Why I prefer AppCode over Xcode

For the past four months, I've been learning iOS development. Basically I just read a book, and then started writing code. I haven't started Swift language yet, for most iOS open-source libraries are written in Objective-C. And I think I won't start using Swift in another one or two years.

As an Android developer, I am used to Android Studio, which is a fantastic IDE for coding. For those Android developers who havn't using Android Studioyet, I strongly recommend you try it.

When I started using Xcode for iOS development, I am very confused.

What is wrong with Xcode

I accidentally close projects all the time.

cmd + w is a common shortcut for close a tab or window on OSX. If you're using Safari or Chrome, you know what I mean. If there are more than one tab in your brower when you use cmd + w, it close the focused tab. If there is no tab left, it close the window. It's quite easy to understand, right? But NOOOO, Xcode doesn't behave like that. If you use cmd + w, it close the whole project.

Delete a whole line? NO!

You can't use cmd + delete to delete a whole line, which is also a common shortcut on OSX. Yes, you can delete a whole line of code using cmd + delete, but if there is just an extra line and you wanna to delete it? cmd + delete will delete the line and delete half the line above it.

Code completion sucks

If you wanna use a certain method in a NSObject, which has a word index in it, but you can't remenber the whole name of the method, what will you do? Look up the document or source code to get the exact name or the first letter of the method? Because Xcode can only auto-complete code from the beginning. For example, if you type in [Object index, the IDE won't tell you all the methods related to index keyword, it can only tell you the methods started with index. This really makes writing code slower.

NO Auto-import

Why not? Even Eclipse has this feature a long long time ago. I can't stand that when I am writing a method/function, the IDE tells me:" Oh, I can't recognize this. Oh, you can't use that".

Can you really see the Log?

The font and line spacing of the Log console is a disaster. The text is bold and line spacing is way too small. So the log just looks like a black block. I can't really distinguish one log from another.


CocoaPods is a dependency manager for iOS development, like gradle or maven for Android and Java. To use CocoaPods in your project, you can follow the steps on the CocoaPods website. This is not convenient enough! Becuase you need to use the terminal, which Xcode do not provide a shortcut to open and relocate to the project folder. You will have to open a terminal, then go to the project folder, or go to the project folder in finder and open a terminal there. Finally you need to run a command line to install the dependencies. Why all the trouble? AppCode can do all that for you, all you need to do is editing the Podfile.

AppCode is better

AppCode fixes all the complaints I have about Xcode, plus I can use all the keymap I am already familiar with in Android Studio. Just export the keymap settings in Android Studio and import it in AppCode.

You can find out many other better feature of AppCode on the official website. I am sure there are a lot to explore. You can find some tricks and tips on the AppCode Blog. This IDE truely makes my life a lot easier.

Flaws in AppCode

AppCode is not perfect, though. When it comes to edit xib or storyboard file, it is crappy. And AppCode sure cannot submit apps to the AppStore. It's also not that good when editing the project settings.

Now my workflow of a new project is this:

  1. Create new project using Xcode
  2. Config CocoaPods in AppCode
  3. Edit xib and storyboard in Xcode
  4. Write Objective-C code in AppCode
  5. Config project in Xcode
  6. Submit to beta test or AppStore in Xcode

Because AppCode can sync code and files instantly with Xcode, you don't need to worry about conflicts when editing the same project/file using two IDEs.


I don't mean starting an argument about which IDE is better. It's just, to me, Xcode is not good enough. I can be more efficient and focused when using AppCode, that's what really matters.

If you are always an Xcode user, you can try a 30-day trial of AppCode, I mean, it doesn't hurt, does it? If you don't like, leave it there, delete it, do whatever you want with it. But if you like it, you will find out it really is an productivity tool. After all, IDE should make coder efficiency, right?