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Switching back to my old buddy Sublime Text from VS Code 🤷🏻‍♂️

Sarthak Sharma on November 12, 2019

Okay, this will be a really quick article. Up until just a few days ago, I was a VS Code lover like anyone else these days. I use to write a column... [Read Full]
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Nice article, however I can't help but be bothered by your co-workers who apparently only have 4GB RAM.

As a developer, your computer is the tool of your trade. Just as a hairdresser can't work with blunt scissors and a carpenter can't do their job without a decent hammer, a developer cannot do their work without a decent machine. Well you can do your job, but you'll be slowed down and frustrated, resulting in less efficiency and poorer results.

With RAM being cheap and easy to upgrade, I'd expect anyone (or any company) who even remotely cares about their craft (or employees) to have at least 8GB of RAM in their machines. If you're going to be running VMs then you're quickly looking at 16GB to keep things smooth.

Now don't get me wrong, VS Code runs on Electron and it is very memory intensive, but with 4GB I'm pretty sure that VS Code isn't the only thing they have issues running.

 

Woho !! Things escalated real quick down there. Anyway, I agree with you completely Niels. But consider this a quick fix. Also few laptops were old enough that even upgrading ram couldn’t help (old processors). So, by adjusting in what they have and getting the best out of it, the short term solution can be shifting to lighter options but in long term buying a new laptop is a better option of course. 😊

 

My laptop from 7 (8?) years ago had 16GB of RAM. I'm not looking for a cookie or anything, but RAM should always be a priority for devs.

(Granted I was also doing 3D, but I think RAM should be a priority regardless. CPU and disk space are second class citizens.)

Well, sometimes for some reason people are stuck with their crappy laptops. Upgrading RAM alone won't help as the processor is crap, and buying a new laptop, while extremely recommended, may not be in someone's reach.

That said, I'm inclined to agree that most people can afford it but are careless; for example, they'll go to the movies and shop regularly, but won't upgrade laptops.

It's likely that buying another 4GB is cheaper than buying Sublime Text. I picked up a 2GB stick from my local CEX store the other day for £1. I do realise that's different depending where you live.

Yup, generally RAM is pretty cheap (and has more use cases than Sublime Text has :P). I'm using a laptop I bought 5 years ago (i5, 8 GB, 2 GB graphics) that I gradually upgraded to 8 GB RAM and, very importantly, SSD. People don't realize that often disk read/writes are the bottlenecks and no amount of RAM/processing can help beyond a point. When you switch to SSD, there's an instant jump in performance that's hard to believe (feels like 2-3 times faster).

@moopet You can use Sublime Text for free.

Honestly, I'm not sure if the company making their own devs working on a laptop with 4gb RAM pay for several Sublime Text 3 licenses...

For free for non commercial use (since it clearly says you can use it for free for evaluation).

That's twisting the words of the license. If you're continuing to use it for personal use, you're not evaluating it. You're breaking the license agreement.

You can, but then you can also break into someone's house and steal their RAM chips, if you really want to.

Whoa, I've just mentioned it. You can use it for a free evaluation, but once you start using it for work then it becomes an ethic issue. I've used a free version while I was learning javascript before VSCode was even on the horizon, had no 80$ bucks to spare for something like this then.

But today, when I'm actually making money from my work, I'm using Webstorm and paying for its license. There is no excuse, especially for us developers, to use pirated software when most of us can afford it and support fellow developers.

Quite. I'm big on sticking to license agreements these days (though I may have been less enthusiastic when I was a kid) because if you think it's fair to use winrar forever or to say you've found a "loophole" or something, then you can't expect anyone to treat your own licenses with respect.

True, true ... Basic human nature: I should everything for free, but others must pay (high) for everything I provide. :-)

Yes, my daily-driver laptop is from 2010 or 2011, and I've added an SSD and boosted it to 8GB (which is more than enough for my personal development needs).

 

Totally agree, I was feeling some perf issues on webstorm when i was running a VM.
The first thing I did was a RAM upgrade, now I run 16GB and it's smooth again.

I enjoy webstorm so much I don't know how I would do without it !

But it's still nice to know that getting SublimText can be a quick fix.

 

I am running into the same problem with my Surface laptop 2 with 8 GB of RAM and an i7 CPU, so it's not a third world problem as Niels was trying to state. Thanks for the article and for the response though! But have to tell, Niels is right, working professionally and do not have the basic tools seems to be contraproductive and ridiculous...

 

I wasn't trying to state it's a third world problem and made no mention of any such thing...

 

same here
8gb RAM, core i7, but the laptop is pretty old and I am not in liberty to purchase another one so a quick fix is something I'd love to switch to

 

What if you have only a 2015 MacBook Air with 4GB RAM? Is it still cheap to upgrade? I assume this mentality that if it's cheap for me then it's cheap for everyone is what stops many developers like you to build experiences suitable for all users (e.g people against accessibility, React concurrent mode etc)

 

Perhaps a regular PC or laptop would be a better idea if money is an issue, since those are easy to upgrade and are cheap to buy new or second hand. Add Linux to the mix and you can easily get a great machine for a small amount.

I do not understand why you feel the need to assume things about my work. I've actually worked on software created for people with a need for increased accessibility (near-blind, dyslexics, etc...).

I'm also curious where you find people who are -against- accessibility. Sure plenty of people don't really bother (or just don't know better), but actively being against accessibility seems a bit strange to me.

You still didn't get my point. The point was that it's not anyone's business to tell others they have to buy new hardware if they are "serious" developers.

Perhaps it's a good idea to start with writing out what your actual point is instead of using ad-hominems if you want to be clearer in your communication.

You have a point but I still disagree. Talking from experience, a laptop with 4GB of RAM would slow me down too much and would be too inefficient to work with for doing actual serious work. Instead I'd spend my days waiting for builds to finish, pages to load, debuggers to start, etc... which would lead to missing deadlines and losing the confidence of my clients.

If you are unable to afford better hardware, then obviously it can't be helped. However, I would assume that a professional developer actually gets paid. And just like a carpenter invests their income into their tools, so should a developer invest in software and/or hardware to help make their life and job easier.

All of this is obviously only relevant to freelance work. No excuses for employers not providing their employees with decent tools.

Apologies for ad-hominem, my bad. However you saying "serious" developers is also No True Scotsman in some ways!

Anyway, 4GB of RAM on windows is terrible but on a Mac it's not that bad. Builds and page loads rely mostly on CPU and HDD speed and with my comparison with the latest Mac there is not much difference. The only difference is in the amount of resources you can have open at the same time which I agree sometime is annoying but doesn't really slow me down.

Even so, developers get paid but they live in different locations which means different level of income but hardware prices are mostly same anywhere. It's of course a problem but I don't want to continue this argument. I think there shouldn't be any expectation from the developers of tools for users to buy new hardware to be considered serious. At the moment most of the developments are put into electron based apps which are just simply inefficient but cheaper to develop and the responsibility of handling the burden is on the user to buy better hardware. I just think it's not fair to those who can't afford and should go back to the less progressive tools like sublime, same as the teammates of OP.

 

I would like to make the hasty generalisation that if you're driving a MacBook, money is not an object in the first place.

Upgrading to a new MacBook is always a big purchasing decision. Can I afford it? Yes. Do I want to while my 2015 MacBook is working fine? No!

Anyway I'm not really talking about myself. I do web development and I'm running mostly nodejs apps in CLI. My VS Code is working pretty smooth. I'm just arguing that the mentality to expect users to upgrade to support un-optimized apps is wrong.

@moopet I think that's also a general assumption we shoudn't make. I bought my first Macbook with Google Summer of Code's money during uni. I wasn't wealthy, at all :-)

People are also allowed to save for the things they want, we shouldn't judge them.

The point here is that software shouldn't be slow, it's not "hey, who cares, upgrade your computer"

We shouldn't judge people for living their lives how they want to live them — as long as they are ethical and following the law — but when someone works in a profession then by all means we can judge them for their level of professionalism. A professional developer choosing to work on a computer with only 4GB RAM is just unprofessional.

Now I get that different parts of the world computer costs are a larger percentage of income and I empathize, but if a person is a reasonable developer their incomes can be much higher relative to many others in their region, and good professionals should invest in good tools.

Put another way, I hire freelance developers to work on projects for my company. If I found out that someone was switching to Sublime (instead of using PhpStorm) because they only had 4GB of RAM In their computer, I would be unlikely to hire them unless I determined that it was chicken-and-egg problem; e.g. that they would invest in a better computer but first needed the income to get them there. And I have actually hired someone who did exactly that, and now he works on a state-of-the-art computer, because he is a professional.

But a team of developers where many only have 4GB ram? That sounds like a recipe for a disastrous codebase.

I don't think 4GB is unprofessional per se, it depends what you're doing with it.

It's plenty for a lot of work: I've just logged onto my home dev box and checked, and it's got 6GB, is running hugo and gatsby servers and a couple of Vim instances in tmux.

And out of that 6GB? 5 of it is currently unused. You might say that's because it's headless, but it is what I use for personal development :)

You are talking apples and oranges. The discussion was about not being able to use a quality IDE on the desktop because of only 4GB RAM. An SSH target is a different fruit entirely.

You're right, but the conversation seemed to have moved on to "professional developer" with no further qualification.

For clarity then, I was assuming the original context of the conversation when I commented my opinion that developers sticking with 4GB by choice was unprofessional.

 
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Ah true, I did speak only from my own experiences and point of view. Your comment is a welcome nuance to mine. And I assure you, I very much appreciate where I live and am not blind to the realities of the world around me.

But even though I appreciate your comment, I feel the need to point out that it seems overly confrontational. Your message would be more easily accepted if you took a calmer approach.

[deleted]

That's not an apology. "sorry you're offended" is never an apology.

Exactly. It’s specifically called a non-apology. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-apolog...

Try not to do this in a professional environment, folks! It happens a lot which is why I mention it, and it’s a huge problem... Especially if you’re “calling someone out” for responding to criticism in a way you don’t like. It just adds fuel to the fire.

It’s something most people do without realizing it. Try and take a few moments before responding with “apologies” to see if you might be giving a fauxpology because, chances are, you’re response could escalate things. And if you’re entire point is to comment on how someone is already escalating things... Well, you can see the cycle.

 

niceties like public health care and education

If you mean the US, we don't have those things. It's kind of a big thing in politics right now.

 

"with 4GB I'm pretty sure that VS Code isn't the only thing they have issues running"
I was thinking the same. 😅

I was an advocate for Sublime Text for a long time and then switched to vscode. With 12GB of RAM, I've found no issues running vscode + docker-compose with about 8 containers.

 

Came here for exactly this. You put it on the nicest words. I would add that the extra RAM VScode uses for the extensions really make your life easier as a developer, so it's a trade off, and Sublime does not have anything close to that.

Also, adding a "we're hiring" with the "non-upgradeable" 4GB RAM horror story before seems counterproductive LOL.

 
 
 

I don't care if ram is cheap, a decent software developer at Microsoft should ask himself/herself why vs code is using so much resources!

 

Vscode uses electron if I remember correctly, so it's going to probably have a lot of the same memory quirks as chrome. It's essentially a fancy web app.

 

I forget exactly what I needed to do to improve the performance, but while working in a large workspace I've often found the culprit is the file watcher service. You can add directories to exclude from intellisense, mainly node_modules and your build output directory. The only directory intellisense should care about is your source code. Doing so led to vscode becoming much more responsive. I might make a post about it once I've finished moving house...

 

Looks like somebody beat me to it! dev.to/vaidhyanathan93/ulitmate-vs... main sections to note are the files.watcherExclude, files.exclude and the search.exclude, this may require customisation based on your setup, but you could also do this per workspace. Another tip is to disable extensions you don't need per workspace.

 

There is problem with ubuntu regarding file watching with vscode, comparing to windows or mac. And excluded node_modules, but still I was forced to increase the limit in linux. I don't know, maybe causes some issues with cpu later...

 

That's a good idea. A post to look forward to. 😃

 
 

please make a post about it, I found out VSCode is best for my Angular projects but old processor makes it a hassle

 

Sublime is my go to editor, never leaving it
plus VScode = electron = chrome = RAM Eating 😆

 

Exactly!!

Hey Bhupesh, Do you mind sharing some plugins, themes, and Tricks here.

 
 

I'd also add AdvancedNewFile to the list and Material Theme package.

Here's my customised preferences incase you're interested:

{
    "binary_file_patterns":
    [
        "node_modules/",
        "public/",
        "vendor/",
        "*.jpg",
        "*.jpeg",
        "*.png",
        "*.gif",
        "*.ttf",
        "*.tga",
        "*.dds",
        "*.ico",
        "*.eot",
        "*.pdf",
        "*.swf",
        "*.jar",
        "*.zip",
        "*.chunk.*"
    ],
    "bold_folder_labels": true,
    "color_scheme": "Packages/Material Theme/schemes/Material-Theme.tmTheme",
    "font_size": 12,
    "highlight_line": true,
    "ignored_packages":
    [
        "Vintage"
    ],
    "indent_guide_options":
    [
        "draw_normal",
        "draw_active"
    ],
    "indent_to_bracket": true,
    "line_padding_bottom": 3,
    "line_padding_top": 3,
    "overlay_scroll_bars": "enabled",
    "show_tab_close_buttons": false,
    "tab_size": 2,
    "theme": "Material-Theme.sublime-theme",
    "translate_tabs_to_spaces": true,
    "use_simple_full_screen": true
}
 

I am also a sublime text lover but it’s true that vscode is doing some stuffs far better than sublime. At the end I just use them both, sublime mostly for exploring code (read only) and vscode for a more intensive code editing (and pycharm for advanced stuffs :) ).

 

With the right extensions, I think Sublime Text can be pretty powerful. We've made sizeable, production-ready projects on it in the past. Of course, VS Code has some feature advantages over it, but still Sublime Text is pretty capable imo. 😄

 

Yeah that's another imperfect thing about Sublime: it doesn't work great out of the box. That being said installing extensions is quick and we just need to do that once.

The VS killer feature for me is the debug & breakpoints though, being able to inspect quickly and visually while debugging speeds up a lot the workflow IMO.

 

I had the same issue when I was working on my React Native hobby project called Sudoku Mobile (shameless plug here).

My laptop almost became unusable and my battery was draining very quickly. I switched to Atom (another Electron based app :D) for the project and I didn't have this issue anymore, but I really missed VSCode.

 

Atom is also good. You may wanna share some resources for it ?

 

I don't really know about any good stuff for atom as I didn't use it much in the end. I went back to VSCode within a few days and tolerated the performance issues. Atom couldn't property comment JSX at the time (for me at least) and that made me switch back.

 

Sharing is fun. Here I go.

Plugins

  • AceJump: Allows you to move the cursor to any character to any place currently on screen.

  • Origami: Better split pane control.

  • FileManager: Manage your files without using the sidebar.

  • NeoVintageous: Vim emulation.

  • Requester: HTTP client for Sublime Text 3.

Themes

 

Thank you! FileManager worked for me. Just enough options. Seems better than SidebarEnhancements which is just too much.

 

Nice article.

Yes, I've also found that VSCode has really become a memory hog.
My one 10year old laptop has 4GB Ram and my one 10year old desktop has 6GB Ram and not planning to update them but rather replace them sometime.

So I see myself switching to Sublime today and I'll give those plugins a try. Thanks

 

Don’t forget to come back and share your finds as well. 😊

 

Putting developers on workstations that have only 4GB of ram is like making a carpenter work with stone tools. If you want professional work, you must supply professional tools.

 

That's quite the privileged perspective, Lawrence. I know plenty of people who begin coding on computers with 4 gigs of RAM. "Professional work" is very subjective. I started coding on a 4GB laptop myself and only upgraded my RAM much later in my professional career, and I've done plenty of "professional work", trust me.

The point of this post is to give people options, not get into a flame war about how much memory is enough for development.

 

I'm not flaming you or developers; this is a note to employers.

 

I'm honestly dumbfounded someone would even accept working with 4gb ram. Chrome and the os will use most of that before you even do anything. Wtf. They are wasting so many man hours waiting for things to process for sure. Including the hours looking into why something is slow when they are on hardware that sounds a decade old. The reason it is slow is because the computer is slow...

 

The reason it is slow is because the computer is slow...

Yes, the computer is slow for today's standards, but the author literally demonstrated how changing to a different IDE (that's currently developed and popular, have been since 2008 and it's just written with a different technology, C++ and Python) enable those users to have a fast developer experience again.

Doesn't this tell you anything about slow software? :)

Would you refuse to play any game that was made after 2012 because the newer graphics made it slow on your computer from 2008? Saying that modern tools need to be fast on old tech is to reject the fundamental building block structure of all human technology. In other words, that is a very flawed loaded question.

Yeah I have no doubt in my mind at all that they are going to have slow experiences again when using it because they leave a single tab too many open in Chrome. They lose productivity learning a new tool and one that they probably liked more too because they are on hardware that has worse specs than the phones in their pockets.

I think you misunderstood me, or, which is more likely, I wasn't clear myself.

I'm not pretending that, let's say, Windows 10 has to work on a 90s PC. The author of the post, myself and other people basically illustrated that there are tools that are still relevant, Sublime Text in this case, that work well with older computers (and obviously newer ones) without sacrificing the developer experience (or to be clearer, the experience of the developers that use the IDE).

VSCode is a terrific product and the team at Microsoft should be applauded, they were able to create such a good product around a platform that has been known since the beginning to be a memory black hole. The reason why Electron is still popular is because it offers a tradeoff: more resources occupied for a faster and better developer experience (in this case, the developer who create platforms, VSCode itself).

It's a choice, it's not mandatory.

Writing an IDE is a hell of time and resource consuming choice for any company or solo developers, especially now that VSCode has eaten most of the pie. But that doesn't mean it can't be done in a better way, where better is probably subjective at this point :)

Since the tech world is not a monoculture, or at least it shouldn't be, thankfully there are multiple choices, some that occupy more resources, some that occupy less, some that have a bigger community, some that don't, some that are open source, some that aren't. Vim for example is still extremely relevant today, but has been around since the dawn of time, is that old technology? Yup. Do we care? I'm not a Vim user but I wouldn't if I were.

It's probably way more complicated to contribute code to Vim than it is to contribute code to VSCode, but this is also the result of a choice. They chose (well, back then they probably had to) a technology that's harder for the people who create the platform but allows them to distribute the result on all types of computers.

Going back to my distaste for slow software, it's still about that choice that I just mentioned. I've never said that I'm against modern technology nor I think VSCode is particularly slow.

BUT

the point is the product, how much we really need it (and need is super subjective because I could technically develop with Emacs in the console like I used to do for years) and how it helps my user experience. If the product on paper is great but I spend the day looking at htop, probably that "great" is relative. After all, if we want to be annoying, these are the system requirements for VSCode:

We recommend:
1.6 GHz or faster processor
1 GB of RAM

taken from their official website code.visualstudio.com/Docs/support...

and they are way well under the capabilities of the computer the author was referring to.

Games are an all in. If I want to play "Random game TM" and my system specs are not up to it I'm left with two choices: invest into a more capable computer (or faster upgrades) or not play the game at all.

Games are literally the benchmark on which video cards R&D is done. It's an industry that fuels itself. There are new advancements, those advancements are used by the latest games and those games are used as a benchmark to improve 3D rendering or such.

VSCode is just an IDE, let's not forget that :)

 

I'm planning to switch to github.com/cdr/code-server

I'm already using AWS Cloud9 for cloud development because everything on its EC2 is configured like the production environment and it works from all machines.

But I prefer the usability and extensions of VSCode, so I'm not too happy with C9.

Since MS is offering VSCode remote via Azure already I think it will get better in the future. Meaning, most of the "hard" things will be done on the server, allowing me to just provisioning a bigger machine if things get out of hand.

Let's see how this goes :)

 

I was planning to do that too. Do share your learnings.

 

I’ve been considering this recently too. I really did like the minimalism of Sublime and I don’t use half the features in VSCode like the git GUI or the debugger.

I might give it a bash and see how I feel, the only minor concern is TypeScript intellisense?

 

You can use the plugin I suggested in the article or if anyone knows a better plugin shoot it in the comment section below.👇🏼

 

My cheap and underpowered laptop at home has 8 GB of RAM. Developers seem to usually think that that's too little these days, but it can run easily 10+ VS code sessions, each with dozens of tabs open, each with several terminals running, all with corresponding Chrome windows that also have dozens of tabs open. I never experience any slowdowns. Ever

 
 

Damn. Can't believe you're getting this kind of performance on your machine with Windows 10. Any specific tweaks you've done? Mine is 4y/o with 8GB RAM and Core i5-5200U. I don't get anywhere near that kind of performance.

The only specific thing I've really done is - I don't use it for anything other than development. I don't install or run anyting for any function other than writing code and running it

Exactly! People seem to forget that there "may" be other things running on the computer, not just our IDEs. Except if we make it only run our IDEs and runtime environments (say, browsers) then things aren't so bad.
My (macOS) machine has plenty of RAM which is mostly used by my non-development related apps, almost all of which are Electron based because I don't like using different tooling when I use Windows. When I do run Windows, which is in a VM configured for 8GB of RAM, I only run development stuff and what-do-you-know, no problems with memory.

 

did you build this laptop yourself?
if so, please do share the details or the name of the laptop

 

Off the Shelf. Got it on Amazon 2 years ago.

ASUS UX360CA-AH51T
CPU Core i5-7Y54
RAM 8GB

 

LSP plugin will give you IDE features(Goto Definition, Find References, Smart Rename, Code Actions, Errors and Warnings, Signature Help) like VS CODE, but in sublime.

You can install LSP-vue, LSP-intelisense, LSP-json, LSP-html and LSP-css right now from packagecontrol.

Support for LSP-typescript and LSP-eslint is in the process of being added to packagecontrol (if ths PR gets merged).

For configuring LSP to work with other languages,
just follow the installation instructions defined in the README file in the LSP repo :)

If you need more info, just ask :)

 

Damn! Now that's what I call a resourceful comment. 💯

 

The big feature missing in Sublime for me for so long was a terminal. But now with Terminus (packagecontrol.io/packages/Terminus) I'm back using Sublime :)

 
 

I too have been running into problems with a larger number of files as VSCode's version control just won't detect changes. Not even after refreshing. Whereas if I got to the system terminal and do git status there are several files listed. Maybe it's the latest version breaking somewhere on my system, for some reason. Still, overall the experience is a huge plus so I'm not switching anytime soon. But yeah, Sublime's speed and responsiveness are amazing!

 
 

Even though I use MacVim I also use when needed Sublime since it can handle large amounts of files and searching is less painful and sometimes mass editing is easier to do.

A single editor is not enough.

 

Of course, a single editor is not enough.

 

I am a big fan of Sublime Text since 2012, and I have also tried VSCode for several times, last one for 2 months, but Sublime its just so dam quick, that I always comeback to it.

I don't work in that big projects, that can cause memory issues, but anyway I usually work in machines with 8GB, 16GB or 32GB, thus memory was never an issue for me.

A big plus for me with Sublime is that I can open really huge text files, that I cannot with VSCode, aka like log files ;).

 

I've been using VS Code for awhile now and have been enjoying it, up until I started working on a very deep project and I started experiencing slow downs as well. Interesting to learn it may be related.

Though I have never used Sublime it seems like as good of a time as any to give it a shot. I am curious though, do people not like Atom?

 

Atom is also based on electron. On catalina(after recent upgrade), it refused to open for me but then next version fixed it. It is quite good but not as good as vscode. Though, in atom the way it shows syntax error and all is much better and productive. I wish vscode gets that.
So, i used all three, and each one of them has its own pros and cons. So I would suggest all to try it by themselves and use the one that is suitable for you.

 
 

sometimes Atom does that thing too, hog memory

 

you will open each file in a new tab, leading to multiple VS Code instances running simultaneously,

Are your sure ?

I think multiple tabs are managed with monaco editor state using;
saveViewState and restoreViewState methods.

So there should be only one editor instance with state management for multiple tabs.

Correct me if i'm wrong.

 

Nice.
I also planned to switch to sublime. Speed is great. I faced some challenges though which (may be) someone here can help.

  1. I use NVM and so default node instance doesn't work out of the box without tweaking the configuration.
  2. No Cmd + Click navigation. If someone knows any plugin for the same, do let me know.
  3. Working with react project, need to install babel as the JSX support is missing not available out of the box.

So, VS Code is great to just install and get started without any plugins. On the other side, yes it is slow at times and depends on project.

Things may vary for people to people. I like sublime for couple of things but sometimes, I feel, I have to use VS Code so it all depends on need and project we work on too.

 

I switched back too, Sarthak. I have a mid 2012 Macbook Pro (with 16GB) and I have strong feelings against slow software (I can't stand "rails console" when it takes forever to start because... Rails) and although I love VSCode and appreciate a ton the work the team has done for the developer community, I ended up switching back to Sublime.

It all started last June with this tweet:

The obvious thought was: an extension gone haywire. Remove the plugin, remove the problem.

I then proceeeded like so and the result was:

I also tried to disable all extensions, but the culprit was the extension host, part of VSCode:

It might have been a particularly unlucky build of VSCode, but I still had to develop, I couldn't spend days researching.

It took me an hour to switch back to Sublime.

The startup time is faster than VSCode, I also noticed I don't actually need boatloads of extensions (VSCode's are generally fancier) and I have one less installation of Electron running all day :D

I switched in 3 months ago, I'm not regretting it.

The only thing I'm actually missing is how faster search/grep is in VSCode, the reason is they don't use JS/TS at all, but defer the search to ripgrep, a Rust command line alternative to "grep", much faster than the original.

If only ST3 did the same I'd have literally zero complaints about the IDE

(well, maybe only the fact it's not open source :))

 

Thanks for sharing your experience! Good to know ST is working well for you. 😃

 

I haven't opened htop in a long time since I switched :D

 

I think it will be better if you upgrade all of your RAM ... But VSCode does consume a lot of memory because it's built on Electron which is like the Chrome browser. But if you might not have money ... you can use Sublime ... but it all depends on you ... if you think you have enough to use Sublime, keep going. But I recommend using VSCode ... RAM is an important thing for the programmer, especially when working on large projects. But I do not blame you.

Good article, bro ...
Thank you...

 

I've always known about sublime text, but never really used it too much. I have found the same thing with VS code eating up my resources recently though.

Just installed sublime text, and your complete list of plugins. Let's see how I get on :)

Thanks for the article though!

 

I also think that Microsoft should really look closely into their cpu & memory & io consumption. 4gb should be enough people! More memory means just lower performance, since what is all loaded into memory?

Vs code just open text files...

 

A short time ago I was working on a project which involved dealing with large amounts of xml and log files. VSCode was fantastic for the code side of things but more or less useless for viewing the larger files. Sublime really saved my bacon for that purpose!

 

I feel you. When my work's computer had only 4GB of RAM I had to code with sublime because of the same reason, our project is legacy and GIANT. When they upgraded my machine to one with 8GB of RAM, I came back to VS Code :)

 

Sublime is a blessing for less powerful machines. 😇

 

I made this exact same switch last week! I got tired of my 16GB MBP being unresponsive. It isn't just 4GB machines, VS Code will bring any machine to it's knees when using flow and the vscodevim.

 

I tried vscode for about a week. It locked up on a 32gb workstation. I had better luck with eclipse based IDEs in the past, but I'm done with any software that uses more than 500mb of RAM including OS processes if I have a choice. Unfortunately I have to watch my work laptop hog 6gb for MacOS and Forcepoint...

 
 

Great post Sarthak!

This is why I continue to use Sublime Text as I have found VS Code too slow.

IMO, 4GB of ram is plenty. I have a netbook with 4GB of ram on it with a bare metal Linux install and it runs fast.

Part of the problem is Windows is quite a resource hog, so having things like Chrome and VS Code running simultaneously will give your computer a heart attack.

I can vouch for a plugin called Hyperclick which allows you to click through imports (super handy!).

Check it out:
github.com/aziz/SublimeHyperClick

 

Gotta check out, looks cool. Thanks, Matthew.

 

I really loved Sublime, but the lack of plugins and the lacking community (at least when compared to VSCode), along with the fact that my whole team was using VSCode ended up making me switch.

Even with 8gb of ram it wasn't enough to work properly without hitting swap all the time. I had to upgrade to 12gb, and yet I still suffer with all of ram being used sometimes (mostly due to MS's python server taking up 1~2gb of ram easily). VSCode sure is fancy and helps a lot, but it's a real ram hog.

On lower specced machines (such as my chromebook), I prefer to use vim. I can't even imagine how one could work with VSCode with only 4gb of ram.

 

I use both. VS Code for frontend only projects. Sublime Text 3 for the daily Ruby on Rails projects I work on.

Also, I'd only use Sublime Text to open large files or large projects.

Both editors are great.

 

My team has noticed an improvement in performance by disabling the git tracking in vscode. Not ideal, but speeds improved.

 
 

The git integration with vscode. There is an icon on the left bar that when clicked opens and shows the changes in the git repository. This integration (if not disabled) will consistently monitor changes to all files in your repository.

 

Hey Sarthak, nice post!

Thanks for mentioning all those packages. They do minimise the shift in experience when switching from VSC to ST - something I had been looking up for before landing right on this post.

Sublime along with those packages - best of both worlds!

Cheers!

 
 

One of the things I loved from VSCode was the LSP and the debug adapter protocol, and I switched back quickly to Sublime for the reasons mentioned in this article.

If you liked the autocompletion, there is a Sublime plugin to use the same modules you love from VSCode: github.com/tomv564/LSP (I use the github.com/sublimelsp/LSP-inteleph... adapter and it works great!).

Also, there is a very interesting WIP to use the same debug adapters. It still needs some work, but if it gets more usable I will immediatelly uninstall VScode from my computer: github.com/daveleroy/sublime_debugger

 

On windows 10, if using windows defender, adding vscode.exe and your project folder to exclusion list helps as well. It's risky. But... Well you are already risk taker if you are doing huge dev project on 4 GB ram :)

 

I'm definitely gonna be adding some of those plugins to my Sublime Text set up.

As for more useful plugins, Advanced New File and Project Manager are two of those I can't live without now.

 

Ahem.

I'm a loooong time ST user, and a plugin dev.

VScode is a nice experiment, but far from production-ready, and that's mostly because electron and javascript, none of which is soothing on memory usage. Once you start to eat up memory with a huge project, you'll see how clunky it can get.

You just reached the point where it became painfully obvious, whereas I saw it from the start and couldn't live without the snappiness of Sublime Text.

May I offer my configuration repository: github.com/karolyi/st3-config

 

Since a couple of updates ago, VS Code has been really terrible. With the same work project that hasnt grown that much, the editor was working fine. Same plugins, themes and so on. After that all of the sudden it started behaving really dumb. When opening files it doesnt recognize some imports, until i open up that file from the import as well. The errors that is showing in code are not errors and i have to type space and remove it to realize it is not an error. I am looking into switching it as well, cause it is becoming unbearable. And I am currently using a MacBook Air with 8GB of ram, but it seems RAM doesnt matter because the same problems I am facing with using a desktop Linux/Windows machine with 16+ RAM and a much faster processor.

 
 

As a software developer, your most valuable tool is your computer. Investing on a good machine will help to you to use the software IDEs better and in return be more productive.

At least: 16GB ram, i7(latest Gen), m.2 SSD 256GB storage

 

i was reading about remote vscode. it worked really easy with google cloud spot instance, (do not have azure account).

but after i noticed they got devcontainers, jumped on that, works really good, with docker compose v2 (instead of v3) i can limit cpu and memory, 2 cpu and 2gb is enough...

 

Did you just forget to mention something for integrated terminal?! Here I mention it for you! :D

Terminus: Bring a real terminal to Sublime Text

After installing here is something more to it.

  • To open terminal with "Ctrl+Alt+T" follow below steps
  1. Go to Preferences> PackageSettings> Terminus> KeyBindings
  2. Replace everything in right window with the following code

    [
    //Open as many terminal in new tab with 'ctrl+alt+t'
    {
    "keys": ["ctrl+alt+t"],
    "command": "terminus_open",
    },
    ]

  • To make it horizontally split like IDE's go to View> Layout> Select "Rows: 2"

Sublime with Terminus

 

JetBrains IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate!

F everything else!

So many of my teammates submit smelly code and uncaught syntax warnings because they don't have Code Inspection that comes with a real dev's IDE :)

 

4GB RAM in 2019 🙄

I use Docker Machines with Skaffold, VSCode, Chrome with so many tabs (almost 50)

I constantly use 10GB minimum...

I couldn't work well with only 4GB for sure... I think that 16GB is a minimum in 2019

 

Having reached this point where we start complaining about how much RAM VSCode needs to run I wonder why wouldn't make sense moving towards an actual IDE like Webstorm? (or PhpStorm depending on your stack).

I always felt like hybrid solutions to any given problem end up missing the whole point, and VSCode is neither a proper IDE and or a simple text editor...

What is the point of using Sublime Text if your project demands a lot of tools and you have a powerful machine that can easily run PHPStorm?

If you really like your web development environment to be snappy and you're not willing to wait for 5 or 10 secs for a task to finish, why would you bother with PHPStorm or VSCode?

 

It is the same with my experience while coding my project in VS Code I notice my Macbook Air's battery drain faster than usual and my Mac's performance becomes slower, then I switch back on using Sublime Text and I notice the difference. When using Sublime Text I can code more longer hours without charging my Macbook and the performance is faster than using VS Code.

 

I relate completely. VSCode has indeed been a source of frustration. I've also tried to move back to Sublime a few times...unsuccessfully

I later realised that my vscode configuration is much closer to that of an IDE than it is a text editor.
Some being:

  • integrated debugger (node, ruby)
  • language server plugins for autocompletion (solargraph)
  • Unit test sidebars (mocha)
  • CI Integration plugins
  • Background tasks (typescript compiling)

In that perspective, I don't think a lot of comparisons are fair. Each is good at its own thing.
It's also very possible that I'm not familiar enough with Sublime to configure it well enough.
Suggestions are welcome :)

 

Nice article, but why I started Vscode is because it shows me errors then and there itself. On the other hand Sublime text doesn't do that. And in large projects when I have used Vscode like for flask or django, it was actually giving the problems which you have mentioned in the article. So Vscode has its pros and cons.

 

Completely agree. So, i feel we can keep both in our system and use it based on needs may be.

 

I use both, but I only use vscode for Powershell (which I do a lot of) because sublime has no plug-in I've found that supports debugging Powershell like code does. For everything else I use sublime. With one exception, it's the finest editor I've used in 35+ years of coding.

 

I don't know anyone uses a 2nd editor, but I'm type of a guy use for a long time. And it is SublimeText. To be honest SublimeText is a lifesaver in many situations.

But, working on a machine that only have 4GB RAM is not a good thing for a developer. Even an i3 processor is okay but A 4GB RAM?

It's 2019, and most of the frameworks requires a decent amount of RAM. If my guessing is right, 8GB RAM is enough for now (if you don't use a VM).

But with 4GB I'm pretty sure that VS Code isn't the only thing they have issues running.

 

While I dont disagree that vscode does use quite a bit of RAM, it's yet to use more than Firefox with only 2 tabs open lol That being said I just can't go without the debugger, integrated terminal and git. I use them all the time.

 

I also noticed you use Angular. Angular development mode -- at least for our application -- seems to be quite heavy on memory leaks, to a point even 8GB ran can not suffice. At 4GB ram you'd certainly be close to 100% the time on swap.

Our apps rely heavily on maps, which are heavily stateful, even tough I try to umnount them properly, with subsequent live reloads a tab can slowly climb its memory usage to the 4GBs.

Not to even mention any webpack system is quite memory hungry, the TS language service and other goodies you've already mentioned also become quite hungry on big projects. (the TS team itself has created the subprojects feature for problems like that). Some of the goodies (like the TS service) will be there on any editor you go.

 

For me on ubuntu, 16Gb is not enough with vscode.
I don't know what is the issue, but that is how it is.
Moreover 6 cores instead of 4 makes a difference as well.
I all these extensions and customizations, including eslint abd prettier, I can't imagine going to other editor.
I also switched from webstorm to vscode.
I hope sometimes they switch to faster engine. The response of vscode is not 100% fast.

 

Does sublime text have same Git support as VSCode? For ex: the way we can just press an icon to commit, pull,push or even synchronize changes?
Also,I found it a bit hard to configure things when working on a new language for ex: python in sublime
IMO, just found VScode to be super friendly when it ame to these. But I haven't worked in big teams writing huge codebase. So it is sth to think about. Great observation!

 

It’s intellisense parsing the scripts. If you disable it you’ll lose those code helpers but you’ll lose much more. If you can afford a vps, get one and install your plugins to the ssh instance Using the ssh connect plugin. I was a sublime user who moved to vscode and had the same probs. Also, 4gb of RAM is too little like Niels says, but Neils, companies are stingy sometimes and don’t provide good hardware for anyone. Where I work now, an underpowered PC laptop is given out to us, while the entire dev team uses our own personal macbooks. More horsepower and better software is the answer!

 

You forgot pretty json.

Command+control+j=json nirvana

 

That’s so cool man. Will surely check them out.

 

I know there must be some discussions about RAM...Even without looking at the comments.😅😅😅

 

This is a really nice article. I enjoy real reading every comment aswell.

 
 

i'm shocked to hear of anyone doing development on a pc with 4gb ram. my phone has 4gb of ram. ram and disk is nearly free so it seems the thing to do is order more ram.

 

Mine has 8GB. But that's not the point of this post. 🙂 It's quite common for folks to have systems with 4GB of RAM when they start out. Plenty of college grads who join the workforce right out of college have systems with 4GB RAM.

That said, I do not wish to argue with you on whether RAM and disk is "nearly free" and whether anyone should do development on systems with 4GB RAM.

The point of this post is just to give a quick fix to people who might be facing memory issues on VS Code. If they want to upgrade their RAM, that's another solution. It's always good to have options. 😏

 

Facing same issues.
So i use both vscode & sublime.
Code traversing is also lightning in sublime when projects are big unlike vscode.
Moreover, sublime works well with remote files.

 

I would say, instead of hiring another developer, get your current devs some modern machines with 16GB RAM and hopefully at least an i5 for their daily driver.

 

Nice! I've been wanting to switch back to sublime for the same reasons but couldn't find the right plugins, I'll try these now

 
 

My 2017 MacBook Pro struggles to run vscode sometimes, especially if I have lots of tabs open. I just can't bring myself to change editor because I love it so much!

 

Good write-up. I go back and forth between VSCode, IntelliJ and Visual Studio myself. I prefer Visual Studio most days.

 
 

Talking about memory footprints, how about Atom (looks like sublime text)

 

Atom is also Electron based like VS Code. Still a little heavy for some folks, although I agree it's pretty good by itself.

 
 

Hey Sarthak,

Kudos on the effort and posting your thoughts.

ST is represented by Batman, right when I was about to have a go on VSCode.

Now I feel obligated to use Sublime :(

Just kidding!

 

Conclusion : if you are working a bigger project, please upgrade your system.

Or Just use notepad.

Vs code does not have anything to do with your slow systems.

 

I don't know how you're surviving but in MacOS, I can't seem to idle under 10 gigabytes of RAM.

 

I use sublime... Code is great, but as it's an electron app it's a real resource hog. There is no reason to have an editor that is such a beast when it comes to resources.

 

Well i became favourably aligned as it was big in news in the German press that ms is STILL killing linux. Foff and hasta la vista to vscode!

 

For me, the most important reason for not using Sublime is that it's not free

 
 
 

I am feeling VS code light as feather because i came from Android Studio which tops the list when it comes to memory consumption. Now I'm thinking what it would like to work with sublime😂

 

I'm sorry, but why would some of your dev's have sub par computers?
4gb ? Are we in the 90's and they browse the web?

 
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I'm just here to laugh at devs who code on 4GB of RAM (and probably on a small screen of a laptop).

 

I have laptop with 16 gb ram but i also have macbook pro 2013 modal which has 4gb of ram. RAM can't be upgraded because of the way it is manufactured so there is nothing to laugh. We should adjust based on available resources to achieve our productivity instead of laughing at others. Isn't it?

 

Exactly. Thank you for explaining it so concisely, Anand. 😃

 

you shouldn't though, not everyone has the liberty to good and latest laptops, some are just barely getting by with notebooks

 

People often forget not everyone is equally privileged. Thank you for this comment. :)

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