Atom Text Editor Review 2015

Text Editors has always been on the crux of developers and they always find the topic hot in terms of debating and choosing the best text editor for their primary work. Text Editors lies in between the console editors(like vim) and fully fledged Integrated Development environment. With a light-weight approach and mixed functionality, text editors can be the best friends for any developer, designer or programmer in general.

Today, we will go through the newest kid on the block, the Atom Text Editor. The Atom text editor is backed by GitHub and has seen a lot of improvements, coming from last year. The improvement has left Sublime Text a bit wary of the future, but the actual emphasis is to use Sublime text as the benchmark for the future text editors.

Atom Text Editor Review 2015

The Atom text editor is available for all the major platforms including Linux, Windows, and Mac.

With an open source community backing up Atom text editor, the chances of its trumping the great sublime text editor are positive. With future in mind, let’s probe into the Atom Text Editor Review.

But, before we start, let’s list the atom text editor features.

  • Complete Hackable Environment
  • Similar to Sublime Text.
  • Built using latest web technologies such as HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.
  • Comes with Node.js support.
  • Modular Design for Maximum Customizability. Hackers can also change the core modules with their own.
  • Fuzzy Finder for better search capability.
  • Great Interface with amazing user experience.
  • Supports Packages and snippets.
  • Multiple Cursor Support.
  • Tons of shortcuts for faster navigation and project control.
  • File System Browser
  • Open Source

With all the features listed, let’s discuss some of the major features of Atom text editor.

Open Source and backed by GitHub

The biggest advantage of Atom Text Editor is its open source nature. With tons of developers having their eyes open on the project, its only about time that it gets better with more functionality. Don’t believe?

At the time of writing the review, there are 3-4 changes in the last 5 hours. See the screenshots below.

atom text editor


Seems great, right? The open source has really brought the text editor a long way in the last year or so. Last year, when I tried the Atom Beta, it was slow and sluggish, but now it has some core improvements and loads way faster than before (still a lot of improvements still needed).

I also have to install an update. All of a sudden, I see a text editor which is frequently updated and all of that without paying a single penny to anyone.

Hackable Environment

Atom is built up using the web technologies that we mentioned in the feature list. To be more precise, Atom text editor uses the preprocessor of JavaScript and CSS — CoffeeScript and lessCSS. And, if you are into web development, hacking and developing packages for Atom is easy and doable. According to their documentation, you can also hack the text editor using JavaScript and CSS, but they have recommended the use of the preprocessor as most of the Atom text editor code is written in it.


The init script is made available for customizing the editor further more. This means you can change the behavior of the text editor with each startup.

F0r further information on hacking, you can check their detailed documentation.

Modular Design

Modular Design is embraced by Atom. If you know hacking, then you can easily replace one of its core modules with one of your own. With so much customization and core hacking capacity, the atom can be customized according to the developer requirements.

Fuzzy Finder for better Search capability

Fuzzy Finder enables for easy navigation between different projects, file, and even code. (Recent History is validated first). The search remembers the latest changes and shows them first in the search results — really a handy tool.

The search capacity of the text editors are advanced and very much similar to Sublime text. This means, if you are transferring from the sublime text, you will not have any troubles using the Atom text editor.

Great User Interface

With similarities with the sublime, the user interface of the atom is amazing. It is also customizable and you can customize it by adding new CSS rules in the atom .config file. The UI is also consistent on different platforms, partly because of the web technologies used to make the User interface.


You will be greeted with an amazing and cool looking welcome screen. The screen has the option to choose a theme and currently there are 4 UI themes supported out of the box. The syntax theme can also be customized and currently there are 8 syntax themes available.

Furthermore, if you are interested in customizing the UI according to your needs, you can just open up the “Customize the Styling” option on the welcome screen.

Packages And Snippets

Any great text editor comes with tons of packages. With sublime text supporting more than 2500 plugins/packages, Atom is not far behind. The number might be not as big as sublime’s packages but does have a commendable collection of packages for the users.

Atom comes with few packages manager by default, such as Git Diff, KeyBinding Resolver and more. You can add more packages to the Atom text editor by going to Packages > Settings View > Install Packages.

The text editor also comes with support for snippets, which work by adding a simple prefix to the editor and then pressing the tab button. Adding new snippets is easy and works seamlessly. To create a new snippet, you just need to type snip then hit tab. This will create a snippet!

Tons of ShortCuts

Any text editor is useless without shortcuts. The reason is simple; using shortcuts improves programmers’ productivity. The Atom text editor comes with lots of shortcuts and you can easily access them by pressing Ctrl+shift+p. 

File System Browser

File System Browsers are important for easy navigation in the project. And, there is no doubt that Atom comes with one, which is sleek and supported by Git Diff. Any changes that you made into your project will be reflected into the file system by a different color, signifying a change.

Great Documentation and Availability of API

Atom offers one of the best documentation for its users. The fact that documentation transforms the user experience is true in this case. With detailed documentation, you can find everything related to Atom and its hackability.

For developers, it offers the API documentation, which can be used create plugins/packages for it.

With tons of advantages and feature discussed, the Atom text editor is not perfect and comes with some drawbacks. Let’s discuss them below:

  • Slower than Sublime Text(improved in recent versions but still slow).
  • Still being developed rapidly, which means you can get hit by a bug easily.
  • Not able to open files more than 2 MB size.
  • Many developers might not like the CoffeScript way of hacking, but that’s all about prespective.

Wrap Up

In Atom Text Editor review, I tried to review it from a non-baised perspective. But, text editor choices depend a lot on opinion and prespective and many developers still love the vanilla notepad and a console. The idea of using a text editor is to improve workplace productivity and accountability. No one wants to loose their precious work and time and that’s why text editors are a good choice.

Atom Text Editor comes with all the modern tools and techniques, the UI is great and the hackability has no comparision. With active development still going on, the future can be in the hands of Atom. Until then we just have to wait and watch.

If you agree or disagree with the reivew, comment below and share your opinion. Also, share the review as much as you can!

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