From Visual Studio & AppBuilder to Sublime Text 3

I’m a die hard Visual Studio guy, it’s been my primary IDE since I started as a full time software developer. I’ve played with other IDE’s of course, Eclipse for Java and Android development, XCode for iOS/Objective-C Dev. My favorite non-VS IDE’s are usually from JetBrains so IntelliJIDEA, RubyMine and WebStorm. But I’ve always used an IDE of some sort. When I was at DevIntersection’s in Las Vegas I only had my Macbook Pro laptop, I could have used Fusion or Parallels to continue development but recently Telerik Announced a node command line interface and a Sublime package of their AppBuilder platform.


We all know ‘those’ developers, the ones that use command line for everything, can program something in Notepad and look down at us IDE users like were addicts. Look at the mouse as some kind of torture device and have command line shortcuts for every conceivable function, yea ‘them’. I’ve always looked at that as elitism but now I was going to try living in their world, if only for just a week.

So my mission, regardless if I wanted to or not, was to use Sublime Text 3 for an entire week for my mobile AppBuilder development. My setup was Sublime Text 3 with Package Control, AppBuilder and GitGutter packages installed. On the machine itself I have NPM and AppBuilder-CLI. I wanted to take a peek at OmniSharp but seeming I was only doing hybrid mobile development I didn’t get it setup.

So after a week how do I feel about it? Will I turn into an elitist jerk? Short answer no, long answer, maybe. After a week using pretty much stock Sublime Text 3 and AppBuilder CLI I can say I totally get it. My experience is that Sublime Text 3 is half text editor and half IDE, a lot of IDE style things (like the project view (file list on the left), IntelliSense, syntax highlighting I feel fall more into IDE components then a text editor

What I don’t like about Visual Studio, and I think is symptomatic of all larger IDE’s, is bloat and speed. They are rather clunky at times and contain every option under the sun. What I found was that just using Sublime Text I was quicker, the editor was quicker to respond, there were no issues with it jamming or getting stuck and I wasn’t overloaded by ‘ohh shiny’.

I was extremely productive in Sublime Text 3 working on the new Ionic Framework port of the Resgrid Responder app. Resgrid which is a SaaS product deployed on Microsoft Azure, providing logistics and management tools to first responder organizations like volunteer fire, career fire, EMS, search and rescue, public safety, disaster relief organizations, etc. It was founded in late 2012 by myself and Jason Jarrett (staxmanade). Our Responder app is geared toward first responders and intended to be used on the go as they respond to incidents.

The overall experience was quite freeing and it makes me question how many extensions and addons I need in Visual Studio. Although I won’t be replacing Visual Studio with Sublime anytime soon I may replace AppBuilder’s Windows IDE with Sublime. I can’t afford their Visual Studio extension for AppBuilder so I use the win client and although it works pretty good the editor is quite a drag and sometimes completely messes up. When I work in Sublime I have no such issues and the AppBuilder-CLI works great and their Sublime package is getting there functionality wise.

About: Shawn Jackson

I’ve spent the last 18 years in the world of Information Technology on both the IT and Development sides of the aisle. I’m currently a Software Engineer for Paylocity. In addition to working at Paylocity, I’m also the Founder of Resgrid, a cloud services company dedicated to providing logistics and management solutions to first responder organizations, volunteer and career fire departments, EMS, ambulance services, search and rescue, public safety, HAZMAT and others.

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