Github’s Atom Editor and Why I’m Never Looking Back

As an avid Sublime user I never really paid attention to its keyboard shortcuts or packages. Every now and then I would switch out the syntax theme for freshness but I always felt it was lacking in an easy to use customisation system such as an interface or easy to use package manager.

It wasn’t until I started here at Tann Westlake that I was introduced to Githubs’ Atom editor. I initially thought “How is this any different to Sublime?”. It didn’t appear to do anything different; other than it was built using HTML, CSS and Javascript.

Adobe had already attempted this with their editor: Brackets. And I wasn’t overly impressed with what they had managed to produce, yes it looks nice but it doesn’t feel like an editor for a developer.

My expectations were for a gimmicky, slow editor which I’d use for five minutes before I switched back to Sublime. I have to say I was surprised. It performed well and had a really nice customisable preferences section which became a tab within the editor. It allowed me to alter the settings and search for themes and packages. And see what I’ve got installed and enabled. I even spent around thirty minutes playing around with a stylesheet they provided you with; enabling you to alter the styles of the elements in the editor. Instinctively I made every element rotate on hover, just because I can.

The ability to customise my editor to be just the way I wanted it; within such a short space of time impressed me, a lot!

I’m now using it on a daily basis with a selection of helpful packages which have certainly made my development more efficient. Here are a few key ones:

Minus the rich debugging tools and project wide code completion that an IDE such as PhpStorm provides my configuration of Atom pretty much does everything I need and more. Most of these features will be found in larger environments by default, but I like the fact that they’re not in Atom. It means I can easily turn them off or switch them out for another implementation which has more features.

Githubs Atom Editor

I also like the idea that with a basic knowledge of CoffeeScript I could be implementing my own packages; I just haven’t thought of an idea that would actually be useful (yet). If Jason Porritt can do it, then maybe I can too!

If you haven’t already, I think you should definitely give it a try! The number of packages that are available is growing every day, improving the experience you get when you use this editor.

I don’t want to change my workflow anytime soon. I think someones going to have to do something big to steer me away from Atom, I’m in love