Text Editor vs. IDE: Which Is The Best For Beginners?

Developers shift from a regular text editor to a purpose-built IDE. This fundamental shift may seem daunting for beginners but it will boost their productivity. The choice between text editor vs ide is crucial to development.

The programming tool you choose depends on the scope of your role in the project. IDEs offer a robust set of tools that make coding as straightforward as possible. Text editors have specialized built-in features to simplify and accelerate the code editing process.

This article will help you understand the difference between the two and decide which one’s best for beginners. Before getting into the best choice for beginner programmers, let’s explore what a text editor and an IDE are.

What is a Text Editor?

Programming in its simplest form is writing. A programmer is someone involved in writing a set of instructions for computers to execute. Although they can write in any word processor program, writing code demands a specific programming environment. Text editors are one such tool to write code. These programs take a broader approach to create and edit a range of programming language text files instead of focusing on a specific language.

The purpose of a simple editor is to write code and edit without executing it in a single application. Some text editors have features such as code formatting, editing, file splitting, and switching between multiple projects etc.

Text editors are flexible and simple tools to work with raw code. However, they are not ideal for editing other source codes and integrating your own code.

What is an IDE?

IDE stands for the integrated development environment. IDE is an application that allows programmers to write, edit, compile and build software in a single program. It’s packed with all the tools needed to develop software. In other words, IDEs are mature text editors aimed at development with high productivity.

It aims at programming language files that need to be directly executed in the console. Also, IDEs are programming language specific. For different languages, you need separate IDEs.

These memory-rich programs come with a variety of integrated features. Generally, IDEs offer:

  • Syntax highlighting
  • Code formatting
  • Code libraries
  • Automation building
  • Error reporting
  • Version controlling
  • GUI
  • Debugging
  • Code execution
  • Testing

What is the difference between Integrated Development Environment and Text Editor?

To choose the best program, you need to understand the difference between an integrated development environment and a text editor.


IDEs are a complete package of tools in a cohesive environment needed to build applications. They’re used for writing, editing, debugging, compiling, and executing codes. While you can also use a text editor as a code editor, it has a limited scope of functionality.

Programmers have to leave the text editor to build a complete application after writing & editing the code.


The only goal of text editors is to write and edit text. However, some text editors are capable of advanced features that extend their functionality.

Best text editors allow developers even to debug and execute the code. You can find advanced text editors that offer features similar to an IDE, including syntax highlighting, code auto-completion, native FTP browser, SFTP support, auto-closing XML/HTML tags, CVS support, function listing, and support for third-party plugins.

A software development lifecycle requires a suite of several specialized tools, that includes compiler and debugger in addition to a simple editor. An IDE provides all of these tools in one package. This way, development teams can work on different parts of a project simultaneously.

Hardware Requirement

Text editors are simpler than IDEs and require fewer hardware resources like memory, disk space, and processing power.

While most IDEs require comparatively robust hardware with more memory, space, and fast processing. Therefore, hardware requirements are also one of the deciding factors when choosing between the two.

Text Editors vs. Integrated Debugging Environment: Which One Is Best for Beginners?

You need to consider various factors like hardware requirements, features & specific language preferences before choosing between an IDE and a text editor.

A flexible, powerful, secure, and simple text editor is the best choice for beginners. Why? Because it offers the simplicity of a basic text editor and critical features found in an IDE.

Although an integrated development environment offers superior functionality, beginners prefer using a text editor for coding. It gives you a true sense of programming. Text editors are the best tools to learn different programming languages. You get to improve your debugging skill with text editors by analyzing and fixing the code syntax or semantic error, manually.

IDEs bring automation and speed into the programming, letting you jump over the individual steps. Alternatively, using a text editor lets you work with the basics and build your skill with a deployment tool.

In short, some of the best text editors available in the market are not only easy to begin with, but also offer the best of both worlds.

Which Text Editor Is the Best for Beginners?



UltraEdit is an award-winning text editor with 4+ million power users. With its vast feature range, beginner developers never feel overwhelmed. Its flexible and easy-to-customize user interface provides smooths the workflow. It is fully capable of handling complex and sophisticated software-development projects. And is the go-to editor used by even professional developers. The following are some of the key features UltraEdit has to offer;

  • Syntax highlighting for nearly any coding language
  • Dynamic code auto-completion with IntelliTips
  • Editor themes
  • Powerful find and replace
  • File and project explorer
  • Function listing
  • XML / HTML tag highlighting
  • HTML / Markdown live preview
  • Powerful and configurable tools
  • File encryption and decryption
  • Project support, and you can explore hundreds of features listed here.

We at Ultraedit recommend text editors as the best tool for beginners. Download a free, full-featured trial to see why UltraEdit is the most recommended choice for 28 years, available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

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