Why VS Code is so popular?

Arek Nawo
5 min readNov 16, 2021

If you’re reading this post, I bet you know or maybe even use VS Code. This fact alone tells us a lot about the VS Code’s popularity. Millions of developers around the world from many different fields of software use this editor for their daily work. But why’s that?

In this article, I’d like to go over some of the most important reasons behind the VS Code’s popularity. We all know that the general answer is “because it’s good”, but I’d like to go deeper than that. To explore what makes a really good code editor and how it’s done!

Initial overview

For those of you wanting no fluff, here are all the reasons why I think the VS Code is so popular (in no particular order):

  • open-source
  • familiarity
  • simplicity
  • design
  • extendability

Now, some of these reasons might be less or more clear and even overlap with one another. But even if, we’ll try to dive into each of these reasons individually.

Open-source

The fact that the VS Code is (mostly) open-source is an unprecedented advantage. Not only does it mean that the software is free to use, but also that you can help to improve it.

Another less obvious advantage of going open-source is increased community engagement. While not all VS Code users contribute to its codebase, they get a certain feeling of unity — bondage that — at least in this field — only open-source can provide.

But being open-source is an advantage far from exclusive to VS Code. Other code editors such as Atom and even whole IDEs like Eclipse or NetBeans are also open-source. So, what’s more behind VS Code’s success?

Familiarity

Now, this might be a little convoluted but bear with me.

I think it’s safe to say that VS Code is most popular among web developers. And it’s not without a reason. The language that most web developers are accustomed to is — of course — JavaScript. And what’s powering VS Code and with what does it integrate best? You guessed it, JavaScript!

On the inside, the VS Code is built using Electron — a framework for creating…

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Arek Nawo

Hobbyist. Programmer. Dreamer. JavaScript and TypeScript lover. 👍 World-a-better-place maker. 🌐 https://areknawo.com