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Visual Studio VS. Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio VS Visual Studio Code
Faiza Khalid
CIS engineer | Developer | Tech Writer

Are you interested in a Visual Studio vs. Visual Studio Code comparison?

Both Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code are software development tools by Microsoft Corporation. Both appeared as the top two software development tools used by the software developers in StackOverflow Survey.

Although they have similar names and enjoy popularity among software developers, the feature set is very different, making you think about which platform would be best for your developers.

Let’s dive into a detailed Visual Studio vs. Visual Studio Code comparison.

Visual Studio vs. Visual Studio Code 

Visual Studio is a complete integrated development environment, while Visual Studio Code is a text editor. The primary differences between both are as follows:

IDE vs. Text Editor

Visual Studio is a premier integrated development environment by Microsoft to develop, debug, test, and release software applications. Moreover, developers can collaborate on a single codebase.

Visual Studio uses Microsoft’s development platform, including Windows API, Windows Presentation Foundation, etc., to manage native code.

As Visual Studio is a full-fledged IDE, it offers all the necessary programming utilities, including a compiler, debugging features like breakpoints, step over/through source code, project explorer, advanced IntelliSense, relevant code completion, etc.

Visual Studio Code, first released in 2015, is a rich yet lightweight text editor. Developers might find VS Code lacking in extended features such as auto code completion, syntax highlighting, code compilation, etc.

Built-in Support and Extensions

Visual Studio is a complete development tool for programmers who work with C# and .Net. It also integrates well with other Microsoft ecosystem services, such as Azure.

Visual Studio also supports many programming languages, such as C, C++, Python, web technologies including JavaScript, etc., except Java which was removed in 2017.

Visual Studio Code has built-in support for JavaScript, TypeScript, and Node JS. Developers can use it for any programming language by installing the required extensions. 

Although VS Code is not ready immediately for developing software applications and is thus lightweight, it has a large marketplace of extensions that developers can add to alter the text editor according to their project requirements. 

For example, developers working with programming languages other than JS, NodeJS, and TypeScript can get a debugger, compiler, IntelliSense, etc., by adding relevant extensions.

Visual Studio works well with database technologies such as Microsoft SQL Server. Visual Studio Code, on the other hand, has no built-in database support but offers multiple database extensions.

Platform Compatibility

Visual Studio is available for Windows and Mac, but the running is more robust on Windows. It is not available for Linux operating systems.

Visual Studio Code is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. There is also a web version available for it.

Software Product Size

Visual Studio offers 17 workloads on Windows. Workloads are component installation bundles for different application development targets. These workloads make Visual Studio installation easier on Windows as complete installation of the product can take up to more than 42 GB of disk space.

Visual Studio installer for Mac is comparatively less complicated. It does not support many application targets.

Developers can use it on Mac for the development of web, mobile, and desktop applications with built-in .Net, Unity, and Docker support. Developers can install it on Mac with around 6.2 GB of available disk space.

The installation for Visual Studi Code is quite hassle-free. You can download and install it with only around 200 MB of available disk space.


Visual Studio is available in three versions: Community, Professional, and Enterprise. The community version is free, and the Professional and Enterprise are paid versions.

The community version is not supported for enterprise-level applications, while the Enterprise edition has advanced features for software architecture, debugging, testing, etc.

Visual Studio Code is free to use on every platform with an easy-to-use graphical user interface. Some extensions in the marketplace might charge a price, while the majority of third-party extensions are free to use with Visual Studio Code.

Which Should you Choose between Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code?

The high configurability of VS Code makes it much more than a simple text editor like Sublime. It tops the list of popular development tools for a reason as 74.48% of developers mention Visual Studio Code as their preferable tool to write and debug code. However, the high VS Code configurability comes with a few trade-offs.

Visual Studio is the best choice for you if you plan to work with C# programming language, .Net framework, or .Net Core. If you plan to work on an enterprise-level software application, Visual Studio Enterprise offers you multiple software architecture patterns to work with.

Visual Studio is also a good choice for test-driven development of computer programs. Enterprise edition gives you testing features such as code analysis, snapshot debugs, etc. Visual Studio has also robust features for database support and code refactoring.

Visual Studio would also offer you better collaboration features if there are multiple developers on your team working on the same project.

Visual Studio Code, a cross-platform code editor, is generally a better option when developers are working with React, Vue, or Angular as the front end.

It is also a favorable option for developers who want to customize their development environment and does not want to run a heavy IDE daily for smaller projects.

Moreover, if you are working on a Linux operating system, then Visual Studio Code is the only option for you.

If you are still unsure about Visual Studio vs. Visual Studio Code and want assistance in a software application development project, DevTeam.Space can help you via its field-expert software developers community.

All our developers are vetted for their software development skills using the latest technologies and have experience in developing software solutions for a wide range of industries.

You can also partner with these high-quality developers by sending us your initial project specifications. One of our account managers will get in touch to discuss further details with you.

FAQs on Visual Studio vs. Visual Studio Code

1. Is Visual Studio the same as Visual Studio Code?

No, Visual Studio is a full-fledged integrated development environment, especially for C# and .Net development. It supports several other programming languages and offers complete application development utilities like a built-in compiler, debugger, feature-rich text editor, etc. Visual Studio Code, on the other hand, is a lightweight but powerful text editor with basic refactoring operations. It is highly configurable for mobile and web development via several programming languages, including Python, Go, PHP, etc.

2. Which should I choose between Visual Studio code and Visual Studio?

If you plan to develop modern software applications and web services, especially using .Net frameworks with complex workflows and out-of-the-box code compilers, debuggers, etc., go with Visual Studio. Visual Studio Code is a better option if you only require a powerful code editor to quickly write, debug, and build with version control.

3. Can Visual Studio Code replace Visual Studio?

It is highly unlikely as both development tools target different audiences. Software teams working on enterprise applications and requiring ready-to-use environments for rapid application development with better collaboration would prefer Microsoft Visual Studio in the long run. Small teams working on lightweight software applications would continue using Visual Studio Code with the required professionally developed plugins and extensions from the Visual Studio community.

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