How does Atom compare with Sublime Text?

I was looking to understand why Atom in comparison with Sublime Text. How is Atom going to be different/better from Sublime today or in the near future. Are there any aricles/discussions relating to this? The questions I would want answered is

  • Why would I switch to Atom from Sublime Text?
  • What are/will be the killer features that makes Atom unique?
  • Is there plans for a cloud version of Atom that works in sync with the desktop version?
  • Is there going to be tight GitHub integration to Atom for all git functions?
    Please include links if you have.
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First off I think its a little early to ask that question :smile:

But the reason I believe that atom can have the chance too “beat” sublime is the fact that its writen in JavaScript so there will be more developers to tweak it and create awesome packages.

If atom success in making the app run as smoothly as a native app I think it will be an worthy opponent

Hope it helps

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For me, I have a “thing” for editors/IDEs and always like to play with new ones.

**The reasons I like atom: **

  • Git integration is cool
  • Style, while very much like sublime text, it has it’s subtle differences that stand out for me
  • Coded in Javascript: Reasons mentioned above.
  • Settings are less of a pain to manage
  • more that I can’t think of atm

Why I still user Sublime Text

  • Performance

Sublime is butter smooth where atom has a lot of catching up to do in scrolling, opening new files, etc. I found that in atom if you have a file over ~200 lines (maybe even less) if you select all then indent all of them, it will take a very, very noticeable amount of time where in Sublime it’s instant, or at least un-noticeable.


The official answer for this question appears to be here:

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For me at the moment I will be sticking with Sublime. I can appreciate the potential that Atom has, and already there are some great packages, but currently its performance is far, far worse than sublime’s.

There is a noticeable delay when opening files, switching tabs and performing other actions which comparatively happen almost instantly in sublime. The difference isn’t always huge, but when you are developing for 8+ hours a day it starts to get a bit tedious.

I am really hoping this is improved upon in the future, as like I said, everything else is looking great, but I am a bit worried that these issues are down to Atom using a web rendering engine rather than native. The same feature that makes it so extendable could also be its Achilles’ heel!

Or maybe I have just been spoilt by sublime’s speed and now expect too much!

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One reason is that Sublime, especially ST3, has things it can’t do and won’t. I paid for it and found ST3 could not edit inline coffeescript scripts within script tags.

ST2 has a complex workaround. So I’m thinking about going back to ST2 but not sure I can easily do that.

Along comes Atom, from folks understanding Coffeescript. I’m betting they’ll be more responsive to integrating CS into the HTML package.

Also, while searching for ST3 solutions, I got a message suggesting ST is not being responsive to problems:

Don’t take this for truth, I think most ST folks will stick with it. And hopefully the ST team is just working hard to get ST3 outta beta.

– Owen

I’ve switched from ST3 to Atom. Not always happy about that decision but im sticking to it.
There some things where Atom really lacks, performance being one of the biggies. But why am I betting on Atom then?
From what i’ve seen, I think this project has a lot of potential, the quality and diversity of some plugins shows how flexible Atom can be as a foundation.

Plugins like Color Picker, Todo and JSLint are good examples of this, not only because of the functionality they add, but also how they do it, with a much nicer interface than Sublime ever did.

In Sublime, almost everything relies on the command panel or on some sort of results tab. Here, I see the potential to do much more, and im eager to see what’s coming as the product matures.

That being said, im also cautious about the performance implication of Atom’s foundation. I don’t know how/if will that be a constraint in the future, but I hope they make performance one of the main priorities.


I personally believe it won’t be so much a matter of which editor is better, but the community. What I’m already seeing is a huge amount of people and energy going for, simply because it seems (to me at least) to be more accessible.

ST, especially during the 3 development, is more of a ninja project. Its major releases are six months apart, as mentioned before there’s not too much interaction with the developer(s?), etc etc etc. Sublime text is more of a small-scale hobby project, has big corporate support. Not to mention it’s being made under the name of / by the team behind github, which imho caused the huge surge in open source development we’re seeing today.

Getting into the beta for and already seeing hundreds of community packages, and it immediately being able to compete with ST from day 1 feature-wise, is rather telling imho.

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One feature Sublime Text has that Atom does not yet have (though it is apparently planned) is support for saving and switching between projects. That and slow performance are the biggest lacks I’ve found in Atom, so far. In many ways it seems quite nice (and quite similar to ST).

take a look at this package:

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Yes, I found it yesterday (and I’m glad you posted here; I had meant to, but not gotten around to it). I am very impressed with that package. Saving projects and switching between them is quite easy. One limitation is that a project must be a single directory (unlike ST, which allows arbitrary files and directories).

Where Atom lacks

  1. Cross platform support. It’s 0 (Mac-only). ST ftw.
  2. Performance - ST simply blows Atom.
  3. Plugins - It’s a no contest currently.

Where Atom gains

  1. Written in JavaScript so more easy to hack compared to ST (just a guess).
  2. Can’t think of other.

Clearly, I’m staying with ST for quite some time. Mainly a Windows developer, helps the decision.

I am currently looking for an editor, I have been using Eclipse for about 6 years but would like a change. I have been trying out ST3 when a co-worker mentioned this new project.

Things I like so far:

  1. Updates - ST3’s latest dev build is from 12/21/14 while just came out with another update yesterday
  2. Built on web technologies - I am a web developer and would like to use my current skill-set to create plugins.
  3. The Forum works :wink: - Try ST’s, it is broke at the moment.
  4. It is done by the guys and gals of GitHub. It takes a lot of work to manage the open-source projects of the world.

Things I am looking to see:

  1. Stability - I routinely get errors. I have since cleaned out my ~/.atom folder to start over and won’t install a lot of plugins. I get this is alpha-ware so no complaints.
  2. Performance - um yea that has been beaten to death but it is vital.
  3. Project workflow - Most people talk about the snippets or multi-cursors of ST but the project workflow has really made me more productive (adding multiple, non-connected folders is awesome)
  4. Remote SFTP done simply - ST3 has a plugin called SFTP which is basically a glorified Filezilla add-on. I would really like to see the ability to work on (and use in projects) remote folders as if they are local with a small delay.

Overall: I appreciate that has a company behind it rather than a singular developer and they are committing to release the source-code similar to the way Android does it (here you go but we won’t do any pulls). This means development can go further than one company (or one guy in ST3’s case) care to take it. It also means we can have much more involved plugins that aren’t possible in ST3.

Currently I am using both, where I can but switching to ST3 when I hit a wall or need to get stuff done in a hurry.

Just to be clear, the Atom team has publicly stated that we will be able to make pull requests:

Adding this to the FAQ too …

Atom is just not reliable and doesn’t replace Sublime Text in my daily use. I don’t think it ever will to be honest.

@leedohm - Thanks, I missed that comment.

@tnypxl - It may never replace ST for you, your choice, but judging the reliability of the release by looking at a closed-beta is a little premature imho.

I use Sublime Text 3 for coding on LibreOffice. With over 225000 files and 23000 sub-folders you could call it a big project :wink: For testing the performance of both editors I opened up the main folder in Sublime Text 3 and Atom. All source files are cashed and I opened 20 tabs with huge C++ source files. This is the output of top:

VIRT 447396 RES 171672 SHR 5456 CPU 99,8 Memory 1,1 sublime_text
VIRT 441452 RES 165960 SHR 5456 CPU 99,5 Memory 1,0 sublime_text
VIRT 2397364 RES 278060 SHR 101064 CPU 4,0 Memory 1,7 atom

Sublime seems to use a lot more ressources to deliver its fast performance. Atom is a lot cheaper in CPU power but uses a lot more memory (especially with a low number of tabs).

A search through the whole code base with atom takes ages (even with ctag plugin) and Sublime is a lot faster (not lightning fast, but definitely finishes the job faster). In addition the search results on Sublime are much more refined and polished. I need to search the code base on a regular basis and need my results fast and organized. A job in which Atom really sucks. Especially because Atom shows you all results in the .tags file as well -.- That causes the search results “file” to be larger than 2 MB and Atom kicks out… For me that’s the killing blow against Atom.

For small projects Atom might be okay. But if you start to use an editor for huge projects you definitely should opt for Sublime.