Atom is Pretty Cool

Atom logo

I recently saw a Lifehacker article that talked about the 5 best text editors according to Lifehacker readers. I’m a fan of Sublime Text, but I was curious, so I went ahead and took a look. Most of the editors were things I’ve already seen (including the mandatory vim and emacs), but I’d never heard of Atom before. I went ahead and took a look, and I’m pretty impressed.

Atom is a curious editor. It’s a powerful, native app for Mac OS X, but it’s a different animal from other editors like Sublime Text or Textwrangler. Atom is based upon web technologies like Node.js, HTML, CSS, and Javascript. As a matter of fact, when an exception occurs in Atom or one of its packages, the familiar Web Inspector will pop up at the bottom of the screen.

Atom's got that web inspector!

This is more powerful than just that, though. Atom is incredible configurable and easily expanded; upon downloading it, I added a few themes, added plugins for better autocompletion, git integration, and Jekyll integration. That in and of itself is pretty awesome, but I also went ahead and edited the Jekyll package to support the specialized front matter I’ve made for my blog. This was all straightforward and dead simple: the Atom settings let you go jump into the source for any given package and edit it within the editor. It’s open, it’s easy, and it’s just begging to be tinkered and toyed with.

Atom’s still in beta, but that hardly means it’s not worth using. While in beta, it’s free, and while Github plans on making it a paid app when it’s released, I wouldn’t be surprised if the final product is worth whatever they’ll ask for it.