When comparing Vim vs WebStorm, the Slant community recommends Vim for most people. In the question“What are the best programming text editors?” Vim is ranked 1st while WebStorm is ranked 20th. The most important reason people chose Vim is:
Unlike other editors such as Sublime Text, Vim is a command line editor and hence can be used in remote development environments like Chromebooks via SSH.
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Pro Works in terminal over SSH
Unlike other editors such as Sublime Text, Vim is a command line editor and hence can be used in remote development environments like Chromebooks via SSH.
Pro Extremely portable
Vi/vim exists on almost all Unix-like platforms. It's the de-facto Unix editor and is easily installed on Windows. All you need to make it work is a text-based connection, so it works well for remote machines with slow connections, or when you're too lazy to set up a VNC/Remote Desktop connection.
Pro Keyboard-based, mouse-free interface, and trackpad support
There's no need to reach for the mouse or the Ctrl/Alt buttons again. Everything is a mere key press or two away with almost 200 functions specifically for text editing. Vim does support the mouse, but it's designed so you don't have to use it for greater efficiency.
Versions of vim, like gVim or MacVim, still allow you to use the mouse and familiar platform shortcuts. That can help ease the learning curve and you'll probably find you won't want to (or need to) use the mouse after a while.
Pro Lightweight and fast
When compared to modern graphical editors like Atom and Brackets (which have underlying HTML5 engines, browsers, Node, etc.), Vim uses a sliver of the system's memory and it loads instantly, all the while delivering the same features. Vim is also faster than Emacs.
Pro Free and open-source software
Vim is open-source, GPL-compatible charityware.
Pro Macros increase productivity
Many text editors have programmable macros, but since Vim is keyboard-based, your programmed macros are usually far more predictable and easier to understand.
Pro Usable from a Terminal or with a GUI (GVim, MacVim)
If you happen to be logged into SSH, you can use Vim in a terminal. It can also run with a GUI too.
Pro Great productivity
Vim's keyset is mainly restricted to the alphanumeric keys and the escape key. This is an enduring relic of its teletype heritage, but has the effect of making most of Vim's functionality accessible without frequent awkward finger reaches.
Pro Once learned, it's very hard to forget
Vim's somewhat steep learning curve is more than made up for once you've mastered a few basic concepts and learned the tricks that allow you to program faster with fewer cut/paste mistakes.
Pro Everything is mnemonic
No need to memorize different key combinations for things like deleting the text inside of a block or deleting the text inside of a pair of quotes. It's just a series of actions, or nouns and verbs, or however you prefer to think about it. If you want to delete, you select "d"; if you want it to happen inside something, you select "i"; and if you want the surrounding double-quotes, just select ". But if you were changing the text, or copying it, or anything else, you'd still use the same "i" and ". This makes it very easy to remember a large number of different extremely useful commands, without the effort it takes to remember all of the Emacs "magic incantations", for example.
Pro Tons of plugins/add-ons
This makes Vim the definitive resource for every environment (Ruby/Rails, Python, C, etc.), or simply just provides more information in your view.
Pro Has multiple distinct editing modes
Interaction with Vim is centered around several "modes", where purpose and keybindings differ in each.
Insert mode is for entering text. This mode most resembles traditional text entry in most editors.
Normal mode (the default) is entered by hitting ESC and converts all keybindings to center around movement within the file, search, pane selection, etc.
Command mode is entered by hitting ":" in Normal mode and allows you to execute Vim commands and scripts similar in fashion to a shell.
Visual mode is for selecting lines, blocks, and characters of code.
Those are the major modes, and several more exist depending on what one defines as a "mode" in Vim.
Vimtutor is an excellent interactive tutorial for people with no prior experience of Vim. It takes about 30 minutes to complete.
Pro Excellent performance
As it loads the whole file into RAM, replacing all string occurrences in 100 MB+ files is quick and easy. Every other editor has sort of died during that. It is extremely fast even for cold start. Vim is light-weight and very compact. In terminal, it only uses a small amount of memory and anytime you invoke Vim, it's extremely fast. It's immediate, so much so you can't even notice any time lag.
Pro Can never outgrow it
The fact that very few, if any, people claim to be a "Vim Master" is a testament to the breadth and depth of Vim. There is always something new to learn - a new, perhaps more efficient, way to use it. This prevents Vim from ever feeling stale. It's always fresh.
Pro Productivity enhancing modal paradigm
As with all vi-like editors, Vim provides a modal paradigm for text editing and processing that provides a rich syntax and semantic model for composing succinct, powerful commands. While this requires some initial investment in learning how it works in order to take full advantage of its capabilities, it rewards the user well in the long run. This modal interface paradigm also lends itself surprisingly well to many other types of applications that can be controlled by vi-like keybindings, such as browsers, image viewers, media players, network clients (for email and other communication media), and window managers. Even shells (including zsh, tcsh, mksh, and bash, among others) come with vi-like keybinding features that can greatly enhance user comfort and efficiency when the user is familiar with the vi modal editing paradigm.
Pro Built-in package management
Starting with Vim 8, a package manager has been built into Vim. The package manager helps keep track of installed plugins, their versions and also only loads the needed plugins on startup depending on the file type.
Pro Flexible feature-set
Vim allows users to include many features found in IDEs and competing editors, but does not force them all on the user. This not only helps keep it lighter in weight than a lot of other options, but it also helps ensure that some unused features will not get in the way.
Pro Asynchronous I/O support
Since Vim 8, Vim can exchange characters with background processes asynchronously. This avoids the problem of the text editor getting stuck when a plugin that had to communicate with a server was running. Now plugins can send and receive data from external scripts without forcing Vim to freeze.
Pro Has been supported for a long time and will be supported for many years to come
Pro Donations and support to Vim.org helps children in Uganda through ICCF Holland
Pro By default in Linux
Pro Code refactoring support
To make sure your code can be easily maintained, you must first be sure to make it clean and tidy. This is the part where WebStorm really helps you. It automatically refactors your code by performing functions on it, such as extraction of variables, moving files, inline variable extraction, etc.
Pro Intelligent code completion
Webstorm will auto complete JS variables, keywords, methods, functions, parameters, and even imports. Webstorm can also offer completion from methods and functions that are in any external libraries or frameworks.
Pro Node.js integration
WebStorm integrates with Node.js to allow for running, debugging, and unit testing of Node.js apps.
Pro Integrated code quality tools
WebStorm comes bundled with JSHint and JSLint. JSCS, ESLint, and Closure Linter can be installed via npm. They register as inspections and are customizable through IDE settings. They run automatically and will highlight potential issues. Pressing alt+enter on an issue will allow the user to view suggested fixes.
Pro Maintains a local history
The local history feature in Webstorm tracks all your local changes in the source code that you are making. You can use it to view changes that you've made to your code and roll back whenever necessary.
WebStorm includes support for Meteor, Angular, and React.
Pro Built-in web server
WebStorm has a built-in webserver that allows you to run projects from
Pro Powerful git and GitHub integration
WebStorm has a powerful visual git tool, allowing for easy commits, visual diffing, merging, push/pull, rebasing, and inspecting the VCS history of a project. GitHub is supported natively - you can check out a project directly from GitHub.
Pro Supports a wide range of plug-ins
Pro Typescript support
Pro Built-in terminal/run tools
WebStorm (and really all of the IntelliJ IDEs) support the plugins throughout their plugin ecosystem which leaves you with 100s of tools to handle your automation tasks. There is a wide range of build-related plugins that help you by having pre-defined commands to execute with the click of a button. Out of any other IDE, WebStorm has by far the most coverage when it comes to tools for your development workflow.
Pro Server and client-side debugger
WebStorm has a powerful debugger, with support for conditional breakpoints.
WebStorm has support for Grunt and Gulp task runners.
Pro CSS pre-processor support
WebStorm has built-in support for Sass which is one of the most stable and powerful CSS extension languages.
WebStorm has built-in support for CoffeeScript and Dart.
Pro Reduces the amount of repetitive code that has to be written with code snippets
WebStorm includes a feature called Live Templates. Live Templates are predefined code snippets that can include variables. They're intended to increase productivity by reducing the amount of repetitive code that has to be written.
Pro Support for Karma test runner
Karma allows you to execute unit tests and monitor code coverage. You can read more about using Karma with WebStorm here.
Pro Support for all major VCS systems
Webstorm supports not just Git and Mercurial, but Subversion, CVS, and Perforce as well.
Pro Theme support / tweaking
The theme is very easy to customize to your liking. You can change font-size, colors, highlighting colors, and more.
Pro Multi-line select and editing
Pro Ability to base hot keys on previously used IDEs
When you install WebStorm, it allows you to choose from other IDE's for it to base it's hot keys on. So if you are switching from another IDE, it makes it a very easy transition and productivity is not adversely affected by having to learn new hot keys.
Pro Free for open-source development, students, and teacher
Non-commercial open source projects, and students and teachers (including classroom licenses) may qualify for a free license. There is a 50% off license for startups (under 3 years old). You can read more about it here.
Pro Really good configurable code formatting
This integrates with other community tools like ESLint and editorconfig.
Pro Special icons for most filetypes in project list
Webstorm comes with icons for many filetypes which makes it easier to find what you're looking for in the project list.
Pro Cordova support
Pro Powerful Code Templates
Code Templates are powered by Apache VTL (Velocity Template Language) and allow for includes, custom variables, conditional blocks, iterators, and live templates.
Pro Includes terminal
The IDE comes with a built-in terminal, a feature lacking in some lighter editors.
Pro Auto sync settings across team / machines / platforms
With the Settings Repository, you can easily enforce your development standards.
Pro Dartlang support
Autocompletion, syntax-highlighting, refactoring, and pub integration for Dart are supported in WebStorm.
Pro Coffeescript support
Pro Webpack support
Assists with configuration and understands module resolution.
Pro Efficient and effective
Con Difficult learning curve
You'll spend a lot of time learning all the commands and modes supported in Vim. You'll then spend more time tuning settings to your needs. Although once it's tuned to your needs, you can take your
.vimrc to any machine you need and have the same experience across all your computers.
Con Poor support for external tooling
Many plugins depend on optional Python and Lua features, which may or may not be included in whatever binaries are available for your system. And without platform-specific hacks, it is difficult for plugins to operate in the background or use external tooling.
Con Poor feature discoverability
Though basic features like syntax checking, autocompletion, and file management are all available out of the box or with minimal configuration, this is not obvious to new users, who might get intimidated or assume they need to install complex plugins just so they can have this functionality. Other features new users might expect to find embedded in Vim, such as debugging, instead follow a UNIX-style model where they are called as external programs, the output of which might then be parsed by Vim so it can display results. Users not familiar with this paradigm will likely fault Vim for lacking those features as well.
Con Doesn't play nice with the system cut/paste mechanisms
This can be worked around if you disable mouse for insert mode. You can then right-click your terminal and use paste like you would anywhere else in a terminal.
Con Works poorly out of the box with right-to-left
Con Once you're used to it, you won't like other editors
When your fingers have learned Vim's keyboard commands, you'll find yourself reaching for them even when using other text editors. You'll get frustrated every time you have to reach for the mouse or move your cursor letter by letter with the arrow keys. You'll notice every time a Vim feature would save you time and tedium, and you'll wish the editor you're actually using had it. You'll wish the editor was Vim. You'll wish everything was Vim. You'll wish this imperfect world we live in could somehow become just a little bit more graceful, a little bit more elegant, by adopting modal text editing as a common paradigm. You'll wish desperately that this world was that better one. But it isn't. It isn't. And it never will be.:wq
Con Slow when opening files with very long lines
A lot of very long lines can make Vim take up to a minute to open files, where a few other editors take only seconds to load the same file.
Con Foreign keyboards have a hard time on Vim out of the box
A lot of frequently-used keybinds are way harder to access on foreign keyboards because they use different layouts.
For example, Germans use the QWERTZ layout, while French use the AZERTY.
Con User must remember commands instead of point at them in a menu
Con Unintuitive mode switching
Con No smooth scrolling
Even with the GUI version, the lines jiggle line-by-line. If you are used to smooth scrolling, this is very annoying, especially when working with larger files.
Con Consume brain energy for editing that should be used for logic
Text editing in vim is awesome, but it requires thinking about combination of commands. In other editors, you don't have to think about how to delete this part of code. You just think about how to implement a feature, what is a good design for this code. Even after you get used to using vim, it still requires your brain for editing.
Con High effort to customize
Con Occasional slow performance
WebStorm can sometimes choke all cores of the CPU. There are numerous reports of high CPU usage.
Con Not free for commercial use
A paid license is required to use WebStorm for commercial use. The license terms changed in November 2015 and currently require a subscription (per year: $59 personal, $129 for companies). Students can obtain a free non-commercial, educational license good for one year. There is also an option to pay on a monthly basis in addition to perks, such as a fallback commercial license that can be used for free.
Con Not open source
This application is proprietary, and thus cannot be modified, freely distributed, or trusted for security.
Con Non-native filesystem causes issues
The Java wrapper around the filesystem doesn't actively watch for file changes (by, for example, using the fsevents api on OS X), and as a result can become easily desynchronised from the actual filesystem.
It should be noted though that this is easily remedied by going to File/Settings/System Settings and checking the "Synchronize Files on frame or editor tab activation" option. It's also recommended to more explicitly represent your workflow within WebStorm itself. Most external tools/tasks can be handled with WebStorm. And if it's not in a plug-in, then you can handle it with the File Watchers.
Con You have to fiddle with the JVM memory settings in configuration files
To get it to run properly, you have to edit the JVM memory settings when you use Node.js. Node.js makes the small JS project you have into a "large" project that requires more memory.
Con Proprietary file dialogs
Webstorm doesn't use the native Windows and OSX file dialogs, which makes it more of a hassle to open projects.
For instance, you don't have access to your favorite folders on the left-hand side in their custom file dialogs.
Con Poor usability on option and menu navigation
You need to press a combination of keys or navigate through different menu levels to carry out the two most common things a developer does. For example, to run your code, the default is Shift+F10. To go to definition, you need to click on "Navigation" first. There is no sense to this: being forced to press a combination of keys hundreds of times or navigating through different menus can be a waste of time.
Con Can't open multiple projects in a single instance
The only way to open multiple projects is to run a new instance of WebStorm which is not ideal. WebStorm can use up to 1-1.5 GB of memory.
Con Constantly trailing behind on support for its main features
The Jetbrains team do an admirable job attempting to keep up with support for the features they wrap, but they are running an un-winnable race. For example, WebStorm 11.0.2 hangs when trying to debug NodeJS 5.0+ projects (30+ seconds before hitting breakpoint). By the time they fix it, 5.1 will be out and something else will break.
Con Newer versions are increasingly unstable
*happens only when its not a major version