Atom vs Sublime: Which text editor to choose in 2020?

Galaxy Weblinks
4 min readJul 27, 2020

Developers use Text Editors, also known as code editors, for editing programming code. These editors basically contain features like quick navigation, syntax highlighting, automatic indenting, etc.

There are many developers who are writing for the web (JS, CSS, HTML, etc.) using Sublime for Mac. At the same time there are others who prefer programming in an IDE because it comes with a bit more support from a debugging side.

It’s all skewed to personal preferences, and for most of the time- what they have become used to.

So, a straightforward answer to the ‘what is the best text editor for developers?’ question, doesn’t exist.

Whereas, views on “Which is the best text editor between Atom and Sublime?” is subjective.

In this post we will share with you a side by side comparison between these two popular text editors, and try to be as objective as possible. So that you will have enough information to make a choice that best fits your needs.

Prime Difference

Atom is an open source text editor developed in 2014 by GitHub. Created using Node JS and HTML, it supports Windows, Mac, and Linux OS. Whereas, Sublime was created by Jon Skinner, a former Google Engineer, and supports the same platforms as Atom.

Sublime offers a free trial version for testing, but all continual users are required to pay $80 to keep it active.

$80 sounds steep right?

But it’s important to note that the licenses are per-user, rather than per-machine. So you can enjoy Sublime on as many operating systems and computers as you want with your license.

And in case, if you don’t like the fact that Sublime loves to remind you to purchase one, then Atom is for you!


With more people contributing to open source frameworks, Atom has an edge in the growth space as it will tend to improve at a quicker rate than Sublime.

But when it comes to performance and speed, Sublime edges out Atom, and other editors -The main reason why it stays ahead of Atom among developers.

Sublime is well known for being responsive, speedy, and lightweight. If performance is your top priority, Sublime Text navigates, manages, and loads large projects incredibly well.

Whereas, if there’s one bone to pick with Atom, it’s that at times, developers have found it slow. Especially while opening a file or switching between tabs sometimes, and while working with large codebases, like the Linux kernel or the Android open source project.


As a developer, the freedom to tweak, add, and extend your editor to match your development style and flow is really essential that also gives an incredible feeling of power.

Both the programs are pretty bare bones out of the box, allowing you to fully customize the experience by adding your own custom shortcuts, and customizing themes.

Sublime is very much like Atom. The power to control aspects such as “trim whitespace”, “save on lost focus”, and more is available. The configuration files are simple JSON and there’s a whole host of hidden settings waiting for you to play with.

The expected customization features are there in both the tools — all the necessary wrapping, indenting, theming, language tweaks, etc. Whereas, Atom has 2,900+ themes as compared to 7,000+ themes in Sublime.


With Atom many features come out of the box, whereas, for those same set of features you need to install a package manager in Sublime before even beginning the coding process.

Then, users must learn which plugins, extensions, and packages best enhance their experience.

Atom comes pre-installed with eight syntax and four UI themes in both light and dark colors. Atom is visually oriented, and has rich features such as minimaps of individual folders, project sidebar, modular design, and built-in package manager, folder trees for drag-and-drop style organization.

The out-of-the-box features of Atom are a stark contrast to Sublime.

But as Sublime has been accepted by the developer community for years as it is an older text editor than Atom, the variety of packages in sublime text is wider than atom. There are some unique packages in Sublime that have no exact similar alternative in Atom.


Both Text Editors offer a more familiar code editing experience without an integrated terminal and debugger.

From all the above appearances, it seems that Sublime is the reigning champion of text editors but Atom is the up-and-coming underdog soon to take the lead.

Hope it will help you in understanding the core differences between the two to choose from, depending on your development needs.

If you need fullstack or other development assistance on projects needing such basic and critical technical expertise, reach out to us.

Originally published at on July 27, 2020.



Galaxy Weblinks

Transforming forward-thinking ideas into bold digital experiences.