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Shubham Kumar
Shubham Kumar

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Text Editor vs IDE: Which is Best for Beginner Programmers?

The two questions that often confuse newbie coders are: which programming language should I start with? And should use a text editor or IDE for coding? Here, I’m going to discuss the second question.

If you are a newbie, you may be thinking about which platform should you use to code and execute your program. Would it be a text editor and terminal combination or an IDE with having both features? You may also think about using an online IDE to execute your program.

The Text Editor

The formal definition of a text editor is that it is a type of program used for editing plain text files.

Essentially, a text editor is a program on your computer that allows you to create and edit a range of programming language files. In other words, this is the place where you write your code.

Features that make a text editor a text editor:

  • Syntax highlighting
  • Code formatting
  • Editing
  • File splitting
  • Project switch
  • Multiple selection
  • Support for cross platforms

A text editor stands strong with programming languages that don’t need the execution of codes in a console. It’s also a great tool for editing source code easily and without making numerous fluctuations.

The Integrated Development Environment (IDE)

An IDE is a software application which provides developers and programmers with a comprehensive environment to write code and develop an application.

Features an IDE has:

  • Syntax highlighting
  • Code formatting
  • Completing codes
  • Automation building
  • Version Control
  • Debugging
  • Execution of code
  • Testing

It stands strong with programming languages that need the program to be directly executed in the console.

Basically, we have to do some debugging and testing while writing the code. But, there is no strict compulsion for choosing the IDE.

What should we have in our system?

Now that we know what a text editor and an IDE are, you may have some questions about what we should have in our system. It depends on the programming language you used and which features you want from a platform. Your systems specification and disk’s space also affect your choice.

Suppose you started coding in Java. If you go with a text editor, you write fixed lines of codes except what you primarily wanted to write in every program.

Then you use a terminal/command prompt to run your program. If you work with an IDE, it will provide you with a template, so you don’t have to write those fixed lines of codes and you also get a console, so you don’t have to look anywhere to run your program.

If you have an old computer or have less RAM, then an IDE will not function faster than a text editor because an IDE requires more resources.

If you go for IDE, then you will need a separate IDE for every programming language you use.


As a newbie coder, using a text editor would be preferable because when we use a text editor, we learn many things - starting from the file extension all the way to debugging. IDE makes it simple to write and execute programs, but we don’t know how everything is happening.

There is one more point: many newbie coders get frustrated when they find that 10 out of their 20 lines code of every program is the same; they don’t want to write these lines anymore.

They can either use an IDE or save a file with those lines of code and whenever they need, copy-paste from there.

Top comments (3)

wrwer profile image

When it comes to choosing between a text editor and an IDE for coding, the Text Editor vs IDE: Which is Best for Beginner Programmers?post really clarifies the options. As someone just starting in coding, I found this guidance incredibly valuable. It's like choosing the right tools for a job, much like selecting the perfect thrasherhoodies for comfort. Great insights!

try profile image

When it comes to choosing between a text editor and an IDE for beginner programmers, it's essential to consider your specific needs. As someone starting out in coding, therapy on autism by exploring both options. Text editors offer simplicity, while IDEs provide comprehensive tools. Try both to find what suits your learning style best.

mccurcio profile image
Matt C

Since you did not specify what language(s),
I can only assume you mean the R language.
RStudio is helpful.