Switching from Sublime Text to Atom

28 June 2015

Atom text editor just released 1.0 version. There are lots of reasons to switch from Sublime text. Maybe you love the idea of open source, or perheps you’re a member of Github community. There’s no doubt that Atom looks and feels a bit different. However, install the following packages and you’ll get the productivity back.

1. Install Monokai syntax theme

There are many cool looking theme, but I’m just used to the Sublime’s default colour scheme. Install it and changed the syntax theme:


2. Tabs to space:

Install the tabs-to space package:


Then add this to the config.cson:

‘tabs-to-spaces’: ‘onSave’: ‘untabify’

3. Soft Tabs

Hard-tabs are 4 characters long by default which can result in hard-to-read code with large tabular indents. I recommend enable the “Soft Tabs” option in the user settings, which would outputting spaces instead of tabs.

4. Draw white space

In Settings, check the box “Show Invisibles”. It will add the little dots on the indentation spaces.

5. Trim trailing white space on save

Strips trailing whitespace and adds a trailing newline when an editor is saved


6. Bracket highlighter

Bracket-matcher is one of the must-have package for highlighting all sorts of brackets () [] {} “” ‘’ <>:


7. Emmet

Emmet is the the essential toolkit for web-developers. It saves you a lot of time with shortcuts. Input below then hit tab:


Output with all the HTML tags.

  • Another example is start typing lorem and output the whole lorem ipsum.


    8. Git plus

    The package lets you do git things without the terminal, straight from the Atom Editor. Let’s cut off a few seconds off our workflow and use this package: https://atom.io/packages/git-plus

    9. Git Diff

    Marks lines in the editor gutter that have been added, edited, or deleted since the last commi: https://github.com/atom/git-diff

    10. Linter and Jshint

    To lint your code: https://atom.io/packages/linter

    With jshint: https://atom.io/packages/linter-jshint

    11. Alignment

    A simple key-binding for aligning multi-line, multi-cursor and multiple selections.

    var a = b;
    var ab = c;
    var abcd = d;
    var ddddd =d;

    Then use the shortcut ‘ctrl+cmd+a’

    var a     = b;
    var ab    = c;
    var abcd  = d;
    var ddddd = d;


    12. Add atom as git’s default editor:

    If you’re freaking out with the vim editor when writting a git commit, change it default to atom

    git config — global core.editor “atom — wait”

    Pacakages offers developers tools to help with productivity and workflow. What packages did you install? Let me know what are your favourite.

    Originally published at victorleungtw.com on June 28, 2015.

    By Victor Leung

    Experience in software development, consulting services and technical product management. Understanding of business and technology with an MBA in Finance and a Master degree in Computer Science. AWS Certified Solution Architect with experience in building products from scratch and serving as a charismatic leader.

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