PyCharm is a dedicated Python IDE (Integrated Development Environment) developed by JetBrains. It combines multiple development tools, such as a source-code editor, graphical debugger, test runner, and Python profiler, and provides them under a single application. Also, it tightly integrates with other tools, such as scientific tools, databases, and Python web frameworks.
Visual Studio Code (VS Code) by Microsoft is an open-source code editor with support for development operations, like debugging, version control, and task running. You can extend VS Code’s functionality by installing various extensions.
If you are confused about which one to choose between PyCharm and VS Code for Python development, you have landed at the right place.
Through this article, you will get to know the major differences between PyCharm and VS Code. Also, we shall introduce you to what exactly PyCharm and VS Code are, their features, advantages, and disadvantages. So, let us get started!
What is PyCharm?
PyCharm is an integrated development environment (IDE) for the Python programming language. It is a cross-platform IDE compatible with Windows, Linux, and macOS systems. It tightly integrates a variety of tools to create an environment for web and data science development with Python.
Before you can start using PyCharm, it is essential to download and install Python on your system. PyCharm supports two versions of Python, namely Python 2.7 and Python 3, from Python 3.6 up to Python 3.11. The PyCharm IDE is available in two different editions, namely, Community and Professional. Let us take a closer look at these editions below.
- Community: This edition is free, open-source, and ideal for Python development. It provides features such as a Python code editor, code refactoring, visual debugger and test runner, and version control integration.
- Professional: This is a paid edition suitable for Python, data science, and web development. It provides an intelligent Python editor, graphical debugger, test runner, version control integration, scientific tools, web development tools, Python profiler, and database & SQL support.
JetBrains, formerly known as IntelliJ, is a Czech company that developed PyCharm in Python and Java languages. The Community edition of PyCharm is available under the Apache License 2.0, and the Professional edition is available under the Trialware license. The initial version of PyCharm, version 1.0, was released in July 2010. PyCharm 2.0 was released in December 2011, version 3.0 in September 2013, version 4.0 in November 2014, and version 5.0 in November 2018.
Features of PyCharm
Here are some significant features of PyCharm’s Community and Professional editions.
Intelligent Code Assistance
PyCharm comes with an intelligent code editor, smart code navigation, and fast refactoring.
- Intelligent Code Editor
- Smart Code Navigation
You can easily navigate through your code using a smart search option to jump to any class, symbol, or file.
- Fast Refactoring
This feature allows you to refactor your code with safe Rename and Delete, Inline Variable or Method, Extract Method, Introduce Variable, and other refactorings.
Built-in Developer Tools
PyCharm comes with a wide variety of built-in tools, such as a debugger, test runner, profiler, database tools, built-in terminal, and integration with version control systems.
- Test Runner
You can create tests using PyCharm’s intelligent code editor and run them using a GUI-based test runner.
- Python Profiler
PyCharm comes with a Python Profiler that lets you take full control of your code. It measures the execution time of a program .
- VSC Integration
PyCharm supports integration with major version control systems, such as Git, SVN, Mercurial, etc.
- Database Tools
You can easily access Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, and PostgreSQL database management systems right from the IDE.
- Remote Development
PyCharm seamlessly integrates with an SSH terminal and Docker and Vagrant for remote development and deployment. You can run, test, and debug your code on remote hosts or virtual machines.
- Python Web Frameworks
PyCharm supports several Python web frameworks, including Django, Flask, Pyramid, Web2py , and Google App Engine.
- Live Edit
The Live Edit feature enables you to open a specific page in the PyCharm code editor, and any changes made to the code can be instantly viewed in a browser. PyCharm autosaves the changes made to the page, and the browser updates it on the fly.
PyCharm provides support for multiple scientific libraries and tools for data science development.
- Interactive Python Console
PyCharm allows you to run REPL (Read, Evaluate, Print, Loop) Python console that provides various features, such as braces and quote matching, syntax-checking, and automatic code completion.
- Scientific Stack Support
PyCharm supports various popular scientific libraries, including NumPy, Pandas, and Matplotlib.
Customizable and Cross-Platform IDE
You can use PyCharm on Windows, macOS, and Linux systems with a single license. It supports more than 50 plugins of different types that you can leverage to extend PyCharm’s functionality. Moreover, with the help of customizable color schemes and key bindings, you can create a personalized workspace.
Advantages of PyCharm
The following are some of the key advantages of PyCharm:
- PyCharm enables you to view your entire Python source code with a single click.
- It offers a wide range of plugins through which you can extend its functionality.
- PyCharm has excellent community support.
- The process of installing and setting up PyCharm is straightforward.
- It has numerous productive shortcuts.
Disadvantages of PyCharm
Here are some disadvantages of PyCharm:
- The Professional edition of PyCharm is expensive.
- Since it provides a wide range of features, it is not ideal for beginners.
- PyCharm is a resource-intensive application, i.e., it consumes a lot of resources of a system.
When to Use PyCharm?
What is VS Code?
Microsoft announced VS Code first in April 2015 at the Build Conference and thereafter released its preview build. Later in the same year, Microsoft released the source code of Visual Studio code under the MIT license and made it available on GitHub. Further, in 2016, Microsoft released the source code to the web.
Features of VS Code
The following are the salient features of VS Code:
- Intelligent Code Editor
VS Code offers a code editor that comes with syntax highlighting and auto-completion features. The smart auto-completion feature provides completions based on function definitions, imported modules, and variable types.
- Language Support
You can debug your code right from the editor with breakpoints, call stacks, and an interactive console.
- Extensible and Customizable
You can easily extend VS Code’s features by installing extensions to add new languages, debuggers, themes, and many other additional services. In addition, you can also perform static code analysis and add linters to VS Code using extensions.
- Version Control
Version control is a built-in feature of VS Code, which supports major version control systems, such as Git, Perforce, and Apache Subversion. Using the version control feature, you can manage the changes made to your source code over time.
Advantages of VS Code
Here are some significant benefits of VS Code:
- Visual Studio Code is a lightweight code editor.
- It is open-source and free, and hence, it is accessible to everyone.
- It is easy to use and beginner-friendly.
- VS Code provides excellent extension support, which makes it possible to write code in almost any programming language.
Disadvantages of VS Code
The following are some drawbacks of VS Code:
- It does not allow you to open different windows of the same project.
- It does not support remote debugging like PyCharm.
When to Choose VS Code?
With VS Code, you can easily develop web-based applications. Also, it is ideal for developing mobile applications with minimal setup and configuration. It is more than a source code editor that satisfies all your complex coding needs.
PyCharm vs. VS Code: Choosing the Best Python IDE
Let us discuss the differences between PyCharm and VS Code using distinct metrics.
While VS Code is a free and open-source IDE, PyCharm requires you to subscribe to its one of the two packages intended for organizations and individuals, respectively.
- $99.00 for the first year
- $79.00 for the second year
- $59.00/year from the third year onwards
- $249.00 for the first year
- $199.00 for the second year
- $149.00/year from the third year onwards
However, you can use Edu and Community editions of PyCharm for free. These editions come with limited features. They do not support a variety of high-level features, including a Python profiler, database support, remote development, duplicate code detection, and a few web development tools.
On the flip side, VS Code is a free and open-source source code editor. It provides outstanding features, such as version control, third-party integration, and bug tracking for all kinds of projects and the supported language you use for developing those projects.
The only drawback is that this source code editor does not have pre-installed plugins. You need to install them as per your requirements manually. There is no limitation to the number of plugins you can install.
2. Memory Consumption
It is obvious that you would want to use a tool that consumes less space on your device, leverages minimum RAM, and operates swiftly without any performance lag. Let us see how much memory does PyCharm and VS Code can consume on your devices.
The Community edition of PyCharm is of size 372 MB and consumes around 400 MB of memory. It consumes pretty less amount of space. However, VS Code is extremely lightweight, with a size of 72 MB. It only consumes around 80 MB of memory.
Furthermore, PyCharm may take one to two minutes to load and open, whereas VS Code opens instantly without any delay as soon as you click on it. So, VS Code is a better option if you have space issues on your system.
3. Code Management
Coe management is an umbrella term for features, namely syntax highlighting, code completion, code formatting, and linting. Both tools offer outstanding code management features.
When it comes to VS Code, it highlights potential errors in the source code in red color. This helps you identify and understand errors quickly. It has a problems tab that helps you list all errors in one place so that you can review all of them easily in one go. However, the only drawback with VS Code when you need to use Python is that you need to download a formatter and a linter.
Heading toward PyCharm, the Search Everywhere feature makes it easy for you to search files, classes, UI elements, symbols, and many other aspects of the current as well as existing projects.
4. Initial Set Up
As PyCharm is specially designed for Python development, the initial setup is utterly easy. However, in the case of VS Code, which is a source code editor for multiple languages, setting it up for Python needs you to spend more time and download various extensions, such as Python Snippets, Python Indent, and many others. However, once you customize VS Code for Python needs, it is even easier to navigate and use than PyCharm.
5. Database Integration
Both tools support database integration. PyCharm comes with the Database Navigator that lets you connect with various databases, including MySQL , PostgreSQL, and Oracle. It also allows you to provide queries to databases and receive results as responses to your queries. However, it is important to note that this feature is only available with the Professional edition of PyCharm.
On the flip side, VS Code supports database integration through an extension called SQLTools . However, if you are a beginner, you may find it challenging to use this extension.
Plugins and extensions offer additional functionalities to your tool. Both PyCharm and VS Code offer a wide range of plugins and extensions.
As VS Code is a polyglot source code editor, you need to download the plugins and extensions to make it a fully-featured IDE well-suited for Python development. The best part of VS Code is that it suggests plugins and extensions depending on your project type. The VS Code Marketplace provides you with a plethora of plugins. As of 2020, this marketplace had a collection of 16,000 plugins.
PyCharm does not offer plugins as much as VS Code offers because it is a dedicated Python IDE. Still, JetBrains offers 3000 plugins, and PyCharm is compatible with all of them.
7. Git Integration
PyCharm and VS Code both support Git integration. They let you create a new repository, open and clone an existing repository, commit and stage changes, create a new request, and many other activities right from the application.
PyCharm vs VS Code: A Head-to-Head Comparison
The following table draws key differences between PyCharm and VS Code:
|Parameters||PyCharm||Visual Studio Code|
|Definition||PyCharm is a dedicated Python integrated development environment (IDE) by JetBrains.||Visual Studio Code is an open-source source-code editor with a built-in debugging feature.|
|Initial Setup for Python Development||Setting up PyCharm is quite easy for Python development since it is a dedicated Python IDE.||Setting up Visual Studio Code for Python development requires you first to download VS Code Python extension and Python 3.|
|Memory Consumption||PyCharm consumes a lot of a system’s memory.||VS Code is a lightweight code editor and requires less system memory.|
|Load Time||The load time for Pycharm is more than VS Code. It takes up to 1-2 minutes to load PyCharm.||The load time for VS Code is less. It starts up instantly without any delay.|
|Database Integration||You can easily integrate PyCharm with various database management systems, including Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQL Server, using the Database Navigator plugin.||VS Code can also integrate with database management systems using the extension called SQLTools.|
|Ease of Use||PyCharm offers a wide variety of features, and sometimes, beginners may get slightly confused while using it.||VS Code is very simple and easy to use.|
|Price||PyCharm is available in Community and Professional editions. The Community edition is free, whereas the Professional edition is subscription-based.||Visual Studio Code is free and open-source.|
Which One to Choose - PyCharm or VS Code?
The primary difference between PyCharm and VS Code is that PyCharm is a dedicated Python IDE, whereas VS Code is a source-code editor and can be transformed into a complete IDE through extensions. Also, PyCharm is a feature-rich IDE that makes Python development easy and quick. But VS Code is also equipped with all features as that of PyCharm, except remote debugging and a smart search option.
If you want something lightweight that is highly customizable, VS Code is an ideal option. On the flip side, choosing PyCharm would be a great move if you want a specific and well-configured platform for Python development. Therefore, you can choose anyone between PyCharm and VS Code for your Python development as per your project requirements.
So this was all about the differences between PyCharm and Visual Studio Code. Both these platforms are good for writing Python code. However, it is important to keep in mind that PyCharm is a dedicated Python IDE. In contrast, VS Code is a source code editor that provides similar features to an IDE through its extensions. We recommend you go with PyCharm if you want a dedicated and well-configured IDE for Python development. On the other hand, VS Code is a better option to choose when you want a flexible and easy-to-use platform for Python development.
We hope this article has helped you figure out the most suitable option between PyCharm and VS Code for Python development. If you have any suggestions or queries, feel free to share them in the comments section below.
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