Visual Studio vs Visual Studio Code: Which is Better For Cross Platform Development?

9 min read

Developers frequently debate which of Visual Studio vs Visual Studio Code (VSCode) to use and with good cause. Although Microsoft created both of these well-known tools for code development, their functions are distinct.

Visual Studio & Visual Studio Code, although having identical names, are designed for distinct stages of the software development lifecycle. Both solutions are intended to increase your productivity as a developer and streamline code management; nevertheless, they are made for different objectives and target audiences.

It’s not as easy to decide between a powerful IDE and a lightweight editor when deciding between VS code vs Visual Studio. Visual Studio is quite complete, while Visual Studio Code is very flexible. Your decision may influence your working style and also the features and language assistance you require.

Visual Studio vs Visual Studio Code

Continue reading and exploring to learn the main difference between Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code in 2024.

What is Visual Studio?

Microsoft’s developing software platform is utilized by Visual Studio, often known as an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). To facilitate the creation and administration of native code—developers are using Windows who deal with C++ and.NET like this all-inclusive solution.

Although VB.NET, C, C++, Python, F#, Web Programming Languages (HTML, CSS, JavaScript), and other programming languages are supported, Visual Studio mainly serves .NET and C# developers.

Bad luck if you’re a Java developer, VS is employed to support Java. However, that feature has been no more since 2017. There are three editions of the IDE: free society and professional, which is paid. An enterprise plan has a pricing plan.

With intriguing and distinctive features like extensive tooling, cloud computing via Microsoft Azure integrating, IntelliSense, troubleshooting and profiling, and a lot more, it is one of the top IDEs available to developers seeking to create applications across platforms (for iOS, macOS, Windows, Android, and Linux). Therefore, a comparison of the Visual Studio vs Visual Studio code is necessary to have a clear idea of them.

There are 17 workloads in Visual Studio 2022 for Windows operating systems. These workloads comprise standardized tool and component installation packages for various development objectives. The addition of workloads to the Visual Studio deployment procedure is significant because installing Visual Studio 2022 in its entirety can take hours and fill a disk, particularly an SSD.

Also Read: Project IDX vs VS Code: Which One Suits Your Development Needs?

Visual Studio’s Limitations

Although Visual Studio is an all-around integrated development environment (IDE) and a robust programming tool that excels at handling large-scale programs, it has several drawbacks.

  • Resource Intensity: Its high demand for system assets is one of the main disadvantages.
  • For developers using older or less capable technology, Visual Studio may prove a barrier because it is far more complete and requires a more stable configuration.
  • Complexity: Visual Studio’s extensive feature set may be intimidating to new users or those in need of a more straightforward programming environment.
  • Its MANY features and options might make developing basic projects more time-consuming.
  • Platform Dependence: Visual Studio is mainly designed for Windows. However, it can now run on macOS and Linux thanks to Mono.
  • Frequently, you could find it restrictive when developing cross-platform apps.
  • Cost: The Community edition is available for free. However, it is limited to enterprise usage and requires the purchase of a professional or commercial subscription. For small organizations, spending $45 per member for a professional membership and $250 per person for an enterprise subscription is a significant and sometimes needless expenditure. Let us compare the VSCode in our Visual Studio vs Visual Studio Code.

Also Read: Choosing The Right Data Mining Tools: A Roadmap to Successful Data Analysis

What is Visual Studio Code (VSCode)?

Strong source code editor Visual Studio Code works with Linux, macOS, and Windows computers and supports several programming languages. Some have speculated that it may eventually completely replace the Visual Studio Community due to its recent enormous rise in popularity.

It is intended to give developers who want a quick and effective editor that can additionally handle certain functions of a full IDE, such as task execution and debugging, a more concentrated coding experience.

By design, Visual Studio Code seeks to operate lighter and quicker than Visual Studio, appealing to cross-platform developers and programmers who want a short edit and cycle. Visual Studio Code boasts some features, such as built-in source code regulation with support for Git, graphical debugging, linting, multi-cursor modifying, parameter hints, and other robust editing tools; it also has IntelliSense code completion capabilities for factors, methods, and sourced modules. It is lightweight and starts quickly. A lot of this was modified using technologies from Visual Studio.

Downloading VS Code doesn’t take up much space, unlike Visual Studio. To download it, you might not require over 200 MB of storage space.

You also receive intelligence and a debugger because it derives built-in support for JS (JavaScript), TypeScript, and Node.js. But, you must acquire the necessary extensions to obtain intelligence, a compiler, and debugging software for other languages.

You now understand that Visual Studio Code represents a text editor, and Visual Studio is an IDE. So, let’s now list the primary distinctions between Visual Studio vs Visual Studio Code. Let’s now discuss the limitation of the VSCode in our Visual Studio vs Visual Studio Code comparison.

Visual Studio Code’s (VS Code) Limitations

After reading about Visual Studios’ restrictions, VS Code seems like a blessing, right? Hold on, though, since this program is not without its limits.

  • Less Integrated: There aren’t many integrated development tools included with VS Code. Although this keeps it lightweight, it also means that to match the capabilities of a complete IDE, a substantial amount of configuration through extensions is frequently required. Compilers, debuggers, and particular language features also need to be manually set up.

Also Read: DevOps Automation: Boosting Efficiency and Productivity

  • Extension Dependency: Requiring extensions for even fundamental features, such as debugging and syntax highlighting, can result in conflicts or dependencies between extensions. This may occasionally lead to an unstable development setting or necessitate spending time maintaining extensions.
  • Performance with Extensions: Although Visual Studio Code is quick and efficient by default, adding a lot of extensions might slow it down and make it less snappy than it should be.
  • In comparison, Less Advanced Debugging: Although powerful, VS Code’s debugging capabilities fall short of those of a complete integrated development environment (IDE) such as Visual Studio. It could represent a limitation for sophisticated programs, especially at the significant business levels.
  • Not as suitable for applications focused on C#: In contrast to Visual Studio, configuring Visual Studio Code to operate with C# can be difficult and leave out some of the features offered by Visual Studio. Now, it is the time for a significant comparison between VS Code vs Visual Studio.

Visual Studio vs Visual Studio Code: Key Differences!

Visual Studio vs Visual Studio Code: Key Differences

Below are the key differences between VS vs VS code you must know to have a clear mind of what they mean:

Language of Development

It is the main difference between VSCode and Visual Studio. Visual Studio works best on dialects that Microsoft supports. For instance, it has strong editors for the following languages: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and JSON, which makes it ideal for full-stack apps. Languages like C++, C#, the PHP language, Python, and others are also available.

On the other hand, VSCode is compatible with a wide range of languages and may support more languages as well, assuming an extension for the language is available. Hence, VSCode could represent your first choice if your project requires cross-stack development.


The Visual Studio Marketplace is a platform specifically designed for Visual Studio extensions. It offers many extensions for various uses, like code editors and blueprints. VS Code’s extensive extension environment provides a wide selection accessible through the Visual Studio Code Marketplace. Many free and open-source extensions make it accessible to individual developers and students.

Complexity of The Project

Visual Studio excels in complex projects needing rich interfaces, ample RAM, extensive code, and project management. Meanwhile, VSCode suits web development, scripting, and everyday programming, being lightweight yet capable of moderately complex projects.

Also Read: Computer Programming Jobs: Common Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

Cooperation and Unity

The next main difference in our Visual Studio vs Visual Studio Code comparison is cooperation and unity. With VS’s smooth integration with Team Foundation Server (TFS) and Azure DevOps, teams may use agile approaches to organize, monitor, and oversee software development projects. However, the Live Share addon that comes with VS Code allows for real-time cooperative coding sessions. Developers can manage repositories, make pull requests, and communicate with team members straight from the editor, thanks to its smooth GitHub integration.

Availability of Resources

A minimum of 850 MB to around 210 GB of hard drive space is necessary for Visual Studio, according to the version and project needs.

On the other hand, VSCode is easy to use because it uses minimal system resources, takes up very little room on the computer, and uses very little space.

Utilization Situations

VS Code is ideal for self-employed programmers, learners, and open-source partners. For coders using multiple devices, this tool is handy for continuous project work anywhere. Visual Studio Community is great for small teams, offering an affordable option. For more formal needs, Visual Studio Pro and Enterprise provide comprehensive solutions for high quality and scalability.

Also Read: Functional Programming Languages: Unlocking Efficiency and Scalability in Modern Development

Development Rate

Although Visual Studio has a lot of functionality, its complexity causes lengthier start times, meaning that there is a lot of program overhead along with more extended compilation and startup times.

In contrast, VSCode starts up very quickly and has very little overhead.

Society and Assistance

Another main difference between Visual Studio vs Visual Studio Code is their society and assistance. There is a sizable community of passionate users of VS Code that offer a ton of lessons and guides. VS Code is constantly evolving, with new features and material appearing often. Additionally, community members may contribute to and influence the product development because it is open-source.

Beyond community forums and copious documentation, Microsoft Visual Studio extends above and beyond by providing expert support. Microsoft takes user feedback into account and updates Visual Studio frequently with new features and customization possibilities despite it not being as open.

Also Read: Difference Between .NET and ASP.NET | All You Need To Know

Testing instrument

Unit testing, performance evaluations, load testing, manual testing, test the explorer, test coverage, Intellitest, and code profiling are just a few of the many testing capabilities available in the commercial editions of Visual Studio. Conversely, VS Code supports unit testing with extensions. The C# DevKit offers a test runner, a test debugger, and a test explorer.


Last but not least, the main difference between our Visual Studio vs Visual Studio code is their availability. Because Visual Studio Code supports screen readers and other tools, it takes an extraordinary approach to ensuring that everyone can use the user experience. Additionally, because it is open-source, developers from every corner of the world can make contributions to the development.

Additionally, Visual Studio follows accessible design guidelines, which makes it easy to use for developers from varied linguistic backgrounds or with movement or sensory impairments. Since VS has a close source, these features might not have as wide of an impact.

Visual Studio vs Visual Studio Code: Which One to Choose?

Visual Studio vs Visual Studio Code Which One to Choose

For coders using multiple devices, this tool allows seamless project work anywhere. Visual Studio Community is great for small teams, offering an affordable project solution. Visual Studio Pro and Enterprise provide comprehensive solutions for high-quality, scalable projects.

For instance, Visual Studio will function well straight out of the box if your approach to development is test-driven. However, there are over 15 plugins for Visual Studio Code that support PHP, Go, .NET, Node.js, and testing-driven development (TDD).

Comparably, Visual Studio works well with databases, mainly Microsoft SQL Server and its offspring, whereas Visual Studio Code comes with a considerable number of database extensions. While Visual Studio offers excellent support for refactoring, Visual Studio Code handles the fundamental refactoring functions for six different languages.

A few blatant examples exist when one development environment excels over the other. For example, you should utilize Visual Studio Enterprise for the architectural diagrams if you are an application architect and have access to it. Visual Studio is a superior option if you need to work on development or debugging with team members.

Visual Studio Enterprise can assist you if you need to undertake extensive code analysis, performance profiling, or debug from a snapshot.

The data science industry prefers to choose Visual Studio Code. However, Visual Studio offers extensive data science tasks with a lot of tools.

Visual Studio Code supports Linux but not Visual Studio. However, Azure compatibility and a Linux/C++ workload are features of Visual Studio for Windows.


The decision between Visual Studio vs Visual Studio Code is based on the needs and preferences of your particular project. If you value comprehensive functionality for complicated projects and Microsoft assistance, Visual Studio can be the best option. On the other hand, Visual Studio Code could become your first option if you want adaptability and a lightweight environment.

We can thus conclude that Visual Studio and VSCode are not essentially the same. If you were one of the many people who mistakenly used these phrases, you can now move past your past technical gaffes and continue remaining satisfied because you now understand the main distinctions between the two.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q#1 Is Visual Studio The Same As Visual Studio Code?

To create and manage native code, Visual Studio, also known as the IDE, uses Microsoft’s software development platform, which includes Windows API, Windows Presentations Foundation, Windows Forms, which describes Microsoft Silverlight, and Windows Store. On the other hand, you may write, edit, and debug the code in one location with Visual Studio Code.

Q#2 Will VS Code Replace Visual Studio?

Without needing every extension that Visual Studio Code would need, it will continue to exist. Moreover, support teams are working with software development needs for some time to come. Still, VS Code will mostly take its place.

Q#3 Can I Write C++ In VS Code?

If you haven’t already, you might have an inquiry to install the Microsoft C/C++ extension when VS Code recognizes that the file you’ve created is in the C++ language. To finish installing the C/C++ extension, choose Download and then Reload Necessary when the button appears in the Extensions window.

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