Aaron Frost: 1000 Reasons to Use WebStorm
Long-term relationships can be complicated. Aaron Frost, a well-known web architect and a business owner, has a long history with JetBrains products. Although his experience hasn’t always been painless, after 10 years he still says he wouldn’t use anything else other than WebStorm.
Hi Aaron! Can you say a couple of words about yourself and what you do?
I’m a business owner, too. I own a company called HeroDevs. It’s a team of expert consultants and we do a lot of cool stuff!
And lastly, I run a company called XLTS.dev, where we’re continuing to support the old AngularJS, even after Google ends it in December. So this last one, XLTS.dev, consumes most of my time right now.
You sure are wearing a lot of hats!
I am also a father of five, so yeah, it is a lot!
You’ve worked with many well-known companies as a web architect. How would you describe your typical job?
I do contracts for about 6 months. They usually invite me to come in and help solve platform-wide problems. I work on big architectural issues where I spend almost all of my time writing code that affects every developer at the company. So, in a nutshell, solving bigger, harder architectural concerns is my main focus.
What languages and technologies do you use for your various projects?
So for most of your projects you are using WebStorm, correct?
Yes. I occasionally use VS Code but only when I am forced to. I tried to like VS Code, yet I always come back to WebStorm.
I started with JetBrains products back in 2011, first with IntelliJ IDEA, then WebStorm. I was still using Sublime Text with a bunch of custom plugins and some other editors back then, but it never really felt right. Gradually I started using WebStorm for everything because I needed an actual development environment, not just a text editor.
Given your prior experience with IntelliJ IDEA, was it hard to get used to WebStorm?
You had a falling out with WebStorm a couple of years ago. Can we talk a bit about that?
I was working on a huge project, and among some very helpful things that WebStorm does, it scans everything and indexes all of your TypeScript. But here is the thing: in a monorepo I don’t care about 95% of the code there, I only care about the one project I am on. So with that project having 400 TypeScript configurations, WebStorm was just consuming too much memory and CPU, so I had to look for something else. I know that you did release an update that should have fixed the problem, but it was released right when I was finishing the project.
After all, you came back to WebStorm. Can you name some of those features that made you start using WebStorm all over again?
It is hard to narrow it down. There are like a thousand little things that are available out of the box that just make me want to use it. For example, if I have a TypeScript file and inside the string I put HTML, WebStorm gives me proper HTML syntax, which is beautiful.
Another example would be: when you have a merge conflict, there’s no better tool on earth to resolve merge conflicts than WebStorm. Also, with the tooling around Git, it’s hard to equal what you guys have done with Git. And there is a Prettier integration. There are just so many things that are great and work right away. I can get most of that with VS Code but I need to build it on my own. WebStorm just always has everything.
Last but not least, what is your favorite shortcut?
The shortcut for recent files (⌘E / Ctrl+E) – I use that all the time. The Open Preferences shortcut (⌘, / Ctrl+Alt+S) is super simple to remember and really nice to have since I open up settings a lot. And, of course, Search Everywhere (⇧⇧ / Shift+Shift) is a very useful one.
We’d like to thank Aaron for taking part in this interview.
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The WebStorm team