When comparing Spacemacs vs Visual Studio Code, the Slant community recommends Visual Studio Code for most people. In the question“What are the best programming text editors?” Visual Studio Code is ranked 3rd while Spacemacs is ranked 5th. The most important reason people chose Visual Studio Code is:
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Combines the best parts of Vi and Emacs
Spacemacs combines the Emacs platform (with the full power of the Emacs plugin ecosystem) and the Vi keybindings (via EViL), all in the same box.
Pro Simple but powerful configuration architecture
At the heart of Spacemacs, the configuration layers group packages configuration into semantic units that can be toggled on and off. The architecture is simple but powerful, allowing the user to easily manage configuration dependencies between hundreds of packages.
Pro Above average documentation quality
Documentation is mandatory for each new configuration layer and can be accessed directly within the editor in Org format.
Pro Community-driven configuration
Spacemacs is the biggest community-driven Emacs starter-kit.
Emacs runs on Gnu/Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows.
Pro Great support from the community
The community surrounding Spacemacs is very active and there is a welcoming gitter chat for users to ask questions.
Pro Completely configured out of the box
Stuff like version control, file management, good default theme are all configured out of the box.
Pro Mnemonic and consistent keybindings
Space-lead key bindings are organized in mnemonic namespaces. For instance, buffer actions are under
SPC b, file actions are under
SPC f, project actions are under
SPC p, search actions are under
SPC s, and so on. Keybindings are consistent across the whole distribution thanks to a set of conventions.
Pro Lowers the risk of RSI by using the spacebar as leader
Spacemacs got its name from the fact that it is uses the space bar as a default leader key. The key was chosen because it is easy to press and to hopefully lower the risk of RSI.
Pro Fast-paced development
New functionalities and fixes are added to Spacemacs every day, while release cycles are short.
Pro Gradual learning curve
Evil package is a first class citizen and Spacemacs embraces it from day one. Evil package allows Vim users to be productive very quickly while still allowing regular Emacs users to use Spacemacs.
Pro Can be controlled fully with the keyboard
There's no need to reach for the mouse again since Spacemacs can be fully controlled with keyboard.
Pro Manage many code bases easily
Pro Remote file editing
Files can be edited in Spacemacs remotely.
Pro Great note-taking and agenda "app" built-in
Allows for great organization applications that can be saved in future-proof format, plain text, can be integrated with LaTeX, markdown, HTML, Literate Programming and be committed to source control.
Pro Offers a number of practical features
Spacemacs has some great features for taking notes, tracking to-do lists, and tracking time.
Pro Works well with Common Lisp
Pro LaTeX support
LaTeX allows for auto-completion, syncing, and more.
Pro Can work in terminal mode
Sometimes you only have terminal access, over ssh or something.
Pro Daemon support
Has great daemon support, which can mitigate the issue of slow startup.
Pro Great CFEngine support
Syntax highlighting and org-babel extensions.
Pro Manage R files easily
Pro Extendable through plugins
Visual Studio Code comes fairly complete out of the box, but there are many plugins available to extend its functionality.
Pro TypeScript integration
There is very solid TypeScript integration in Visual Studio Code. Both are developed by Microsoft and VSC itself is written in TypeScript.
Pro Embedded Git control
Visual Studio Code has integrated Git control, guaranteeing speed, data integrity, and support for distributed, non-linear workflows.
Pro Integrated debugging
Pro Ready to use out of the box
You don't need to configure and add plugins before being productive. However, you can add plugins if needed but for the basics you're well covered.
Pro Integrated terminal
There's no need to press alt+tab to go to a terminal: it is directly integrated into the editor.
Shift+~ is a handy hotkey to toggle the integrated terminal.
Pro Updated frequently
There's a new release of Visual Studio Code every month. If you are one of the insiders then releases are daily.
Pro Great performance
For a 'wrapped' web-based application, Visual Studio Code performs very well.
Pro Integrated task runners
Task runners display lists of available tasks and performing these tasks is as simple as a click of the mouse.
Pro ESLint integration
ESLint integrates great. You can define your rules trough .eslintrc.* as usual and vs code will autofix your code on save. So your code is always in style.
Pro Libre/open source
Released under the MIT License.
Pro Active development
It's really nice to see how the code editor evolves. Every month there is a new version with great communication of new features and changes.
Pro Custom snippets support
Snippets are templates that will insert text for you and adapt it to their context, and in VSC they are highly customizable.
Pro Huge community behind it
The ease of getting assistance and finding tutorials is increasing as the community grows.
Pro Fast and powerful
VS-Code has the speed of Sublime and the power of WebStorm. Perhaps this is the best software that Microsoft has ever created.
Pro High fidelity C# plugin
The Omnisharp plugin is very powerful providing full sln, csproj, and project.json support.
Pro It has gotten really good
All it takes is one stop for all the features many people need.
Pro Support RTL languages
It supports pretty web rtl languages like arabic languages when most of other editors don't support it.
Pro JS typechecking
It leverages TypeScript compiler functionality to statically type check JS (type inference, JSDoc types) with
Pro Inline definition picking and usages finding
These features allow you to have a glance at code without opening it as a whole in a separate tab. Moreover, editing is allowed.
Pro Good support for new Emmet syntax
Pro Python support
Excellent Python plugin, originally created by Don Jayamanne, now hired by Microsoft to extend and maintain the extension.
Con Can be quite glitchy at times
Spacemacs combines many packages from many different authors that were never designed to work together. Sometimes they interact in unexpected ways, and things randomly break as one package interferes with another's features. This combined with delayed auto-loading of packages in unpredictable order, different modes for different file types, frequent package updates, and necessary customization by selection of layers and packages, can make these glitches hard to reproduce. It takes a lot of emacs know-how to fix these problems. Fortunately there is a very active community willing to help with these problems, but it might take a while.
Con Slow startup time
Although configuration is heavily loaded, the starting time of Spacemacs is usually between two and five seconds. Emacs can be run as a daemon though which reduces the client's startup time to a few milliseconds.
Con Functionality layers of complicated configuration
To configure Spacemacs, settings for Emacs/Evil/Spacemacs may need editing. It's not always clear which need to be changed or how to change settings globally: sometimes hooks are needed, other times Spacemacs provides options.
Con High CPU and unresponsive at times
There are occasions when Spacemacs would suddenly consume a LOT of CPU and then other times would become completely unresponsive. This instability took place only 6 months or so ago. Restarting Spacemacs can fix it for a while but perhaps this issue is already fixed in newer versions.
Con Complex learning difficulty
You must be familiar with either Vim or Emacs. In addition, you should be familiar with the unique features of Spacemacs. The Layer concept of replacing Emacs settings is still difficult and abstract compared to modern editors.
Con The autocomplete and code check is not as powerful as the one on WebStorm
Sometimes it doesn't tell you if you made a typo in a method name or if a method is not used and several other important features.
Con No support for tiled/grid editor layouts
It can be configured for rows of editors, or columns of editors, but not both simultaneously. The development team has explicitly said this is not a priority.
Con Embedded Git isn't powerful enough
You can do nothing but to track changes, stage them and commit. No history, visualization, rebasing or cherry-picking – these things are left to git console or external git client.
Con Is not an IDE, is a text editor
Con Very bad auto import
Con Project search limits results
Because file search is so slow your results are limited in order to simulate a faster search.
VS Code is a general code/scripting IDE built to be lightweight and for people familiar with their language of choice, not directly comparable to Visual Studio in power or scope.
Con Memory hog
Allegedly, VS Code is "lightweight". Yet, running multiple instances of it at once, you may get many "out of memory" messages from Windows despite 16 GB RAM. (While of course also running other things. The point is the comparison with some other IDEs/editors where running them alongside the same number of other applications doesn't cause Windows to run out of memory)
Con A "me too" offering from MS, far behind other well established editors that it attempts to clone
Other IDEs specific to a language often offer better tools for deep programming.
Con Have no good default js style analyzer
In WebStorm there is analyzer that checks for warnings and highlight this in yellow, here I cannot find or add it even with plugins. It is possible to have it as errors with linter but while you are actively changing file that's not very nice.
Con Slow launch time
Than it's competitors, e.g. Sublime Text.
Con Emmet plugin often fails on even simple p tags
Con File search is extremely slow
It's absolutely not possible to use this tool with big projects given how long it takes to search for files.