Difference between Text editor and IDE(Integrated development environment)

Nuwantha Fernando
Analytics Vidhya
Published in
3 min readMay 4, 2020


The name “Text editor” and “IDE “ is not new words for the developer dictionary. If those are new to them, so they are not developers. Because IDE’s and Text Editors are regularly used for writing code nicely and cleanly. They enhance the productivity of the user and enables the user to perform some actions on their code. But, most of the developers are don’t know the difference between both two. So, I assume this tutorial may help you to understand the difference.

What is a Text Editor?

Text Editors have a more widespread approach than IDE. Because, with the help of text editors we are having the ability to code using different languages. What we have to do is, install some pre installations such as plugins and packages for the specific language that we are going to code. The most famous text editors are,

  1. VS Code
  2. Atom
  3. Sublime

In advance, those text editors are having a broader community. Therefore community-driven plugins available. As an example, the VS code has a plugin called Live Server by Ritwick Dey. It enables us to launch a development local Server with a live reload feature for static and dynamic pages. As well as, there are millions of plugins, extensions available in those text editors.

What is an IDE?

IDE stands for an integrated development environment (Somewhere you found an integrated design environment or integrated debugging environment). The word integrated in IDE, Because it includes/integrated everything that a programmer could want to do on their projects.

Examples for an IDE are as follows,

  1. Eclipse
  2. Netbeans
  3. Android Studio

Below are some integrated features available in IDE which is not available in a simple Text editor.

  • For Deployment and version controlling you can find SVN and CVS support in IDE.
  • FTP and SFTP support.
  • Project import wizard from local or FTP.
  • Code folding.
  • Support for framework like Symphony or Zend.
  • Templating support like smarty.

Some text editors have these features, but aren’t quite IDEs, As an example VS Code, It’s got a lot of IDE functionality, but is really still a code editor.

As a general, lazy rule, if it’s got it’s own ‘project’ file format, then it’s an IDE, if it doesn’t, it’s a text editor.

Difference between Text Editor and IDE

Basically, IDE arrives with larger programming features than the text editor. Some of the features include auto-completion of keywords and inbuilt function names, highlighting of syntax. In a text editor, the only goal is to have an environment where you can edit your code. You will have to leave the editor to run/debug code, visualize UIs, etc.

Benefits of using an IDE

  1. Auto-completion of the keywords like the variable name, function name
  2. IDE comes with some preinstalled libraries for the specific programming language.
  3. Syntax highlight features. It makes development easy and faster.
  4. Provides a console where you can see the execution result.

Benefits of using a Text Editor

  1. Lightweight
  2. Community-driven plugins available
  3. It enables us to use a single Application (Text Editor) for multiple projects base on different languages.


The above information will guide your choices by helping you use critical thinking. But, the best solution for you is one that matches the scope of the job and makes you feel at ease while diving into the work. So, “Text editor or the IDE ?” is depending on you.



Nuwantha Fernando
Analytics Vidhya

BSc (Hons) in Computer Science and Software Engineering | Software Engineer at Treinetic (pvt) Ltd