Switching from Sublime to Atom

I switched from Sublime Text to Atom a few months ago, more on a whim than because I was dissatisfied with ST3. It’s hurtling towards its 1.0 release, at which point it will be deemed ‘stable’ by the core team.

It feels like the future of this kind of tool, because it uses the same technologies that underpin the modern web itself. You could build Atom with Atom. That’s pretty neat, in and of itself. I know it’s not unique – Brackets does the same thing, for instance – but the implementation is intuitive and generally pretty great.

It’s hard to nail down what draws me to Atom over Sublime. On the surface level, I found the learning curve of Sublime too high to delve very deeply into its customisation. Atom is laid out bare. Your favourite front-end framework doesn’t have a snippets library for Atom yet? Making one yourself is as smooth and painless as I’ve come across for that level of personal tooling. Want to inject some of your personality into your editor? Get hacking on the CSS. Not happy with a keyboard shortcut? Changing it is easy. It’s all right there.

But I think there’s something else. It’s not just about the technology, or the hackability of the thing – it has a really great feel. It feels like Slack or Dropbox, or Github itself. Modern and slick and well-built, friendly and inviting with being toylike or feeling underpowered. When you spend all day in front of a tool, that kind of thing goes beyond mere fripperies like usability or convenience and ascends it to something closer to joy.

Leave a Reply