Victor Savkin: How JetBrains Is Similar to Apple

WebStorm has been around for more than 10 years and has a good number of loyal supporters. Victor Savkin, a co-founder of Nrwl, is one of those supporters. He’s been using JetBrains products for over 15 years. Victor told us about his experience with WebStorm and explained why he thinks JetBrains is a lot like Apple.

Hi Victor! Can you say a couple of words about yourself and your programming background?

Victor-SavkinI have been programming professionally for about 17 or 18 years now. For the past 4.5 years I’ve been leading a company called Nrwl, or Narwhal, as a co-founder and CTO. Before that, I used to work at Google for the Angular team.

I have been using different JetBrains products throughout most of my career. My personal experience includes a lot of Java, so the first JetBrains product that I tried was IntelliJ IDEA. I also did some Ruby and PHP early on. For the past 8 years I have mostly been doing frontend development – JavaScript, TypeScript, Angular framework, all that. So I have been using WebStorm a lot in my everyday work.

Can you please explain what Nrwl does?

In short, the company is working on a set of build tools, called Nx. Nx helps people, especially in large companies, organize their monorepos. We also build a cloud component for it that helps distribute builds and cached artifacts across multiple agents.

Additionally, we provide consulting services for the tool and everything around it, so we teach people how to work with Nx and organize their monorepos using it.

What languages and technologies do you and your team use?

Our team, which is around 25 developers, consists of very experienced people from the Angular and React communities, so we tend to focus on the frontend space. We mostly use JavaScript and TypeScript. Some people, like myself, also work with Kotlin, since the backend for the cloud component of the tool is written in Kotlin, and some Ktor actually. For that we need IntelliJ IDEA, but for the most part we use WebStorm.

You have around 25 developers on the team. Are they all using WebStorm, like you are?

Our developers are free to use whatever they like. Currently more than half of the team is using WebStorm. It used to be less because many folks who didn’t have prior experience with WebStorm used Sublime Text and then VS Code, but over time they’ve started to switch. I actually managed to convince many of them myself just by showing them some features.

We need to work with very large codebases, and this is exactly what WebStorm does best.

What WebStorm features do you find the most useful for you and your team?

А bunch of them, really. Refactorings, which we do a lot of, are very sophisticated and significantly help us when we work with clients on larger systems with lots of legacy code. When you need to refactor a whole codebase, and you want to do more than just rename, a tool like WebStorm is essential.

The out of the box framework support is great, especially when we’re talking about Angular.

There are a lot of other things we find useful, like the fact that navigation is very easy and that, in general, things tend to be more sophisticated UI-wise and interaction-wise. I feel like interactions in WebStorm are more optimized and take less effort because they require fewer steps.

I sometimes joke that JetBrains is a lot like Apple.

What do you mean when you say that JetBrains is like Apple?

It may take a bit longer for certain features to arrive, but once they do they tend to be well-integrated and of better quality.

Things like Code With Me for collaborative development, for example. A service like this is crucial for our team since we are all working remotely. We waited a long time for it to arrive, jumped on it right away, and so far we haven’t had any issues with it. It works very well.

It is great that you’ve already had a chance to try Code With Me. Any particular things that you liked?

We use it mostly for pair programming within the team and for when we need to interact with the clients for interviews and demos. For me, it was critical to have a service like Code With Me bundled because I used to switch to another tool and now there is no need for that. Staying within my IDE lets me be more effective and feel comfortable at the same time.

And the last question that we like to ask people: what is your favorite shortcut?

Because I do a lot of investigative work, I use Search Everywhere (⇧⇧ / Shift+Shift) all the time.

And navigate to last edit location (⌘⇧⌫ / Ctrl+Shift+Backspace) is actually very interesting. You can always find your way back without having to remember where you were.

We’d like to thank Victor for taking part in this interview.

If you use WebStorm and feel like sharing your experience with us, please let us know by leaving a comment below or contacting us on Twitter.

The WebStorm team

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