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Best IDE for Node JS: Top 10 Node.js IDE in 2021

IDE for Node JS is the all-in-one software for online and offline editing, building, compiling, and running Node.js codes and thereby help in developing node.js applications. Code control is a crucial element of the process of developing software applications. To work with precision and speed, many programmers require tools to modify and debug code efficiently. Such features of Node js editors could cause the conceptualization of an IDE (integrated development environment). A single software program has a source code editor, code debugger, code completion functionality, build-automation tool, compiler, and more. Modern IDEs include a single visual user interface that supports various software code creation, compilation, deployment, and debugging.

Most IDEs support the editing and building of a single programming language. Still, modern IDEs such as VS Code, Xcode, Eclipse, Netbeans pursue the dream of editing the source code of multiple languages. This article focuses on describing and analyzing the top 10 IDE for Node JS present in 2021. We will compare the Node.js editors to find out the best IDE for Node.JS. We have collected the reviews and opinions of several Node.JS developers and curated the pros and cons list of 10 topmost Node JS editors. But first, let us know about Node JS and the features it requires in an IDE.

What is Node.JS

Node.js is an open-source Javascript runtime based atop Chrome’s V8 that allows you to create fast and scalable online apps with ease. It employs an event-driven, non-blocking I/O paradigm, making it lightweight, efficient, and ideal for data-intensive real-time applications running across shared devices. 

IDE for Node JS 0 Features
Image Courtesy: Simform

Node.js represents a very adaptable and scalable technology. The server controller provides a non-blocking I/O architecture based on events, making it easy to convert JavaScript to the machine language by running the code very quickly. The coding functions quicker in server-to-client direction thanks to JavaScript and Node.js, which improves the web applications’ performance to the next level. More accurately, the construction of web applications on Node.js guarantees a stable and safe non-blocking I/O paradigm that dramatically simplifies the code.

Node.js has seen massive growth in popularity for building Node.js based business solutions. These applications include single-page applications, Chat applications, Backend for Social Media Networking, IoT applications, and Data streaming. Netflix, Linked In, Tumblr, Amazon, and other tech giants have noticed the diversity in business solutions Node.JS offers. So we must find an IDE for Node.js which complements the futuristic features of Node JS while being super fast and performance-oriented.

Features of IDE for Node.JS

  • Scalability
  • High Performance
  • Support for extensions
  • Modular
  • Should boost development speed
  • Huge Community support
  • Freedom to Develop Apps
  • Rich Ecosystem
  • Contribution to MEANstack and Fullstack

The technology offered by Node.js is an effective solution to boost startups and simplify development by providing an ecosystem utilized by top edge enterprises.

Top 10 IDE for Node JS

We have carefully curated the top 10 among a large number of Node.js editors, keeping into consideration both the reviews of users and the requirement of being a genuine performance-oriented node js editor. Almost all these IDEs are supported by multiple platforms such as Windows, macOS, and Linux, and the list is a combination of offline IDE and web-based hosting platforms.

1. Visual Studio Code

IDE for Node JS 1 VS Code

Visual Studio Code or VSCode is a powerful modern simplified, and minimalistic editor that supports many programming languages. Visual Studio Code blends the ease of using a source code editor with sophisticated developer features such as IntelliSense code completion and debugging. First and foremost, an editor is someone who gets out of your way with the pleasantly smooth edit-build-debug cycle, which means you spend less time messing with your surroundings and more time acting on your ideas. VS Code is supported by multiple platforms such as macOS, Windows, and Linux, thereby satisfying code continuity across various devices. It is an ideal IDE for Node JS and is one of the best Node JS editors available to download for free.

SPECS

  • Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux
  • Multi-Language Support: Yes
  • Auto-Complete: Yes
  • License: Proprietary, Free

Pros

  • VS Code, developed by Microsoft, offers intelligent code completion, comes pre-configured for different languages, has debugging tools for Node.js, JavaScript and TypeScript, and integrated GIT control. It is under active development and constantly updating its features.
  • VS Code has a massive database of add ons for different languages supported by its exponentially growing community. There are extensions for icons, code completion, auto-formatting according to syntax, code highlighting, etc.
  • VS Code has the power WebStorm and the speed of Sublime, which are both separate IDE for Node.JS, and the best IDE helps to bring these two together.
  • It comes with an internally accessible terminal with a keyboard shortcut, supporting inline commands for real-time working on the source code and building it on the go.
  • The TypeScript integration with VS Code is solid, and with the “javascript.implicitProjectConfig.checkJs”: true option, it uses TypeScript compiler capabilities to statically type check JS (type inference, JSDoc types).
  • VS Code offers high performance despite being a wrapped web-based application and has an inbuilt task manager for maintaining multiple instances.

Cons

  • Visual Studio Code is not a full-fledged IDE compared to its elder brother Visual Studio. Still, it makes up for it by being an extensible, flexible, powerful code editor with its arsenal of add-ons to deliver a full IDE-like service as a Node.js editor.
  • Although VS Code is lightweight, running multiple instances of the IDE for Node JS might take too much RAM memory, especially in the Windows platform. We might end up getting “out of memory” messages, and running multiple instances of the Node.JS editor is inadvisable.
  • VS Code is not as powerful as Visual Studio due to its tendency to be minimalistic and flexible. The embedded GIT is not robust in VS Code, as it only provides a basic minimum git function. Such limitation can be overcome by another extension.

2. WebStorm

IDE for Node JS 2 WebStorm

WebStorm is an integrated development environment made by JetBrains, specifically for coding in JavaScript and technologies related to it, including Angular, React, Node.JS, Vue, TypeScript, HTML, and style-sheets. It has the best code completion technology, which is an essential feature for an IDE of Node JS. Just like other JetBrains IDE, WebStorm makes the process of development enjoyable, handling the complex task with ease, making the routine work automatic. WebStorm aims to develop more extensive projects, and smaller projects can be managed using a simple text-based Node.JS editor.

WebStorm is a perfect platform if you don’t want to mess with settings, set up the environment, or find plugins to work with and jump into developing Node.JS right away. You truly feel at home with WebStorm when you’ll work on complicated apps, large codebases, which depend on alliance codes, and while using JetBrains IDEs like IntelliJ IDEA for Java or Python. It’s a dependable solution for those who work with massive and sophisticated JavaScript advertisements so that they don’t have to do it manually. The only setback is that you have to pay for a WebStorm license key after a trial period of one month, but if you buy the license, it is the best Node JS IDE you can find.

SPECS

  • Platforms: Windows; macOS; Linux
  • Multi-Language Support: Yes
  • AutoComplete: Yes
  • Cross-Platform: Yes
  • License: Free (for students, teachers, project manager) / Paid

Pros

  • Intelligent Code Completion is the best feature of WebStorm, allowing auto-completion of Node.JS keywords, variables, methods, parameters, and functions. This essential function helps save a lot of time while completing projects in deadlines and makes WebStorm the best feature to bring to an IDE for Node JS.
  • WebStorm helps maintain, refactoring, and format code, making your code look nice, tidy, clean, and safe. Automatic refactoring is performed to your code using functions for moving files, inline variable extraction, extraction of variables, etc.
  • WebStorm has an inbuilt local machine server deployment system that helps you run Node JS projects and enhances back-end programming using an IDE for Node JS.
  • The presence of a powerful visual Git tool, which allows easy commits, merging, visual diffing, push/pull rebasing, and inspecting the VCS history of a project, helps in easy project maintenance with native project support from GitHub.
  • Although WebStorm seems like a robust, complex IDE with an arsenal of functionalities, it uses way less RAM than electron-based IDE for Node JS.
  • WebStorm supports a wide range of plugins, but we do not have to spend time searching for plugins, as everything required for a Node JS editor is included from the beginning.
  • Code templates powered by Apache VTL allow custom variables, live templates, conditional blocks for includes and iterators. Along with ESLint and editorconfig, we get special configurable code formatting.

Cons

  • WebStorm is not suitable for commercial use, as it requires a paid license for the same. Prices have escalated since 2015 and now stand at $59 / year for individual use and $129 / year for organizations. Free non-commercial licenses can be obtained by students, teachers, training schools, etc., but applicable only for a year.
  • Although the pressure on RAM is more minor, multiple projects cannot be opened under a single instance, and various instances require heavy RAM usage. There have been numerous reports of high CPU usage with WebStorm choking up all cores of the CPU.
  • WebStorm is not open source; thus, free distribution, modification, and trustability for the security of the proprietary application are not there.
  • The plugin support system in WebStorm is not as robust as VS Code, and the latest third-party libraries are not supported out of the box.
  • Navigation through the WebStorm app is not for beginners, as it requires a unique combination of keys to perform a simple task such as building the source code.

3. Vim

IDE for Node JS 3 Vim

Vim is simply a text editor developed by Bill Joy in the late 1970s. It is a Unix editor natively included in Linux, BSD, macOS operating systems and available for free in Windows. Vim has a high learning curve, but it is easily one of the fastest and most power-filled IDEs for Node JS once the learning is overcome. It is known for being efficient and fast, as it is a small application and can be controlled entirely using the keyboard, thereby increasing overall flexibility. Vim began as an interactive typewriter through a simple command “vi” but remains popular today as one of the best IDE for Node JS. It transcends simple IDE-style workflows, and we can save time once we get the hang of it.

SPECS

  • Platforms: Linux, macOS, Windows
  • Multi-Language Support: No
  • Auto-Complete: No
  • License: Free and Open Source

Pros

  • Once Vim is adequately learned, it is complicated to use other IDE for Node JS because it becomes increasingly fast due to Vim’s mastery of tricks and concepts. There is always something new to learn Vim in terms of efficiency and more shortcuts.
  • Vim is extremely fast, occupying just a thin slice of your RAM compared to modern editors like VS Code, WebStorm, Atom. It loads instantly while delivering the same features of the latest IDE for Node JS.
  • Vim supports excellent extensibility due to its rich scripting functionality. It becomes easy to add support for debugging, git, build systems, and syntax correction upon combining a plugin management system.
  • The portability of Vim is superb, supported by all Unix and macOS systems. It works well with remote machines with a slow connection as it is just a text-based connection.
  • Vim supports unlimited undo operations and persistent undo; the latter can undo changes after the file was closed and opened again.
  • There exist multiple distinct editing modes in Vim, such as Insert mode, Normal/default mode, Command mode, and Visual mode. 
  • Lastly, Vim doesn’t forcefully impose all the numerous features found in the modern IDE for Node JS. Instead, the new features will not block the way and provide a much lightweight option.

Cons

  • Beginners might have difficulty learning Vim and might give up before editing in the Node JS editor. We have to spend more significant time tuning settings to our needs, but it is worthwhile in the long run.
  • Many plugins have a dependency on Python and Lua features, which might not be included in the user machine.
  • The elementary introduction tutorial for code completion, auto highlighting, reformatting, and other features is unavailable. New users have to go through the Vim documentation to figure out the necessary usages, which might be tiresome for a few.
  • Copy-paste mechanisms are a headache in Vim, as Vim has problems accessing the system clipboard to copy-paste from external applications.

4. Sublime Text

IDE for Node JS 4 Sublime Text

Sublime Text is a cross-platform shareware source code editor with a Python API made by Joe Skinner in 2008. It is a fast, competitive, and extensive IDE for Node JS, natively supporting numerous programming and markup languages with the vast support of plugins for functionality and modularity.

SPECS

  • Platforms: Windows; macOS; Linux
  • Multi-Language Support: Yes
  • Auto-Complete: Yes
  • Cross-Platform: Yes
  • License: Proprietary/Paid

Pros

  • Sublime Text still offers many IDE capabilities, but it is lighter than an IDE. Text from the current file complements the autocomplete feature, and there is support for the project (folder browsing, scoped history, build-system declarations). Refactor support is mimicked by selecting and replacing several options across a project and searching for a regular expression. Syntax-aware selection and GoTo are used to rapidly move across project areas. Macros and snippets.
  • Sublime Text specializes in distraction-free editing, removing all the UI elements of the IDE for Node JS, so you can entirely focus on code.
  • The beginner-friendly Node.js editor refrains from surrounding you with keyboard shortcuts and provides a descriptive introduction tutorial for the basic usages.
  • This IDE includes a minimap of the source code on the side, providing a top-down view of the file and easy navigation. The command palette included with Sublime Text is similar to the command search function in macOS.
  • Sublime Text can be purchased or used for free, but a warning message pops up while saving the source code using the free license.
  • Sublime starts quickly, and the UI is super responsive and informs the user of what is running in the background.

Cons

  • The Sublime Text running on the Windows platform takes longer to open big source code files than other similar editors such as NotePad++. The issue has not been fixed even in the recent build and is a significant drawback for Windows users.
  • Free license users of Sublime Text face a popup for registering when saving the file, which can become annoying after a particular time. Users might end up frustrated by Sublime Text and discontinue using it.
  • Sublime Text is not a full IDE and does not function on a project level. It is suitable for competitive coding and debugging only.

5. Atom

IDE for Node JS 5 Atom

Atom is a newly designed “hackable” or customizable text editor supporting plugins in JavaScript and Git Control embedded IDE for Node JS. This is a much newer IDE than the rest, developed in 2014 and revamped in 2018 as Atom. The extending packages are maintained by the community, and the source code is free and open for all. Atom is based on the Electron framework enabling cross-platform desktop applications utilizing Chromium and Node.js. Atom has similar features as other modern IDE for Node JS, with a few limitations here and there.

SPECS

  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows®, macOS, Linux
  • Multi-Language Support: Yes
  • License: Free / Open-Source
  • Auto-Complete: Yes (plugin)
  • Cross-Platform: Yes

Pros

  • Atom has vastly improved over the recent years and is challenging VS Code to be the best IDE for Node JS since Facebook has begun to integrate Atom IDE into its ecosystem. It has the same number of plugins as VS Code, and there exists extensive documentation for developers to create a new plugin.
  • The modular nature of Atom makes it very extendable, and Atom’s core packages, such as packages taking care of replacing and search functionality, can be changed easily without hiccups. 
  • Atom is built over Node.JS. So all the workings of Node.JS can be implemented in this IDE for Node JS.
  • Atom has an extensive list of packages usable with its built-in package manager.
  • Atom is an IDE for both beginner and professional level users and is entirely free to use.
  • Installation of Atom onto your system is straightforward and effortless and proceeds without giving a tantrum.
  • It is entirely integrated with Git with features like highlighting files, folders, lines that have uncommitted edits made.
  • Atom has in-built HiDPI support with zero scaling issues.

Cons

  • Although Atom supports numerous plugins, the startup time of Atom is heavily dependent on the number of plugins installed, as the plugins add heaviness to the overall performance of Atom and make the IDE for Node JS time-consuming.
  • Atom tends to hang or crash while opening large text files (>10 MB), making it unusable as a general text editor. NodePad++ is a better choice as a general text editor.
  • Atom is a little laggy in comparison to VS Code which is noticeable on large complex projects. Each plugin has its separate sub-processes, which hogs chunks of RAM like Google Chrome.
  • Being an Electron-based IDE, Atom is generally slower than non-Electron-based IDEs. Updating Atom and its extensions can be a nuisance, as they both might lead to faulty installation and unmanageable errors.

6. Eclipse Che

IDE for Node JS 6 Eclipse Che

Eclipse Che, developed in 2014, is an online Kubernetes-native IDE and a platform supporting developer collaboration, i.e., multiple users working on the same project simultaneously. Eclipse Che was produced with Node.js developers in mind, and the recent Eclipse Che boasts Node.js friendly features like IntelliSense, refactoring, and key bindings. The online IDE for Node JS accelerates developer and project onboarding, provides consistency between developer environments, and is enterprise-ready with built-in security.

SPECS

  • Platforms: Windows, Linux, Mac
  • Multi-Language Support: Yes (plugin)
  • License: Free / Open-Source
  • Cross-Platform: Yes

Pros

  • Che provides a multi-container workspace for developers separately with the ability to replicate code with a single click.
  • Eclipse Che is a browser-based online IDE, so the local device’s physical requirements have a minor role in running codes.
  • The IDE for Node JS is an inclusive platform for building cloud-native web applications as it provides an enjoyable developer experience with its robust extensibility model. Eclipse Che has isolated plugins for each container, stacks to create a dedicated toolset, and a marketplace to distribute custom IDEs and tools.
  • Built-in terminal with SSH support and root access to running machines helps in interaction with another desktop IDE.
  • Portability and shareability of workspaces online among contributing developers is the main advantage of Eclipse Che, among other IDE for Node JS. The portability is irrespective of the platform being used due to its Docker container.

Cons

  • The online IDE is slower than desktop IDE for Node JS. The sluggish nature is not an issue for high-speed broadband internet users, but it becomes an issue for underprivileged users who have a problem connecting to the internet. The UI becomes unresponsive sometimes.
  • Eclipse Che containers require Docker tools, which are not present by default in Windows 10 Home editions since Home edition OS is not friendly with docker. This issue might become a hurdle for some users.
  • Beginners might face difficulty using Eclipse Che as an IDE for Node JS since it lacks proper documentation and is only for experienced developers.

7. Cloud9 IDE

IDE for Node JS 7 Cloud9

Online IDEs have risen in popularity since most users cannot afford a machine powerful enough to compile thousand of lines of codes. Cloud9 is one such online IDE for Node JS written in JavaScript and using Node.js on the backend. Amazon acquired it in 2016 to become a part of Amazon Web Services (AWS), where any uses can use the Cloud9 service through an AWS account. Its original website was hence discarded from 2019.

SPECS

Platform: Web
Multi-Language Support: Yes
License: Paid, Through AWS account
Auto-Complete: Yes

Pros

  • Cloud9 offers cloud IDE service, where the cloud computer runs a machine of 512 MB RAM and 2 GB local disk fully dedicated for using the IDE for Node JS. Realtime workspace collaboration, separate extensions for private and public workspaces, and a dedicated Ubuntu runtime are the features of Cloud 9 worthy of mentioning.
  • Using an SSL-supported terminal, we can directly connect to an external server allowing file modifications and enhancing the portability of workspaces.
  • If the user uses Cloud9 with an educational license, workspaces can be cloned easily to the students by the teacher in a minute.
  • Cloud9’s editor, ACE, covers important editing features like code folding, refactoring, regex search, code analysis, and code completion. It has CLI access, Emacs and Vim key bindings, multiple cursor support, and focus mode (Zen mode) to remove distractions while coding.
  • Cloud9 can be hosted on your own private server, but enabling new workspaces has stopped since 2019 and are only available on Amazon AWS.
  • The presence of well-described comprehensive documentation for Cloud9 IDE is available online and can help beginners start using this Node JS editor from scratch through AWS.

Cons

  • Although Cloud9 has all the necessary features of an advanced IDE for Node JS, it is accessible only through an Amazon AWS account, which is pretty expensive for regular users.
  • No built-in Java builder is present in Cloud9 but can be added through some instructions.

8. Notepad++

IDE for Node JS 8 Notepad++

Notepad++ can be considered a replacement for Notepad with support for several languages like C, C++, Java, Node.js, Python, etc. Notepad++ is a freeware editor under the GNU General Public License and only running in the MS Windows environment. Along with its power-packed editing component Scintilla, Notepad++ has superb execution speed, faster loading time, small application size and optimizes as many routines as possible for better performance. It is an excellent Node.js editor but harbors the potential of becoming a good IDE for Node JS.

SPECS

Platform: Windows
Multi-Language Support: Yes
License: Free
Auto-Complete: Yes
Bracket-Matching: Yes

Pros

  • Notepad++ is a very light program and beautifully optimized and makes an excellent text editor for users to instantly view and edit code on the go, no matter how slow their local machine is. It is a portable editor, which means installation is not required for editing source codes.
  • It makes syntax highlighting available for a wide variety of programming languages. Multi-line editing is disabled by default but becomes an important weapon when enabled during debugging.
  • Users can open and edit codes on multiple screens under the same editor window, thereby providing multiscreen support.
  • Notepad++ users can utilize regular expressions for quick modification of code across multiple files. Documents are saved even if you don’t explicitly press the save icon, and you can resume from where you left,making it a good IDE for Node js.

Cons

  • Notepad++ is native to the Windows platform and is available in Linux via a Windows emulator Wine.
  • The UI of Notepad++ is outdated, and beginners have difficulty finding the basic setting such as compiling, building, and debugging source code.
  • New Languages have limited syntax support, and finding plugins for them is hard.
  • Triple quote commenting is not supported and gets converted to single quote commenting by default.

9. Koding

IDE for Node JS 9 Koding

Koding is a feature-rich cloud-based IDE for Node JS, which can be described as a “New way for developers to work.” It is complete with free virtual machines, attractive IDE UI, and all terminals with root access. Koding brings all the needs for software development to the cloud, and we can quickly access learning of multiple programming languages. Servers can be made inside Ubuntu-based virtual machines, and numerous developers can collaborate on the same project by sharing IDE, terminal, and whiteboard. This online IDE for Node JS is absolutely free for use with easy signup.

SPECS

  • Platform: Web
  • Multi-language Support: Yes
  • License: Free after signing up
  • Modern IDE features: Yes

Pros

  • Koding offers no-cost accessible Ubuntu-based VMs with all the modern IDE features and incorporates root access, apt-get, and SSH mode into its terminal.
  • Every programming language, command line, and database is readily available.
  • Collaboration with real-time with integrated chat, and users can purchase and share additional VMs.
  • File sharing with SSH, GitHub, Drag & Drop, Dropbox, and GitHub clone features are present. Users can define unlimited domains and sub-domains for private or shared VMs.
  • The ability to use GitHub and link accounts with Facebook and Google makes it one of the best IDE for Node JS.

Cons

  • Koding is a slow IDE due to its online nature and a massive amount of features. Online VMs are difficult to load with slow internet.
  • Koding is not focused on individual users, and they have plans for 1-10 people as teams only.

10. Brackets

IDE for Node JS 10 Brackets

Brackets is a free source code editor with its prime focus on developing the web and using its related language like Node.JS, HTML, PHP, CSS, Javascript, etc. Although this is one of the best Node JS editors, the IDE for Node JS is mentioned at last because Adobe, its recent owner, will end its support on 1st September 2021 and has urged users to transfer to Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code.

SPECS

  • Platform: Web Browser
  • Multi-Language Support: Yes
  • License: Free / Open ware
  • Auto-Complete: Yes

Pros

  • Brackets is an IDE that can be used inside the web browser. Brackets automatically refresh the browser and load the latest version of the file opened in a tab.
  • Real-time live preview help users view the development of the website or application while the code is written.
  • The Online IDE takes less space in memory and loads up swiftly.
  • Its preprocessor support helps users know about the importance of preprocessors with Quick Edit & Live Highlight.
  • Brackets can be extended with an extension manager, which can manage numerous amount of extensions and themes.

Cons

  • Brackets will discontinue its support from 1st September 2021, so it is not recommended.
  • This IDE supports only web languages by default, but other languages are supported rigorously by CodeMirror.
  • JavaScript Linting is limited to JSLint, and Node JS developers cannot add their own Linter.
  • Updating Brackets automatically might lead to errors in some cases, and users have to download updates manually.

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Conclusion

We have listed the top 10 best IDE for Node JS and their features and pros and cons list, enabling you to know what you get and what you do not contract with the IDE, and thus help you in making a great choice in finding a Node JS editor. Hope you enjoyed the article, and let us know if you want to add any IDE of your choice or have any doubt.
Cheers!!

Rohan Maji

An enthusiastic technical learner, a helping troubleshooter, adept at content writing, a passionate gamer and interested to provide hassle free solutions for technical difficulties.

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