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

519 followers
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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.

http://atom.io

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).

http://cl.ly/image/110U05370b31

http://cl.ly/image/2r3S2y0l2N0y

http://cl.ly/image/2N3m353J3j2k

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…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Characters_per_line

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

http://cl.ly/image/3v2f2v1F1R0h

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

———

​[4] NEUTRAL

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

http://cl.ly/image/1z3q2n1o1A0m

(Generated CSS, don't hate.)

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

———

​[5] NEUTRAL

​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.​

———

​[7] NEUTRAL

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

http://cl.ly/image/1P1t2L2L322a

(Screenshot from Sublime Text.)​

———

​[8] NEUTRAL

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)…

http://cl.ly/image/1q1e3g3E0Z3A

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

http://cl.ly/image/01283C28130I

​(Missing ":" after "go" on line 23.)

———

​[9] NEUTRAL

​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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