or has any issues that plague other Java IDEs like file corruption or slowness.
Pro Support for many languages
IntelliJ supports many languages besides Java, some of these are: golang, Scala, Clojure, Groovy, Bash, etc...
Pro Smart refactorings
IDEA places an emphasis in safe refactoring, offering a variety of features to make this possible for a variety of languages.
These features include safe delete, type migration and replacing method code duplicates.
Pro Lots of plugins
Many plugins are available for almost any task a developer may need to cover. Plugins are developed by Jetbrains themselves or by 3rd parties through the SDK available for writing them.
Pro Android support, JavaEE support, etc
A very complete development environment support.
Pro Clear and detailed documentation
The documentation is exhaustive, easy to navigate, and clearly worded.
Pro Very powerful debugger
With ability to step into a certain part of a large method invocation (Shift+F7), drop frame, executing code snippets, showing method return values, etc.
Pro Many convenient features
These simplify the daily work, e.g. copy/cut a whole line without the need to select it.
Although paying for something good is far from a Con, having the competition this editor has and still have to pay for it is definitely a Con.
Sublime Text protects and copyrights its code and is thus not the freedom-ware some would like it to be.
Con Loading big files on Windows is slow
Here's a rough comparison: a 70 MB file takes about 2 seconds to load in Notepad++, whereas the same file in ST3 takes over 10 seconds to load.
Con Interruption while work
"Purchasing" messages box interrupts while saving file.
Con Not a full IDE
It does not necessarily function on a project level
Con No toolbar
Sublime Text is more focused on keyboard users, meaning it doesn't come with a tool bar. Even plugins can't toggle bookmarks using the mouse.
Con Annoying whitespace management
All too often it does the wrong thing with indentation on otherwise blank lines.
Con No printing of files
Sublime Texts offers no way of printing the files it edits.
Con Slow development
While development has yet to stop on Sublime Text, it is significantly slower than its competitors Atom, VSCode, and others.
Con Inadequate language support
Sublime Text offers poor support for Far-East languages in Linux.
Con Often crashes due to poor quality plugins
Some plugins are quite buggy, meaning that installing many can become quite a problem regarding stability.
Con Bugs are not solved as often as they should
They are more interested in adding new features or issuing new versions than solving bugs.
Con Somewhat expensive
IntelliJ IDEA is fairly expensive, with a pricetag of $149/year.
However there is a free community edition available.
Con Built with closed source components
The version with full features is not opensource. Parts of the code are under apache licence though.
Con Lack of plugins
IntelliJ supports a very small amount of plugins. Althrough thesse are 'quality approved', many features are missing and can't be implemented because of that.
Con Standard hotkeys behave differently
Seems like hotkeys assignment in Idea has no logical consistency.
Like «F3» is usually next match, «Ctrl+W» - close tab, etc — they map to some different action by default.
There is a good effort in making the IDE friendly for immigrants from other products: there are options to use hotkeys from Eclipse, and even emacs. But these mappings are very incomplete. And help pages do not take this remapping into account, rather mentioning the standard hotkeys.
So, people coming from other IDEs/editors are doomed to using mouse and context menus (which are rather big and complex).