When I first tried Atom a few years ago, I wasn’t quite convinced. I’m sure there were many like me, and I’m sure there still are.
However, this is how I stopped worrying and learned to love Atom.
Text editors are plentiful, but great ones are few. Among front-end developers, a few spring to mind:
There are others of course, but these ones stand out as being particularly good and extensible.
Admittedly, I have very limited experience with Brackets, but have put together many sites in each of the others. This means that I’ve run into and had to work to solve most of the issues or non-baked-in options that I wanted as I used each editor.
Notepad++ was my first “real” text editor.
Developing on Windows, I didn’t really care that it only existed for that OS. It could handle my syntax highlighting needs, even though it did need coaxing to highlight Sass properly.
One day, a config file got corrupted, and I just shook my head thinking about tracking down and installing all of the plugins and customizing all of the things that needed customizing. I resolved to try a new, better, more modern editor.
Enter Sublime Text
Sublime Text was a dream to find.
It just felt… smart. It felt fast. It remembered content in unsaved files. It remembered my session. It had Package Control and subsequently, Emmet. This is where extensibility of the editor really started to become crucial and more full-fledged.
I don’t want this to turn into some sort of tongue-in-cheek love letter to Sublime Text, but I never intended to move away from it as an editor. It has no major shortcomings that caused me to seek Atom out. I had just tried it when it came out, and had heard that it was evolving nicely.
…and now for Atom.
Atom is something different again.
It feels like the logical next step in my workflow. As git repos make their way into more and more projects, the baked-in git integration means a lot.
Atom can also do pretty much all the things that I initially loved about ST, and then some. It will remember your window layout and open files. The project management sidebar is better than Sublime’s in my opinion. The default theme feels more modern, and the extensibility feels more accessible.
Initially when I tried it, it didn’t feel as responsive or quick as Sublime, but that simply isn’t the case anymore. Purists will tell you that it’s not written in C like NP++ or Sublime. That’s true, but that’s also myopic. Edit with what you want, with what works for you.
Right now, I use Atom.