Github’s Atom vs Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code: Comparison, Review and Voting

Introduction

Microsoft with a big promotional company “We are good for Open Source” try to convince us today that corporation with negative reputation can make the big and high-quality open source cross-platform product. Big step – MS released their Visual Studio Code under Linux – unbelievable thing for the old leadership with Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates.

In other side – Github also don’t need an advertisement and now is the one of the biggest icons in Open Source and the biggest hosting of source code. Slogan “A hackable text editor for the 21st Century” sounds like a “just another Emacs alternative”. In this article we try to understand ‘who is who’ and describe all bad and good things.

Why comparison of this two editor with steroids is very interested? Because they are very similar – both use Chromium and Electron Framework; both have some popularity in “new wave” of editors for software development and some visual likeness.

Atom

Atom development started in February, 2014 and today he don’t look like a typical young and unstable project – no, this is really big projects with bigger community and rather than 3k extensions. This editor is really hackable and looks likе a kit – you can add some helpful feature or support of new programming language or write his own package, key maps, style-sheet, init script, snippets and more. JavaScript is a very popular programming language and writing the Atom extensions with JS is easy – therefrom some packages has troubles with quality and performance. Performance also is one of the biggest problems in Atom – Chromium, Electron and JS packages need a lot of system resources, but in latest versions Atom works really better. Most popular programming languages in Atom support syntax highlighting and snippet supports; default live preview mode for HTML and Markdown is very good. Also use my personal recommendation – search packages with *plus suffix for extended support and features. If you need an IDE – no problem, please use this package:
travis-ci-status, linter, minimap, atom-beauty, pigments, minimap-codeglance.

Interested limitation in Terms of Use:

You must be 13 years or older to use this Service.

You must be a human. Accounts registered by “bots” or other automated methods are not permitted.

I am very disappointed: robots can’t use Atom.

Note: Atom use Google Analytics default enabled; details on metrics plugin.

Verdict: good, big community and packages, some problems with performance, ultra-customizable.

Visual Studio Code

Microsoft isn’t a corporation with a superb reputation, just remember the privacy collector in Windows 10: Google looks like a guys from school in comparison. But now is time to seriously review without prejudice. In first look Visual Studio Code is similar to Atom, but but this is an illusion. The typical Metro style may be good for Windows users, not for me. Visual Studio Code is really fast and faster than Atom, but functionality and basic tools are very small. Seriously, I can find debugging and CSS preview tool in Dev Mode: this is software for developers or desperate housewives? Code autocompletion in JavaScript and C# works nice and don’t work in Python. Some plugins are also available. Settings and customizations are really poor, numbers of plugins – small, for example I can’t find a multiple cursor feature. Git integration is good – basic features can be ran without terminal.

Interested limitation in Terms of Use:

TIME-SENSITIVE SOFTWARE. The software will stop running on 31/12/2016 (day/month/year). You will not receive any other notice. You may not be able to access data used with the software when it stops running.

SCOPE OF LICENSE. The software is licensed, not sold. This agreement only gives you some rights to use the software. Microsoft reserves all other rights. Unless applicable law gives you more rights despite this limitation, you may use the software only as expressly permitted in this agreement. In doing so, you must comply with any technical limitations in the software that only allow you to use it in certain ways. You may not work around any technical limitations in the software; reverse engineer, decompile or disassemble the software, or otherwise attempt to derive the source code for the software except, and solely to the extent: (i) permitted by applicable law, despite this limitation; or (ii) required to debug changes to any libraries licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License which are included with and linked to by the software; remove, minimize, block or modify any notices of Microsoft or its suppliers in the software; use the software in any way that is against the law; or share, publish, or lend the software, or provide it as a hosted solution for others to use, or transfer the software or this agreement to any third party.

There should be a banner “Why I hate Microsoft” 😉

Verdict: middle, pool functionality, maybe good for Microsoft technology, fast, good NodeJS debugger.

Comparison

Atom has more functionality, tools and plugins. Visual Studio Code looks like an editor for narrow range of technologies, Atom – universal developers kit. If you use the C#/ASP.NET and other Microsoft’s technology maybe Visual Studio Code is a better choice. If you need many tools/functionality and Atom’s performance with plugins isn’t enough – try to look on Emacs or IDE like an Eclipse/Netbeans.

Voting

Which editor is better for you?

View Results

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