Tuan-Anh Tran

Atom is slow but that's okay

Posted on July 15, 2015  •  3 minutes  • 464 words

I started using Atom from one of those early beta build. I wasn’t impressed. At that time, it was really slow (still is), taking several seconds just to load the app, freeze frequently when I tried to open log file (few MBs) and a bunch of other small bugs here and there. So I went back to Sublime and just keep an eye on Atom once in awhile (I left it in /Applications untouched)

Recently, a colleague of mine was trying to convince me to try Atom again. So I fire up terminal, rm -rf ~/.atom and update the app.

You should remove old Atom config since Atom is very actively developed and may have changed a lot since last you tried the app.

Atom feels much more polished this time. Despite the slow startup time still there, I feel very compelled to stick with Atom this time. I understand that Atom probably never going to achieve Sublime’s speed (due to its nature) but that’s ok. Here’s why:

Atom’s UI is closely resemble Sublime

The interface and everything is closely resemble Sublime so the learning curve is rather shallow. In fact, few people wouldn’t know they are looking at Atom or Sublime without glancing at the menubar.

Atom has done so many right things out of the box

Atom has done so many right things right out of the box. Stuff like keyboard shortcuts feel a lot more intuitive than Sublime.

I know, i know that we can re-map Sublime shortcuts as well. I did exactly that at first but working right out of the box still feels a lot nicer.

The older I get, the lazier I become when it comes to tinkering with settings to get it right. I remember my 18-yo self would plays with all kind of registry keys on Windows XP for the fun of it. I’m not like that anymore. I just want to forget about the editor and start coding.

Atom is very extensible

Most of the packages I used in Sublime is available on Atom as well; or at the very least, the equivalent exists.

I pretty much use vanilla Atom (default theme, default colorscheme) with a few packages installed: atom-alignment, atom-fuzzy-grep, auto-detect-indentation and highlight-selected. I highly recommend you to checkout atom-fuzzy-grep package. It allows you to use the_silver_searcher for fuzzy search your project. It’s freaking awesome and fast. Check it out.

Atom is actively developed by GitHub and community

It’s not that Sublime is abandoned but Atom development is much more active. It’s backed by GitHub and a huge open-source community vs few developers of Sublime. You know, the bus factors thing.

If you haven’t checked Atom in while (or at all), you should probably do. That’s my advice, coming from a hardcore Sublime fan.

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