Why Atom? Not other Open Source / Web Editor?


What’s wrong with Sublime? I mean … really.

If it’s about a web based editor, JS, and so. what’s wrong with Brackets? It’s even open source, etc…

I mean, away from political things like choice, etc… (or marketing speak like revolution…), How different is this from again, say, Brackets other than being backed by Github instead of Adobe?

This is a real question not a complain about the existence of Atom. I expect that there is a missing piece that I haven’t got very well or something.


Afaik Brackets is very focused on web development and does not offer support for other languages such as C++, Python, Clojure etc.

What’s wrong with Sublime? Well, it’s not open source, but that’s not the main concern. It has a few holes in the API that you can not fix or have to try really, really hard to (like include extern libraries to write code that renders custom UI elements, or a sidebar API), and since it’s closed source and not much progress is made, there is indeed a place for another editor. Also, competition is always great.


I tried Brackets 3 or 4 times, but never for more than 5 minutes, essentially because I find that the user experience is horrible. Some features are pretty nice (especially the frontend ones), but if I don’t find how to edit the preferences in less than 30 seconds, well… there is a problem.

With Atom, I immediately felt myself like at home (I used Sublime Text 3 as my main text editor). Things aren’t yet perfect, but it’s only Day 1 and I already see myself getting rid of ST3 in favor of Atom.


Thanks a lot.

I can see that Sublime has limitations in terms of being closed source and also favouring Python vs. say JavaScript, but for Brackets, why not build on what it has and add other non-web-forntend language?


I haven’t tried Atom yet (because I’m on windows), but yes, from screenshots everywhere I can see it’s pretty much a Sublime clone (at least in terms of user experience). Except using JavaScript (Coffeescript) for extensibility (which is good, I think, assuming it’s not closed source and slow releasing as Sublime, which is another topic).


I also have used Sublime for about 3 years but have had issues with not being able to fix or modify things I wanted to and the overall progress of the code base. Concerning Atom, if the VI bindings and such work as they should I would be very much inclined to dump ST3 and GVim/MacVim in favor of it.


Ha, I checked out Brackets for the first time today, worked a bit with it on a project of mine to try it out and quite liked it safe for two things: It can only split horizontally, not vertically and I could not find the settings :slight_smile:


I’ll gladly trade Javascript for Python any time. The only disadvantages I see it has are:

  1. Spread. Almost every developer knows Javascript so some extend because it’s so centric with the use of the internet.
  2. Javascript engines have been optimized a shit ton in the past years when Chromium started and other browsers had to step up their game. Compare FireFox 3.6 to 4.0 for example.

I can’t find anything about the language itself that is better than something in Python.


I think its too early to judge and it’s not fair comparing Atom with Sublime or Brackets. I honestly Atom because of many small things that matters a lot to me.

  • Installing packages interface.
  • Keybinding table (I know it might sound stupid but I really like to have it handy)

Gives you the time each package add to start time ex: This package added 11ms the startup time

As I said it’s too early to judge and it’s worth a chance :smile:



If you were to go from Sublime Text to Atom, you would loose a large part of efficiency.

Right now Atom cannot open up files >1MB and – althrough it’s the first beta build and will be lifted in the future – that kind of thing really shows how performance vanishes.

I would rather stick to Sublime and keep native-class efficiency. That’s very important if you work on a laptop or if you care about having efficient programs in general.
A native text editor + compiler + CLI git = win to me.

Still, I’m looking forward to see what kind of performance Atom has to offer in the future.



Javascript also does concurrency a lot better, unless a dev is specifically focusing on it. Ever had Sublime freeze up because of one bad plugin? I have.

Other Sublime bugs I’ve experienced include weirdness regarding color schemes (believing they’re missing, throwing three modals, then loading the color scheme correctly), settings issues (settings are done correctly, Sublime believes they aren’t, crashes, reopen with same settings file and it works fine.)

And there’s no way to fix these bugs from my end. Furthermore, the dev has been quite inactive so who knows if they’ll ever get fixed? It was $70 well spent, but I’d spend another $70 to get a product that was better supported or that I could fix myself.

Right now Atom is a bit buggy and misses out on some great features from Sublime (e.g. select a word and have it hilight across the file) but this is the very first public beta. Give it some time.


If you like Python, why not use Coffeescript. You’ll know most of it already, and it compiles to JS. The compiled JS runs faster than the normal JS due to crazy things like optimised for loops…


I actually have to attest to Coffeescript on that front. I think thats why I fell in love with it, as at the time I was dabbling with Python for the first time, feeling utterly spoiled by the for in loop syntax, the [1..] slicing etc. Then to come back to JS and have to resort to stuff like array.forEach() as best practice repulsed me.

Python to CS is as easy as it’s going to get as far as transitions go. Especially considering ES6’s proposed Python-like module management with import from syntax. Lots of nice borrowed features, and as everyone has said, fast enough in V8. Speaking of V8 though, here is to hoping the memory limits do not effect huge-file/huge-project handling (assuming it will even be possible, as sublime text can even choke on a 90mb file).

Performance sensitive stuff should be done by native modules like atom’s core regex module. If the performance issue can be solved before open-beta this editor could stomp the market, if not, the extensibility feature might be enough. Both though? That’s just sensual.


This problem can occur with Javascript just as well. It’s how you implement it.

I will definitely use CS over JS, but I find languages with optional parenthesis for function calls incredibly hard to read. It’s good that I can use them when I want to, but it makes reading code a lot harder. I’ll find my way once Atom gets a non-OSX build, but JS will never be Python. :frowning:


Atom isn’t open source either though, its something more like “Shared Source”.


This problem can occur with javascript just as well. It’s how you implement it.

Yeah, but Javascript is asychronous by default. Python requires work and sometimes a lot of thought and care when implementing it.


The other cool thing about Atom is compatibility with Kite (www.kite.com).


Kite has a variety of integrations, but along those same lines, one of the things that got me really interested is how the one base editor that is Atom can become very different things with managed package sets. Nuclide and PlatformIO are essentially completely separate IDEs, but because they’re based on the same editor, all of your favorite Atom settings and packages are cross-compatible.

Compared to a specialized, commercial tool for a language with a strong ecosystem (like NetBeans), Atom is a fairly poor IDE, but unless you’re doing extensive development in one specific language, a generalist editor that can approximate an IDE in multiple different languages and frameworks seems much more valuable to me. That’s why I adopted it in the end. I can add and remove packages as necessary and keep using the same editor with different features according to what I’m working on.

:purple_heart: :atom: