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Atom's autocomplete just got better (atom.io)
165 points by wisew on May 15, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 61 comments

I gave atom a shot ~6months back (ooh pretty), but gave up due to just how slow it was. I just downloaded it and it's still much slower than sublime text3.

SublimeText3 works great, so why are people willing to jump that ship onto this? Surely paying ~$70 is ok, laudable even, for a daily tool (notwithstanding the fact that it's supporting a indie dev).

Do people use this for day-to-day coding or is this like installing linux back in the day?

Maybe my coding style (bunch of microservices projects open in multiple windows at the same time with multiple tabs) just doesn't work with atom yet?

"SublimeText3 works great, so why are people willing to jump that ship onto this? Surely paying ~$70 is ok, laudable even, for a daily tool (notwithstanding the fact that it's supporting a indie dev)."

So because something works great and is 'only' $70 you get confused why people choose other tools?

1. Open source is always the first answer for a lot of people (myself included). Atom is new and is constantly being worked on. The package manager is really nice, and great new packages come out everyday.

2. 'Slow' is subjective. I have Atom, and I love it. I have Sublime too, and to be honest in my opinion the difference is not noticeable.

3. Open source again. This time for security reasons.

4. Most people would rather not pay $70 if they don't have to.

Sublime is a great program. But that doesn't mean it has to be the only program.

Note: I also have multiple tabs and multiple windows. Running stable and responsive. Most of the time when I have issues with Atom it's due to outdated/incompatible packages.

Note 2: IMO I strongly prefer dev tools to be open source. We're developers, what better way to show we care about the open source community than to use open source software for our daily tasks. A lot of people working with the application can also work on the application. It just makes sense.

* Atom is open source, Sublime is not

* Startup is still slow for a lightweight text editor but it is faster than for IDEs and it is improving (see: https://github.com/atom/atom/issues/2654)

* Package management is easier

* Following releases/announcements Atom (http://blog.atom.io/) instills more confidence compared to Sublime (http://www.sublimetext.com/blog/) [also if Atom should be disbanded it is Open Source, if Sublime development stops, it stops]

> so why are people willing to jump that ship onto this

Highly active development and broadly extensible APIs allowing for straightforward community modification of core features. The very article linked to here is one example.

Not a big fan of proprietary software especially software development tools .Imagine if Apache was proprietary, the internet wouldn't be the same.

Apache (a server, huge lock in) and a text editor (no lock in) are not comparable.

Open Source is driven by paid competition, and vice versa. Linux wouldn't exist without Windows, and Firefox wouldn't exist without Internet Explorer. And Linux and Firefox both in turn pushed their close-source competitors forward, too.

I love open source (I used to work at Mozilla), but some of my favorite tools only exist because someone is getting paid to work on them full time.

There are people who are paid to work on open source full time or part time.

I don't see how server software has inherently more vendor-lock-in than a text editor.

Switching costs is a lot lower for a text editor.

I switched from lighttpd to nginx without any problems but going from textmate to vim took a while :)

Sublime development has not been much active lately. You can see it on their blog: http://www.sublimetext.com/blog/ Months between the second and the third post. Good to see they came back, but users have been left on uncertainty for pretty long.

The dev builds come out every few days here: https://www.sublimetext.com/3dev

Take a look at the dates. Also give a read to their forum. I'm sincerely happy they started development again, but still last year has not been pretty.

A huge thanks to the Atom team (https://github.com/benogle in particular) for embracing a community package and bringing it back into the core of Atom.

This is the killer feature of Atom in my mind: the community around it, and the rate with which contributions can be made and then absorbed into the core.

This feature looks great, but the blog post has one very confusing thing about the main example: why is "spy" the first suggestion for "sy", and what does the text "Create Jasmine" next to it signify?

They're doing fuzzy search and I think it is probably "Create Jasmine Spy"

So it is.

I play GTA V at 1080p/high where Atom struggles to syntax highlight and scroll through a 4KB file. Does not matter Linux/Windows.

By "struggles" do you simply mean there's perceptible lag? I see cracks in the window blits while scrolling fast, that's all. I can understand being that picky about your video games, but it just doesn't rise to the level of actually affecting usability in a text editor for me. Would I like it to be as silky smooth as Sublime? Sure, but it's far from a showstopper.

I keep wondering if people making comments like yours are having much more severe perf issues than I am, or if you're just extremely picky.

> I keep wondering if people making comments like yours are having much more severe perf issues than I am, or if you're just extremely picky.

Programmers have high standards for text editors. :) And why not? AAA games are getting bigger and more visually pleasing, so sometimes your machine can't keep up unless it's a newer build. But editing simple text should be an absolute breeze in this day and age on our computers. Even for those of us who are more easily bothered.

I have extremely high standards for my text editor: its features should make me very productive. I am more productive in vim than I am in sublime, but I've never once fretted about the fact that my vim screen updates are gated to the speed that my terminal window can draw, and that's certainly nowhere near as fluid as sublime.

I really like Atom, and Autocomplete Plus has been rapidly improving, but I still have no idea how the hell it works.


For what it's worth, fuzzy matching is turned off here.

freshyill: please see https://github.com/atom/autocomplete-plus/issues/460 for further information.

After reading this, I'm one step closer to using Atom. My biggest issue is performance. That's the main reason I haven't switched over from Sublime.

If you're not 100% set on your current editor or would just like to see what else is available out there, then I'd recommend giving Atom a try.

I'm using it as my main editor on an older 2010 Macbook Pro and the only issues I've been experiencing with it are the slow startup time and auto-complete in php files causing a noticeable delay. The git integration, community packages, and extensive customization options more than make up for those minor annoyances.

I may give it another try... last time I looked at Brackets and Atom, they were just slow... which surprised me when VS-Code wasn't too bad.. may check atom again.. but still using sublime most of the time.

Same here. I tried it early on with high hopes, then found it was too sluggish for my tastes. Lag while typing--even the smallest amount--annoys me.

I'll probably give it another whirl, hopefully the React stuff will have sped it up a bit.

Try switching from autocomplete while typing to autocomplete via keyboard shortcut and it may already make a big difference - this helped in my case with the php autocomplete slowdown.

I used it a bit more intensively during the last days and found it most of the time quite ok.

The 2 MB file size limitation remains a problem for productive use for now though.

I am not an Atom user although I have played around with it.

Is the 2MB limit really a problem? I always thought of Atom as a web languages editor not a heavy duty text processor like I think of programs such as UltraEdit.

Most of the time I don't have such big files. But if you have one and cannot open it, it is disturbing.

I've been using it for the past week and have been happy with its performance. I'm definitely going to be sticking with it for awhile.

Excellent, I was hoping for a better auto-complete. Atom is fast becoming one of my favorite editors. Great work everyone, keep it up!

Looks like Atom is using the new Office Code Pro font. For those curious: https://github.com/nathco/Office-Code-Pro

Will need to take a look... I've been using Inconsolata for a while, mainly because I liked Consolas so much in Windows.

I used Consolas for a while, but would highly recommend Office Code Pro. It's extremely readable and feels more contemporary, in my opinion.

damn son, all these mentions of text editors, and no one throws in Emacs. Sublime/atom have been sitting on the back burner for me in the last 6 months. The majority of my work has been moved over to emacs, from using IDE's (xCode, CodeBlocks, VS) i guess it was true, the only way to get better at emacs, is to be forced to use it for everything. 9/10 would use again, plus it already has support for YASnippit / Auto Complete.

that's because we already know about emacs and vim -- some of us don't like modal editors, or editors that try to be the universe. When you're checking your email in your text editor something is wrong.

That's simply a testament to an editor's extensibility. If you don't want to use it for email or as a browser then don't.

but see thats the beauty of it, that its able to dynamically change to your needs when you are using the machine.

> When you're checking your email in your text editor something is wrong.

Though is that worse than checking it in your terminal? :)

I haven't gone anywhere close to total darkside like that. But I'm playing with the thought. I need better Linux/Emacs/terminal chops first, though.

I'm using Adobe Brackets, does this make me a loser or noob here?

Some may ignore it since it's now under Adobe's umbrella, however: it's open source, updated very regularly, and works quite well. I think the live preview editor for web design is quite impressive and I haven't seen an equivalent from other text editors.

I'm actually giving Microsoft's Visual Studio Code a shot and it's quite good too.

Well, if I could run PFE on a Mac, I would. It wasn't feature rich, but it had a couple I loved (easy macros was the best).

+1 for Brackets

I dont know much about Atom. How does it compare to Sublime Text/Notepad++? I've recently switched to Sublime Text, but currently not beholden to anything.

How does it compare to an IDE, like Eclipse or Visual Studio (being the two I've used)? Is Atom an orange and an IDE an apple?

It's very much akin to ST3. Atom is significantly better and much more useable than when it was first released. I now use it as my main editor. I'm happy to support an open-source, community driven text editor of this quality.

I've used Sublime for a number of years now and have recently (over the past few weeks) been making a concerted effort to use Atom as my daily driver (mostly because I appreciate the open source nature of it and am familiar with Node). My experience thus far has been good. I use a Windows machine and half a year ago Atom was practically unusable; it's come a long way since and now I'm comfortable using it as my main editor.

I do notice the occasional performance hiccup -- I'll try jumping through settings and the application will hang for 20-30 seconds. I would say this happens probably 1-2 times per day. Other than that I don't really have any complaints. The package/theme community is vibrant and updates/improvements arrive frequently. Sublime is still a more stable and capable application, but given Atom isn't even at a 1.0 release I think that's acceptable. I think it's only a matter of time before Atom overtakes Sublime in terms of stability and performance -- the current velocity of V8, Node and Electron have it well on its way.

Like Sublime Text, it's somewhere between an IDE and a text editor. For example, both Sublime Text and Atom have a TypeScript plugin that uses the TypeScript language service to highlight compilation errors as you type, and to provide semantically-correct autocomplete suggestions. These are features typically expected in an IDE.

However, neither integrates with a debugger like a traditional IDE. You'll likely drop to a terminal or external tools to run / test / debug your program. (I'm sure they both have a plugin to make terminal commands a keyboard shortcut away, though.)

Hope that helps. It's a fantastic editor, although it can be a bit RAM heavy on my aging MacBook Air.

At this point I don't think I'm going to make the switch from Sublime Text and Atom. It feels like Atom is preparing the groundwork for market domination by creating an open-source framework that people use, love, and actively develop for.

But right now, it seems like its basically on par with ST, just with higher growth potential. That's not worth the switch for me at this current point in time.

It's a Sublime competitor. Not an IDE. I'll just speak for myself doing Scala development:

It in no way replaces IntelliJ. Atom doesn't host SBT. It won't compile in the background, it doesn't parse your code and build an AST. It doesn't execute tests, etc etc.

With that out of the way, it seems like a really nice text editor with the really bad UX of shoving most commands into a "command palette" (which seems somewhat popular these days, for reasons I don't understand) instead of just giving you shortcuts to the common ones.

In practice this means I'm typing CMD+SHIFT+P to open the palette, type "grammar" to open the language switcher, and type "scala" and enter to select the language. Every time I create a new file. It's passionately lame. Also, "grammar"? As opposed to using the muscle memory everyone whose used a text editor any time in the past two decades has developed for "syntax"? What jerk thought that up?

But maybe I'm just missing something.

Also, because it's a cross platform node.js thing, nothing is native and all configuration is done in JSON ala Sublime. If this was a Windows application they'd be making you set all your preferences, even changing font size, through an .INI file.

Of course there aren't a lot of native apps that do a whole lot better IME. Textastic is great, but it's syntax parsing is lacking. ChocolatApp never bothered to get visual selection right. Sublime suffers some of the same faults as Atom and does the `subl .` work to open a given folder on the first try without Sublime already being open yet? Textmate is dated. Visual Studio Code is actually probably my favorite, but it's just Atom with a different skin and command palette and it doesn't support Scala yet.

I dunno. I flop between different editors weekly it seems. Maybe I'll give UltraEdit a shot. I liked that on Windows back in the day and it seems like there's a Mac version.

My 2c.

EDIT: Nope. UltraEdit is the worst of the lot. Feels like it's running under Wine. No Theme support (you have to choose background colors, highlight colors, etc manually), no Scala support that I can tell. You'd have to be a forever-time UltraEdit user on Windows to want to subject yourself to it on a Mac.

One semi-pedantic correction: Visual Studio Code is not just Atom with a different skin. It uses Atom Shell (now called Electron), but that's just the app host. The editor component is completely different - it's 200K lines of TypeScript code. So you should think of Atom and VS Code as two different websites viewed in the same browser rather than the same app with a different skin.

> Visual Studio Code is not just Atom with a different skin.

And debugging tools that actually work. A strong debugger has always been the reason Visual Studio has excelled, and they've brought that to an open source editor.

You mentioned that TextMate was dated. Have you tried TextMate2? I feel like the UX is a lot nicer than Sublime.

I'm using Atom for a current project and so far I really like it. I think the main selling point is that you can install packages to customize it for your needs. For instance, I use Visual Studio as my main IDE, but it doesn't have support for JSX files. I open up Atom, install a few packages, and I now can edit/lint/compile JSX with full syntax highlighting.

In my experience Atom is noticeably slower than Sublime Text 3 and it cant open files over 2 MB

This was one of the reasons for me to stay on Sublime. Though over SSHFS (I have to :() Sublime is still better (but far from good).

Get a rocking solution for SSHFS support and you'll have it all :)

It's certainly come a long way since it started. Kudos to those involved on both the autocomplete-plus contributors and the Atom team.

The Atom third party packages and the active community around it is part of why I use it.

While it hasn't replaced Visual Studio for my work, but with the OmniSharp package (realtime c# intellisense, which piggybacks on this autocomplete-plus package) means for the times when I need to make edits without opening (and waiting) VS, I can do so and still get my c# intellisense.

Having decent autocomplete ui out of the box and a way to add providers that drive it is one of the key steps towards an IDE.

This is especially exciting when you look at Dart and TypeScript as both provide analysis servers that can easily be consumed without having to build this yourself.

It seems like going forward we will see popular platforms to provide their own analyzer and debugging tools which should level the playing field for text editors, IDEs and other tools to compete on UX.

Excited about Visual Studio Code. Wish it was open source though.

The autocomplete just got better, the performance is still on its knees...

Atom is big...

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