Atom Vs Sublime Text Editor Comparison 2015

With two major text editors reviews done, the Atom text editor and Sublime Text editor, there is not choice left on my part. I would have eventually put each of them against each other, but this is the right time to compare them. The reason? They are fresh in my memory and it is the right time to compare them.

Many of my friends are confused on choosing a text editor. And many of them fix their eyes on two of the most popular text editor out there, the Sublime Text 2 or the Atom text editor. Making a call between them is a hard choice and can easily create unnecessary confusion. The phenomenon of getting confused while making a choice is known an analysis paralysis, and I do not want my readers to go through it anytime soon.

So, why wait? Let’s start our Atom vs Sublime text editor comparison.

Atom Vs Sublime Text Editor Comparison

Before, I start comparing, I must announce the machine on which the comparison is done. The performance of the text editors is surely not going to matter that much, but still it is always a great idea to release the snake before everyone asks for it.

The machine configuration is Core i5 4440 3.1 GHz(not overclocked), 8 GB 1600 MHz Corsair Vengeance RAM(4×2) and 1 TB WD Green hard disk(I know they are slow compared to blue).

Note: A comparison relies on perspective and eventually becomes an opinion. If you do not like what I am writing, you can always come forward and comment below! We are waiting to listen from you.

User Interface

The first thing that anyone notices about the text editors is their interface. And, I think it is a good call to check on how both Atom and Sublime fairs in the User Interface department.

The Atom user interface has improved a lot from the beta version. The welcome screen, for example, provides a complete overview on how you can start your day with Atom text editor. Cursor fluidity is great and the user-interface is commendable as well. The user can easily change the text editor’s User interface by hacking into the init file. Other options include loaded pre-loaded UI templates easily.


On the other hand, Sublime text is not far behind. It offer different font size selection and choosing different color themes to improve your visual experience.

There is no doubt that Sublime text can improve their UI customization options. Nevertheless, you will find both the text editors great on your eyes. Atom might have just pushed the user interface a little beyond the sublime horizon.

Nevertheless, if you have used Sublime text before, you would have a hard time to find the difference between the two text editors. And, you will feel at home while using Atom.

Atom surely has added a lot of modern look to their editor and we might see a lot of improvements when it comes out of beta.

For example, the transition animations are really out of the sublime league and looks way cooler than expected.


The Architecture behind the Text Editors

Sublime Text 2.0 is faster and better in this department. And, the reason behind it is the use of C++ architecture. On the other hand, Atom uses web-based technologies to render the whole text editor. Currently, it is using node.js and chromium on atom-shell to grant access to technology use of HTML, CSS/Less, and JavaScript/CoffeScript.

This difference brings the cake to the Sublime text, which is faster in almost all department including startup, searching and loading project files.

If you are going to work with tons of files in a project, it is advisable to use the Sublime text editor. We can only wait until Atom final version comes along and we hope that the Git team really does some magic in this department.

Hackability and Customization

The tagline of Atom text editor reads,

“A hackable text editor for the 21st Century”

And, it is true. Customization and hackability have taken a true meaning with Atom text editor. The basic idea of hackability comes from the modular design. You can hack into the open source Atom text editor by replacing any of the core modules or using the init script to modify the settings each time you open a new project.

On the other hand, Sublime text is not far behind. It offers great plugins for customization and you can create your own plugins using the popular programming language, Python.

Atom customization and hackability is superior and the show is not over yet, as each passing day, new plugins and features are flowing towards the basket of atom text editor. For example, the UI of Atom can easily be customized by editing a simple CSS file.

Sublime text do hold the upper hand in terms of plugins availability and the most obvious reason is its age and community. Atom is still in its infant stage with limited community input and age. We just have to wait and watch, what Atom has to offer.

Open Source vs Proprietary

The biggest difference between these two text editor is the license they carry. Atom being an open source software holds a lot of promise in the future. More and more people are going to get into the project and the end result is great for the community itself.

Open Source means you have access to every single line of code for the software and you can tweak it as you like. There are different versions of the open source license, but we are not going to discuss them now.

Eventually, the only thing that matters the most is the freedom that one carries. In this case, the atom text editor is the clear winner.

Cost is also one of the factors that are associated with proprietary solutions. Sublime text can cost you around $70. In comparison, Atom is free and will always be.

If we think the comparison in terms of pricing, the sublime text features outweigh the price. But, Atom really has opened the door for anyone who wants to use free software with the equal capacity to the best.

Who holds the future?

It’s tough to say who holds the future. Currently, the sublime text is widely used and it will take time for Atom text editor to catch up to it. But, the future does look in favor of Atom considering the team behind the development.

GitHub cannot be ignored and open source can really make Atom text editor the text editor of the future. With comprehensive hackability, a much better user-friendly environment, customizability, Atom do look promising.

Both the text editors are good for the community. Until now, Sublime Text is used as the benchmark for text editors. Can Atom replace the dominance of Sublime text? Comment below your opinion.

Also, share the comparison as much as you can!

  • I’ve used Sublime for a couple years now and have dabbled in Atom here and there. There is so much I love about the latter that I would love to adopt it as my primary text editor (And perhaps I will). The only complaint I have had about Atom in the past is speed when working with very large files (Which is rare) or modifying/moving large blocks of text. That is the primary reason I have stuck with the former.

    That being said, I love the features and how easy it is to customize the interface to look how I want in Atom. Plus, the fact that it is free is truly amazing.

    • Yes, you are right. Atom fails in handling big files and it can be because of its beta status or the underlying architecture they are using in the text editor. Is there any hope for the text editor in the future? We can only wait and see how it pans out.

  • CatMeow

    I love Atom, it’s great. I’m with everyone else however with the speed issues.
    I have noticed this on smaller files even on a 500 line HTML file I noticed slow searching and scrolling, and it even crashed once when running a basic search.

    Once they sort that out, I will consider making the switch.

    • Yes, CatMeow. There are some serious issues. The Atom 1.0 released yesterday, and I am hoping to review it again. Let’s see if they have fixed the issue or not in the first final build.

  • I’ve used Atom as my daily driver text editor for about two weeks now. I still use Sublime when i need to dig into a large file. As far as aesthetics, Atom wins. As far as stability and power, Sublime wins. Atom chokes easily on medium to large files. I don’t like that. I’ll more than likely be switching back to Sublime. Don’t even get me started on how weak Brackets is.

    • That’s True SuperChimp, Atom is amazing when used with light files that do not stress the text editor. With larger files, sublime takes on the heavy lifting.

      Bracket is also a great text editor, but do not stand any chance compared to the these two text editors, sublime and Atom stands.

  • Junaid

    Hello, nice article, i just installed Atom , things i liked about atom was user friendliness and ease to install packages but after installation , it crashed 90% of the time and uses too much resources in comparison to Sublime, uses 30-40% cpu during installation of packages and freezes alot,had to restart the Atom several, which is annoying. so uninstalled it and sticking to sublime 3 for now. I wish sublime had user friendly settings and installation interface like Atom does. Peace

    • Atom crashing too much time? Well, that’s unusual for sure. During my review usage, it didn’t crash a single time. And yes, Sublime Text is a better choice for now. With time, I think Atom can pick up to the competition. Let’s hope it does. Good for the community.

  • I also moved to VS Code from Sublime. Although the SublimeHQ team states that the project is not dead, now that VS Code and Atom do everything that Sublime does but for free, it’s a clear choice. The only category where Sublime is and will be king is performance. VS Code is only very very slightly slower than Sublime so for me it’s the best code editor right now. You should check it out to.


  • Christian Schulz

    Just played around with the current portable Atom installation on Windows 10. Pleased by the outer appearance I continue to explore more, i.e., the incremental-search package. It’s so slow, the idea of incremental search is senseless, if you are fast typer.

  • Marshall Neill

    I would like to see a comparison with Geany. Large files, no problem. Context, symbols in the sidebar. Ability to search entire project and see results in a separate window.