Petros Kyriakoupersonal blog

I am a full stack web developer. Love tinkering all the time, especially anything javascript related.

Why I switched back to Webstorm

February 28, 2022

If you came across a post I made a few years ago Why I am switching from intellij idea to vs code you might sympathise with me on the reasons I made the switch.

Four years later, the tables have turned.

Everything I say come from the experience using Webstorm and being a full stack javascript dev so it might not apply to other programming languages directly.

Core features missing from VS Code

Even though I was enjoying VS Code there were a couple of features that produce a lot of friction in my day to day experience.

  1. Being able to search all files for specific strings easily and live edit
  2. The IDE figures out the import paths

The above two features of intellij product were always really important to me and are missing from vs code.

String search and edit

In VS Code you have to jump hoops in order to get to the feature of searching for strings in code and the experience of live editing is just-not-great.

Compare this to a product from IntelliJ like Webstorm. Using the shortcut cmd + shift + f (switch cmd with ctrl on windows and linux) you get this nice search and live edit feature


This nice floating window makes life a ton easier for me to find breadcrumbs to a codebase that I might not even be familiar with. Try doing that with VS Code, I challenge you :)

IDE figures out the import path

This is the most important for me. If you ever wrote code in VS Code then you know that importing is a hit-or-miss. It doesn't have the intelligent caching of IntelliJ products, and hence it leaves you out to figure out the importing paths.

Of course, you can tell me about absolute imports in typescript etc. but that doesn't change the fact that the editor itself is not helping match.

On the other hand, Webstorm for example figures out the imports automatically when you paste code into a file that needs to imported. It figures out the paths for you and if in some cases it doesn't figure it out, you can use the very handy shortcut option + enter when the cursor is on a piece of text, which will give you a list of possible import paths for this specific "string" you are trying to import.

Let's jump onto something not that great but still improved feature.

IDE caching is improved

So, in my last post one of the things I was bashing was caching. It was extremely slow and usually hanged the computer until it was done. Since then, it has been improved dramatically but I can't tell if its because of IntelliJ engineers or because the computers themselves became faster. My guess would be a combination, and it was not out of the woods yet on this but, it is an improvement nonetheless.


All in all, I would say intellij products certainly improved and for the last 2 years since I made the switch. You can't get a better feature-packed product at the moment but, in terms of being lightweight, VS Code is a clear winner for sure.