It's about intents. Plugins bridge the gap though.
Text Editor: Make it very, very easy to edit files (fast to open, even large files, should never stall to index)
IDE: Made it easy or possible to write, compile, execute, and debug programs.
Every IDE has a text editor and a text editor with plugins can be built to do nearly everything an IDE can do.
The text-editor-as-an-IDE is nothing new or unique to VSCode; emacs and vim paved the path.
But all the hype I've seen for VSCode, it seems to have really found some optimal blend on the spectrum from Notepad to Visual Studio.
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