Something About Atom

Atom is not a great text editor, and it will never be. It’s born with flaws and is likely can never be repaired completely. Even for Sublime, I would call it wonderful, but not great. Only if an editor is implemented everywhere, awful to learn, and awesome to use, it can be called ‘great’. Atom is not.

So, why do I write this? For in the last year I used Atom, along with MacVim, (maybe Xcode, for hackthon projects and, sometimes, for my homework) , as my favorite(not really) text editor.

I am not, at first, someone who start coding in very early age. I did do some coding in C/Java in some IDEs in high school, and I sometimes did used Vim to do some non-programming editing, but Vim is never my No.1 text editor (Neither Emacs). As I stated before, it’s awful to learn, awesome to use, and, just fucking everywhere — three very important facts, and, nothing more. If there is any reason I would use Vim, it must be: Vim is trustful.

So why not use MacVim (or gvim for Linux) for those not too hard-core works? Ummm … they got a better GUI, and at least you can use cursor to control, which is slightly easy to learn… But are they really trustful? Will they crash? Of course it’s a common myth that Vim will never crash, but people just believe it for no reason …

Among the other choices, I choose Atom by chance. I just heard it will be released years ago, and I applied the ‘have a try’ on Github and receive the email. The 1st alpha version is for Mac, and thankfully I was working on Mac.

So how about my first impression?

I forgot it. It’s neither impressed nor very bad. It’s like : aha, Github made this, ok, fine, NOT so UGLY, so I might use this text editor for a while.

When it pops up ‘New Update’, I just click install, and never read anything. (Which is not really common for me. For everything related to my works and projs, I somehow refused to updated, and I always read the update logs (even for iOS, until I got 2 smartphones), except Atom, for it don’t really care it crashs or not.).

I then found something interesting when I started something this winter. I need to rewrite some part of an existing website using ASP.NET (unfortunately I still cannot let it works properly on my mac) — Atom doesn’t support .aspx natively. OK, fine, dude, it’s time to back to MacVim. Not painful at all.

MacVim’s highlight can support .aspx files, but the color is so shitty. Maybe it just recognize some keywords.( The color theme is not that bad, but I just cannot bear one of the fucking green highlight. ) So after several hrs of working, I thought, ok, fine, how about find some plugins for Atom? It should be easier than find powerful plugins for Vim.I really want a Vim Plugin Store, where you can comment and rate the Plugins. You Can also act like a stupid user, not a fucking experienced programmer, and yielding ‘Fucking Plugin, not working, 1 star’. And, most importantly, no one will reply you ‘You Can you up, no Can no BB.’

So you know what I mean. There’s something natively included in Atom (actually I didn’t realize until that aspx case). It just like the Extension Store for Chrome, or the App Store for iOS. The one more function I still want for ‘Atom Plugins Store’ is to comment ‘not working, one star’.

Currently I’m using these Plugins and Themes.

It’s funny that there’re some packages called ‘Sublime-Style-Something’. But that’s also why I believe this ‘Atom Package Store’ is powerful. The most efficient way of find plugins and set up environment is not ‘asking your friend’ or ‘read some blogs such as “7 you-must-have Vim plugins” ’. Just search, install, try and rate.

I, unfortunately, knew something like “which shell is better”, “which terminal is better”, and I installed zsh and uninstalled it, back to bash, and then reinstalled it, several times. I used iTerm2 and back to the native Terminal after OS X 10.9 or 10.10 and now I’m using both of them (for some very specific requirements). I know these stuffs just because I used to waste time on it.

Yes, I know that those popular text editors also had very active communities, but there’s nothing as simple as an App Store. I know there’s some Plugins which can install and manage Plugins, but there’s nothing like Atom’s included ‘Package Store’. First, the community is active, and more importantly, it is conducted by Github, not some ‘who the hell knows where you are and where is my lovely 3.0’ or some ‘I just know you are fixing some issues on some very old systems and only you can fix it’ programmer. Nothing is eternal, people die, language changes, so does Github, but for now, it’s the most common and most popular stuff that every programmer use. It’s reasonable to believe that its community for Atom is powerful; also Github is doing the right thing right, they add a ‘store’ not a plugin to install plugins into Atom. You got every information you need, how many downloads, which is the latest version,(again, I still need a comment function, for fun) .

I don’t want to be powerful, and we should not assuming that programmers should be fucking powerful. Programmers are just Users, just like Severs are just Clients. Build the right text editor and setup the environment, and throw it to the programmer. I’m lazy and I’m willing to admit my stupidity but please set up those fucking stuffs for me so that I can walk in, sit down and,

Just start coding. Now.

After all, that’s why I’m using Atom. It’s not powerful or essential, but it just let me feels like a user. I got millions of choices and, the process can guide me to the right choice. I’m fucking done with setting up things.

But before you turns to Atom, there are three more things:

  1. It’s slow.
  2. It’s unstable.
  3. It’s fucking slow and unstable.

Remember that I had warned you.

Thanks for reading.


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Originally published at zhuanlan.zhihu.com.

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