Why I can't prefer Atom over Textmate 2 yet


Thought this feedback might be helpful to know. Direct quote to my colleagues:

I tried Atom for the last few weeks. Can’t say it has stuck. Removing leading/trailing whitespace was nice over Textmate. That was about it. Textmate’s find/replace is still better because I can get back to the results w/a keystroke. Atom eating battery is a :-1: too.

And Textmate’s cmd-T menu is way better. Atom’s is dumb. Textmate must do some smart stuff like “most recently touched or opened” or something.

Atom’s search results are also randomly sorted. It’s nice in Textmate to, when glancing through results, know when I’m through looking at all the model results. Specs are always at the bottom.

Basically, navigating code spread across many files is still way easier in Textmate.

Another thing I didn’t mention is that having to close Atom’s search pane with “escape” is annoying, compared to Textmate’s search window which goes to the background at the right times and can be re-summoned with a keystroke.


If you explore the packages you will find a feature set that beats other editors, IMHO. It is hard to explore because there are so many. This is the same problem node has.

The biggest feature for me is how easy it is to hack it and make it work for my preferences. I have about 17 packages I’ve created. Most take just a few hours. My editor setup is tricked out like none I’ve ever used before.

Atom out-of-the-box is mediocre and it takes some work to customize. So it takes a bit of faith and commitment to use. There is often talk of having recommended package sets to start with.


Yeah, it’s simply not a very interesting discussion at this point. Atom is in a place where you can really get a lot of use out of it and it’s really unique. As are dozens of other editors, which all have users that must prefer them over others. I’m consistently amazed at how nice it is to work with, comparing it to Sublime 3. Which I don’t dislike.


Thanks for the feedback! I think it is pretty telling that more and more often the complaints about Atom that I hear are workflow or personal preference issues rather than “Atom is broken”-type complaints. (I take the “yet” in the title to put this topic in the “not broken” bucket.)

And yeah, I think it will be a while before Atom (not yet 1 year of history) is really ready to supplant TextMate (over 10 years of history) or BBEdit (over 20 years of history) or Emacs (over 30 years of history) for the people that are used to using them. Partly this is because of workflow/preference issues … and partly this is because Atom just “isn’t there” yet. But it has made great and consistent progress over the last year. And I have no fear that it will slow down in the near future.

Perhaps you can check back in a few months to see how Atom is progressing? Or maybe if you have specific complaints, you can file bugs for them?


In the short time i’ve been here I noticed this myself. Atom as a product seems pretty solid. This is the beauty of open source software. I understand it would take some time but there is always the option of forking and enhancing atom for your own needs no? In the end you will have an inhouse made text editor custom tailored to your needs. Just a random thought however.