Solid editor but since eclipsed by VSCode
February 15, 2020

Solid editor but since eclipsed by VSCode

Patrick Fong | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 5 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Atom

We used to use Atom as our code editor of choice for our dynamically typed language. Atom comes with fantastic syntax highlighting and other plugins out of the box that make writing code a breeze. Whenever we have to write HTML, CSS, Javascript, or Python, we used to use Atom. Some engineers also use Atom with some extra plugins for quick text manipulation, such as when they need to format strips, strip out lots of whitespaces, or prefix an unnumbered list with numbers. We have since switched over to VSCode (more on that later), but I would say that Atom is still a good choice if you are already using it.
  • Cross platform support for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
  • Helpful community of people on the forums to ask for help.
  • Development on the Atom source code has greatly stalled since Microsoft purchased GitHub.
  • Many plugin developers moved their plugins onto VSCode and stopped maintaining their Atom version.
  • Atom's multi-cursor plugin helps me do repetitive coding tasks very efficiently.
  • Atom's configuration is easily duplicated and can be copied over a machine to machine so new engineers can have the same Atom installation as everyone else, making environment setup and tool standardization a breeze.
As I've explained earlier, I genuinely believe that VSCode is a superior editor in most ways (stability, feature development, the vibrancy of the community, wealth of plugins, performance).
There is, however, one more editor to consider, and that is Sublime Text. Sublime Text I would say it is the most stable and performance of all 3, is written in native C++. It uses half the memory and loads twice as fast. However, it's feature development and the strength of the community, in my opinion, is on the same level as Atom's and so people still might want to pick VSCode over Sublime Text.
Atom has an active forum and a Slack group where you can ask technical questions. Occasionally, the authors will pop in to answer a few questions here and there, but most of the time, its other helpful users who will assist you. Though they aren't the most knowledgeable, they are at least timely.
As for plugin support, that differs with each plugin, but as I mentioned before, many plugins are no longer maintained.

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My recommendation depends on whether my colleague is already using Atom or not. If they are not using Atom, I sincerely find VSCode to be a slightly better editor with a much brighter future in terms of feature development, upcoming plugins, and support. So they should start with VSCode. However, if they are already using Atom, I see no reason to switch for the time being. Atom was a great editor for a long time, and though feature development has stalled, it continues to perform well. It will meet most people's needs when it comes to editing dynamically typed languages.