Regular Boomer readers will know that we Mincey folks have a few inherited vices. Poker, among many other games of chance, including the stock market. And collections. We have dozens of calculators, digital and analog. And I collect text editors on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad; more of the former, of course.
Here’s another one and it’s free. This one is called Atom and it’s billed as a hackable text editor. No, not a text editor like TextEdit on your Mac. This one is for programmers and coders. Hackable in this case means you can customize Atom to do exactly what you want it to do rather than taking all the features and adapting your workflow to fit.
Atom looks familiar because most modern text editors have a similar visual structure. The lefthand sidebar fills up with projects and files, while the main window displays the code, line numbers, and more. Tools show up in the Menubar with more options along the bottom.
Atom is somewhat unique in that it’s hackable; you can customize many core functions to suit your needs. There’s a Mac, Windows, and Linux version so you can bounce between platforms with ease. You can even install packages from within Atom.
The basics are there, too. Browse files as a single file, multiple projects, or files in a single project. Multiple panes let you compare and edit code from different files. All the other standard features you’d expect in a halfway decent text editor are there, too, including extensive find and replace, smart autocomplete, and a few themes to vary what you see on screen.
Click Here for a list of the many text editors I collect and reviewed in recent years. There isn’t much to not like about Atom because it’s open source and runs on multiple platforms. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of, say, BBEdit, Smultron, TextMate, or others, but it’s competent, fast, and works well.
Caveats? One. There’s no iPad version, and increasingly I’m doing text editing on remote files using my iPad, where there are few text editors to select from; I’ve settled on Coda and the less expensive Textastic for iOS work. Both work on Mac, iPhone, and iPad.