When comparing SciTE vs Atom, the Slant community recommends Atom for most people. In the question“What are the best programming text editors?” Atom is ranked 6th while SciTE is ranked 10th. The most important reason people chose Atom is:
Due to its modular design, almost any aspect of the editor can be changed. Even seemingly core packages, like those taking care of search and replace functionality, can be forked on GitHub, and changed and replaced in the editor. The documentation for creating new plugins is also great, making it easier for developers to jump in and create plugins for Atom.
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It's property files allow for fine tweaks of its behavior, at a global or per language / project level. These textual settings might be confusing for those used to preference dialogs, but prove to be powerful, flexible, and fine grained.
With less than 2 MB of binary on Windows, SciTE starts instantly. Plus, if you don't need all the config, syntax files, blah, there's a 678k standalone .exe version. Nothing is going to beat that for lightweight and start-up times. Stick it in a folder that is already on your PATH.
Pro Built-in shell
The console window can show the result of ran commands (like build current file, reporting warnings, and errors), but also accept interactive shell commands.
SciTE works on Windows and Linux, and it also has a commercial port on MacOS.
Based on the Scintilla source code editor, SciTE has some advanced features like rectangular editing, simple regular expression search and replace, code folding, etc. It allows the user to launch a compiler or interpreter, and it can also interpret the error messages, jumping at the location they point to.
Lua scripting is key to SciTE's power and flexibility. The Lua scripting language can be used to perform complex text transformations. It's relatively simple syntax and its large user-base makes it a great choice for a scripting feature.
Pro Powerful syntax highlighting for numerous languages
Lexers providing folding and syntax highlighting are based on code, not on regular expressions. They support context, nesting, special rules, etc.
Pro Free (except on Mac) and open source
SciTE is written in C++, with lot of contributors, both to the core and to the numerous lexers.
Has a simple graphical user interface
Due to its modular design, almost any aspect of the editor can be changed. Even seemingly core packages, like those taking care of search and replace functionality, can be forked on GitHub, and changed and replaced in the editor.
The documentation for creating new plugins is also great, making it easier for developers to jump in and create plugins for Atom.
Pro Extensive list of packages
Atom has a built-in package manager and an extensive list of packages. Packages are written in CoffeeScript.
Pro Built-in package management
Atom was built from the ground up with the community in mind. Package management is therefore a first class feature.
Atom can run on Mac, Windows, and Linux.
Pro Free and open source
Atom is free, open source, and written in C++, LESS, and CoffeeScript.
Pro Beginner friendly
One of the goals of Atom is to be a text editor for both experienced and beginner programmers. You can add keyboard shortcuts, change themes, install plugins, and change core settings by clicking through a GUI, or by manually editing config files the old-fashioned way. It has the added advantage of being built using the same engine that powers Google Chrome, so actions like opening and closing tabs feel familiar, even to new or non-programmers.
Pro Embedded Git control
Atom will highlight folders, files, and lines that have any uncommitted edits made. It also integrates really well with GitHub.
Pro Multi-line select and edit
Multiple cursors and column selection allow for versatile ways of editing.
ctrl + d will select the current word and each time the command is repeated, it adds the next occurrence of the word to the selection.
ctrl + click or
middle-mouse click will place another cursor in the place that's clicked. Cursors can then be controlled together. This also allows for selecting vertically.
Pro Command Palette support
The Command Palette permits fuzzy searching all available functions, settings, snippets, etc.
Pro Allows for instant file switching
By pressing Ctrl or Command + T and using fuzzy search, you can look for a file in your project.
Pro Command line integration out of the box
Installing Atom adds two command line commands -
apm. The first one runs the application itself while the second is the Atom Package Manager that's used to add and remove various components from the package listing. While these features can be set up with other editors as well, Atom takes care of them out of the box.
Pro HiDPI support
Atom has built-in HiDPI support with zero scaling issues.
You can theme and customize Atom to your liking.
Pro Vim plugin turns Atom into a modernized vim
Pro Modern feel and very customizable and extendable
Pro Best support for Arduino with Platformio
Arduino is the most important platform for developing embedded systems.
Con Hard to config
The configuration is mainly a file-based config, which can be unintuitive and difficult to use for new users.
Con Missing file browser
SciTE's greatest weakness is perhaps the file browser. It does not really have one, just a poor substitute which works a little bit like a terminal window with
dir commands to show the files in a directory.
No extensions, Themes.
Con Very slow startup time
Atom is very slow to startup, which is a big disadvantage if you are accustomed to using it to make quick changes on your files.
Con High memory usage
Atom has a relatively high memory usage, especially when compared to some other text editors not based on Electron. For those who develop on the go, this also tends to mean shorter battery life.
Con Has difficulty with large text files
Tends to crash or hang with large >(10MB) text files, making it less useful as a general text editor.
Con Slows down exponentially with plugins
Extending it needs sacrificing responsiveness
Con No text UI
Con Doesn't handle RTL (right-to-left text) well
Text can't be highlighted and manipulated properly, cursor isn't displayed visually according to where it is logically (you have to type to find out), and similar issues.
Con Not known when a new window will open
It's not really clear why and when a new window is opened when you open a file out of the tree view.
Con Depends on old software
Depends on python 2, which dies out.
Atom is not a native application. As such performance is subpar and the lag is especially noticeable on larger projects. It also opens a surprising amount of sub-processes and leaks a considerable amount of memory.
Con Doesn't recognize some keyboards
Con Missing additional touches
As Atom is still relatively new, it's missing nice little touches that other text editors have implemented over the years. From simple ease-of-use items like middle-mouse button multi-cursor select, to the ways pasted information from a spreadsheet is interpreted in multi-select situations.