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Jesse Gardner
Designer/Developer, Plasticmind // Founder, Troy Stories
Designer/Developer, Plasticmind // Founder, Troy Stories

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This looks pretty interesting!

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Great review of the new Atom text editor from GitHub.
The following is from an email I sent to coworkers at projekt202, sharing my thoughts on the new Atom text editor by GitHub.

TL;DR — Atom looks promising, but Sublime Text is currently better. Atom will have a lot of catching-up to do.


My initial impression of Atom is that it feels a lot like Sublime Text (a good thing).

Here are some things I've noticed, both good and bad…


[1] BAD

It shows hidden files and directories in the sidebar of a project.

With the exception of .htaccess, that's rarely the behavior I want.

For instance, the ".sass-cache" directory is pointless for humans to look at.


[2] GOOD

It has a lot of syntax highlighters built in that you would normally need to install a Sublime plugin for (CoffeeScript, Go, LESS, Sass).​

​Note: Not an endorsement of CoffeeScript or LESS.​



​[3] BAD

​It has that weird "max line length" guide set at 80 characters by default. Realistically, who actually cares about that anymore?

It only ever existed ​because that was the exact width of a terminal monitor/window. And before that, punch-cards…

You can set this to a higher value in the settings.

But as of yet I don't see a way to just disable it altogether.



​I find myself missing the "mini map" that Sublime Text has on the right side of the editor.

(Generated CSS, don't hate.)

I don't think Atom has that. Or at least, it's not enabled by default.​



​I also miss the ability to "peel off" a tab, like you can in: Sublime Text, Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Safari, etc.​

​Atom doesn't seem to allow for that. Though, you can drag to rearrange tabs that are already open side-by-side.​


​[6] BAD

​There doesn't seem to be the concept of "projects" as with TextMate and Sublime Text.

You can File →​ Open a directory, but I don't see a way to say "Associate this collection of files and directories at a project."

​With TextMate and Sublime, you could make a project file (saved outside of your repo) and then drag that to your dock.

That way, reopening a project is as easy as clicking an icon. I'm not sure if Atom has this, but I haven't figured it out yet.​



​There's no vertical selection. Meaning, you can't hold down Option and drag your mouse to select text like this…

(Screenshot from Sublime Text.)​



No JSLint / JSHint.

I'm sure this will come later, via a plugin. But currently, there's no JS validation​.

To be fair, this functionality is via a plugin for Sublime Text as well, not built-in.

A missing ":" shows several resulting errors on Sublime ("!" icons in the gutter, and partial underlines of code)…

The same file with the same error, in Atom (no visual indicator of any error)…

​(Missing ":" after "go" on line 23.)



​Clicking a file in the sidebar opens the file in a tab. This drives me crazy.

In Sublime Text, it will show the contents, but won't keep the tab open if no edits were made (Saving a file without edits also keeps it open).

One might argue that Atom does it right (I think TextMate worked this way) but I prefer it to be a "glance" not an "open."​


[10] BAD

​No "current line" indicator. Sublime, TextMate, and just about every other IDE has a way to highlight the line that your cursor is on.​

​Perhaps this is in Atom, but the default skin doesn't make use of it. Either way, it's​ harder to tell where you're at when using Atom.

To be fair, Atom does highlight the line number in the gutter, but I prefer the indicator to be more obvious.

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Jesse Gardner commented on a video on YouTube.
This is just incredible, David!

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