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5 Best JavaScript Editors: Developers rank the best tools worldwide

JavaScript has continued to grow in importance over the last decade. In fact, according to StackOverflow’s Insights, JavaScript has been the most popular programming language for the past 7 years, edging out popular languages including Python, C# and Java. The latest 2019 State of JavaScript survey (released just before the start of 2020), includes responses from over 20,000 developers revealing five JavaScript editors that stand out accounting for over 98% of all usage!

5 Best JavaScript Editors Visualized

View an interactive and animated chart. Data courtesy of StateOfJS Surveys 2017, 2018 and 2019.

5 Best JavaScript Editors Scaled Visualization

Visual Studio Code

1. Visual Studio Code

VSCode is the dominant leader in online JavaScript editors. Featuring cross platform support on Linux, macOS and Windows, VSCode has built in code completion for your Node.js modules and JavaScript code. As expected with Microsoft, Typescript is a first class citizen. Git is seamlessly integrated, meaning you can make commits, reviews diffs and more in real-time all without leaving the editor. Visual Studio Code is a lightweight code editor that was built from the ground up for speed. Autocompletion goes beyond function completion and also offers documentation and function argument information as you develop. Microsoft has done an excellent job with community engagement and VSCode has a vibrant developer community creating powerful extensions which save additional time. Sought after features such as live preview and Chrome debugging with DevTools are easily accessible through the Visual Studio Marketplace. In addition, if you really want to get under the covers, the entire text editor source code is hosted on GitHub as open source software.


2. WebStorm

Jetbrains popular WebStorm is a paid editor that has a loyal following and is regularly updated. Branded, "the smartest JavaScript IDE," WebStorm lives up to the marketing by offering coding assistance across Node.js, HTML and CSS. It also supports built in assistance with popular JavaScript frameworks including Meteor, Angular, React, jQuery, Vue.js and Electron. GitHub support is integrated within the IDE and other version control options are supported through official plugins including git integration, Mercurial, Perforce, and Subversion. A built in debugger for Node.js with test integration, tracing and profiling along with seamless command line tool integration round out this IDE. Attention to detail and workflow optimization including automatic saving of file changes is a hallmark of WebStorm. Regular updates with new features and a Early Access Program make the paid subscription worthwhile for many developers.


3. VIM
One of the earliest and still very popular text editors, VIM is highly customizable and configurable with exceptional keyboard shortcut support. It's long history and keyboard dominated interface have produced a developer community with must have plugins like prettier, ALE and powerful command line support enabling you to leverage ESLint and Flow. VIM is incredibly customizable and no two JavaScript developers use it in the same way. If you started early with VIM, you may be very productive in it, but for those new to JavaScript development, VSCode, Sublime Text or Jetbrains WebStorm is a better choice.

Sublime Text

4. Sublime Text

A commercial editor with a large user base, developers find the $80 fee for Sublime Text well worthwhile due to its speed (in part derived from it being written in C++). As with VSCode, there is a great developer and plugin community that has filled in the gaps creating a powerful editor environment for JavaScript. Often referred to as a midpoint between bloated IDE and lean editors such as VIM, Sublime opens files fast and leans on plugins via package control to make it a great experience for JS development. Leveraging Babel for intelligent syntax highlighting /smart code completion and GitGutter for diffs and pushes, SublimeLinter for seamless ESLint and JSHint tie-ins makes Sublime a fast, capable and lightweight JavaScript editor.


5. Atom

Marketed as a hackable text editor for the 21st century, Atom has been growing in popularity. Atom has already established a loyal following and vibrant developer community. Packages give advanced integration options offering real-time collaboration and pair coding, git and GitHub integration and more. A cross platform editor with OS X, Windows and Linux support, Atom runs on Electron and enables deep customization and styling. As a JavaScript developer you can customize Atom using JavaScript, HTML, CSS and Node.js.

Developers are a unique breed, creating thousands of diverse solutions to meet every specific need or niche. Modern editors and IDEs have embraced plugin architectures which allow quick customization and leverage community contributions making it possible for generalized editors such as VSCode to meet more developer’s unique needs. This enables seasoned developers to focus on their JavaScript projects rather than hacking their development environment while allowing new developers to hit the ground running.

Add to the Discussion
We would love to hear your perspective. Please share your favorite editor, plugin or tool to make JavaScript development more efficient, enjoyable and productive in the comments below!

Top comments (3)

jrohatiner profile image

Webstorm FTW!

tierbolg profile image

VSCode of course, is multi platform, if you need to switch to Java faster, and allows to execute JS code without problems