My two weeks using Atom

Jan 28, 2015 min read

I’ve been using the Atom editor for a couple of weeks, to give it a try. I found it appealing, but not yet for the every day use. Here is why.

The biggest problem I have are the bugs on vim-mode or related to it, you won’t be able to use ci} motions/modificators and I ended up using bct}, but still, you miss those very common commands. Those are bugs regarding atom-keymap on GNU/Linux I helped debug two weeks ago.

Working on the terminal with tmux and emacs every day, for me switching for a while to a GUI IDE was a bit of a hassle. In the end I was fast due to vim-mode too, but I have a lot of transitions to the terminal during the day and errors due to bugs on the editor.

I made my own theme, completely inspired on vim Jellybeans, my favourite dark theme. It still need some work, but I’m getting there I think.

I also worked on some packages, but found difficult to play with it due to the lack of good documentation. I found a nice one, but not yet completed, rest-client, a REST client for Atom, and added the option of using custom headers. I think we could improve it so It’s more useful (save common requests, common headers, etc), but this was a nice way of getting into Atom package development and learn how it works underneath a bit.

Commands/tips I found nice to develop packages/themes

Opening the action panel (Ctrl-Shift-P):

  • Key Binding Resolver Ctrl-.: So you know what key is doing what when pressing it.
  • Webkit Dev tools (obviously).
  • Sublime text match patterns, Atom uses the same syntax to match expressions.
  • atom --dev.

I didn’t like

Atom editor gives more importance to Atom editor errors than linter errors (left in the image below, Atom editor warnings). I guess is something only until the 1.0 version, so nothing really annoying.

I liked

The Linter error bar and git gutter have a nice UX in the editor, and you could easily style it in your theme.

Separating environments to write/debug packages for the editor.

Atom Plugins I liked the most

Simple plugins I missed from Emacs

I missed more packages, but these would be easier to develop, at least a simple first version of it.

I know it’s still a work in progress, but I am liking how It’s being improved, It’s going fast and as soon as some side packages are stabilized, the user experience could be much better.

After this two weeks I am back to Emacs, although I never really left. :-)