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As a programmer, your text editor is your toolbox and every feature is a different tool. Using a barebones editor (e.g. Notepad) to write code is like building a house with only a hammer: it’s possible, but way more trouble than it’s worth, and the end result won’t be very good.

JavaScript is a messy language to begin with, so you’ll need all the help you can get. A proper, well-equipped text editor can help you code faster, write cleaner code 10 Tips for Writing Cleaner & Better Code 10 Tips for Writing Cleaner & Better Code Writing clean code looks easier than it actually is, but the benefits are worth it. Here's how you can start writing cleaner code today. Read More , catch bugs sooner rather than later, but most of all, make programming fun and enjoyable How To Learn Programming Without All The Stress How To Learn Programming Without All The Stress Maybe you've decided to pursue programming, whether for a career or just as a hobby. Great! But maybe you're starting to feel overwhelmed. Not so great. Here's help to ease your journey. Read More .

These days, there are only five editors worth your consideration when writing JavaScript. You can find dozens of alternatives, but none of them hold a candle to these so don’t waste your time.

1. WebStorm

Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

WebStorm is the only full-blown IDE Text Editors vs. IDEs: Which One Is Better For Programmers? Text Editors vs. IDEs: Which One Is Better For Programmers? Choosing between an advanced IDE and a simpler text editor can be hard. We offer some insight to help you make that decision. Read More on this list — the rest are advanced text editors. This means two things: first, all of its best features are built-in and official, and second, the entire coding environment is one cohesive whole. Other editors tend to be a hodge-podge of third-party plugins.

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WebStorm is a comprehensive app with many features you won’t find elsewhere:

  • The best auto-completion for JavaScript.
  • Excellent coding assistance for frameworks like Angular, React, and Meteor.
  • Hundreds of inspections to catch issues in code as you write.
  • Full-blown debugger for client- and server-side code.
  • Advanced navigation shortcuts for traversing many files.
  • Integration with Karma, Mocha, Jest, and Protractor for unit tests.
  • Interfaces for build tool configuration, including Grunt and Gulp.

Simply put, WebStorm is designed for JavaScript professionals who work on large projects with many workflow tools. It’s absolutely overkill if you just want to edit stray scripts here and there. If you’re skeptical, note that WebStorm is developed by JetBrains, the same group behind other beloved IDEs like IntelliJ (Java) and PyCharm (Python).

Unfortunately, WebStorm isn’t free — you’ll have to subscribe to a monthly or yearly plan. The good news is that the subscription price goes down the longer you keep your plan active.

DownloadWebStorm ($13 per month, 30-day free trial)

2. Visual Studio Code

Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

First things first, Visual Studio Code is not the same thing as Visual Studio. Whereas Visual Studio is a bloated mess of an IDE, Visual Studio Code is a customizable text editor that can be as simple or advanced as you need, thanks to its repository of third-party extensions.

First released in 2015, Visual Studio Code has come a long way since. It comes complete with a number of built-in features that elevate it high above other text editors:

But perhaps the best part of Visual Studio Code is that it’s open source. In fact, it’s hosted right on GitHub 10 Free Open Source Windows Tools Hosted on GitHub 10 Free Open Source Windows Tools Hosted on GitHub Microsoft is the organization with the most open source contributors on GitHub. To celebrate this achievement, we have compiled a list of the best free Windows tools you can download from GitHub. Read More and you can go check out the source code right now if you want. And as one of the most active projects on GitHub, you can be sure that this editor has nowhere to go but up.

DownloadVisual Studio Code (Free)

3. Sublime Text

Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

When Sublime Text arrived on scene in 2008, everyone lost their minds. A software engineer quit his job at Google to create the ultimate text editor, driven by three simple principles: minimal interface clutter, text should be the focus, and all screen estate should be used. All of those things are true even today.

Sublime Text comes several notable features that prove its worth:

Sublime Text pioneered a lot of the features that make modern text editors as great as they are. Unfortunately, enough time has passed that competitors have caught up. And since many of those competitors are completely free, it’s becoming harder to justify Sublime Text’s hefty price tag and closed source code.

DownloadSublime Text ($70, unlimited free trial)

4. Atom Editor

Available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

When Atom Editor was first released in 2014, many dubbed it as the “Sublime Text killer.” Yet while Atom has a sizeable fan base, it never quite managed to surpass Sublime Text in popularity. And now that Visual Studio Code is drawing all eyes its way, it’s possible that Atom has now peaked.

Not to say that Atom is bad. It’s perfectly serviceable with its handful of features:

  • Flexible auto-completion with the help of plugins.
  • Smart interface for managing themes, packages, and settings.
  • Tab groups and multiple split-pane editing.
  • Productivity workflow features like fuzzy finder.
  • Highly customizable interface using HTML, CSS, and JS.

I’ve always viewed Atom as the poor man’s Sublime Text. There are even plugins aimed at replicating some of Sublime Text’s features, such as the minimap. My biggest gripe with Atom is its subpar performance — it’s not exactly slow, but it isn’t fast. I like my text editors lighting fast.

But it’s free and open source, so it seems silly to complain about such things. If you can’t stomach Visual Studio Code for some reason and you don’t like the proprietary nature of Sublime Text, then Atom is the perfect compromise.

DownloadAtom Editor (Free)

5. Brackets

Available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Brackets is a text editor by Adobe that launched around the same time Atom did in 2014. Unfortunately, it never quite caught on. Most users were happy with Sublime Text, those who weren’t had already committed to Atom, and Brackets didn’t offer enough to entice either group into switching over.

But over the past few years, Brackets has accumulated a small but fervent fan base. It offers a handful of nifty features that are mainly geared towards web developers:

  • Live preview of web code with a real-time connection to your browser.
  • Inline editors for viewing chunks of code without jumping between files.
  • Extract feature can pull details from PSD and convert into CSS.
  • Tab groups and split-pane editing.
  • Customizable and extensible through third-party plugins.

My biggest gripe about Brackets is performance — it’s easily the slowest and clunkiest of all the editors on this list. That’s a deal-breaker for me, but perhaps not for you. Plenty of users are happy with how Brackets performs, so give it a try. Maybe it won’t bother you as much. Also, Brackets is completely open source!

DownloadBrackets (Free)

Other Coding Tips You May Find Useful

If you’re new to JavaScript and feeling overwhelmed, just know that it is a tough language to crack. Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you aren’t cut out to be a programmer 6 Signs That You Are Not Meant To Be A Programmer 6 Signs That You Are Not Meant To Be A Programmer Not everyone is cut out to be a programmer. If you aren't completely sure that you're meant to be a programmer, here are some signs that may point you in the right direction. Read More . Using one of the above text editors can really make JavaScript easier to handle.

Other bits of advice include these tips for mastering a new language 7 Useful Tricks for Mastering a New Programming Language 7 Useful Tricks for Mastering a New Programming Language It's okay to be overwhelmed when you are learning to code. You'll probably forget things as quickly as you learn them. These tips can help you to better retain all that new information. Read More as well as these project ideas for learning code faster 5 Project Ideas To Help You Learn Programming Faster 5 Project Ideas To Help You Learn Programming Faster There are a few ways to ease the learning curve for programming. Get your hands dirty and learn faster with side projects you can start anytime. Play around with these five. Read More . Don’t forget these free JavaScript resources Start Coding JavaScript Right Now With These 5 Great Free Resources Start Coding JavaScript Right Now With These 5 Great Free Resources Read More and these top JavaScript courses on Udemy Really Learn JavaScript with 5 Top Udemy Courses Really Learn JavaScript with 5 Top Udemy Courses JavaScript is the programming language of the web. If you have a reason to learn JavaScript, these five excellent courses from Udemy could be the place to begin your coding journey. Read More .

Keep at it because JavaScript is a high-demand language. There are several career options for JavaScript programmers 10 Computer Programming Jobs That Are In Demand Right Now 10 Computer Programming Jobs That Are In Demand Right Now Since landing a programming job can be tough in the current landscape, consider focusing on one of the following concentrations to improve your chances of success. Read More , and web development is on the rise. If you’re still in high school, you may even want to consider these top-rated programming colleges 10 Top-Rated Computer Programming Colleges in the U.S. 10 Top-Rated Computer Programming Colleges in the U.S. Think you have what it takes to enroll in a top Computer Science school? Here are the best ones to consider. Read More .

What’s your favorite text editor for JavaScript coding? If you prefer one that we didn’t mention, let us know which one and make your case! Share with us in a comment below.

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