When comparing Atom vs PyCharm, the Slant community recommends PyCharm for most people. In the question“What are the best Python IDEs or editors?” PyCharm is ranked 1st while Atom is ranked 9th. The most important reason people chose PyCharm is:
PyCharm has CVS, Git, Subversion and Mercurial integration.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
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.
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.
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 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 Embedded Git control
Atom will highlight folders, files, and lines that have any uncommitted edits made. It also integrates really well with GitHub.
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.
You can theme and customize Atom to your liking.
Pro HiDPI support
Atom has built-in HiDPI support with zero scaling issues.
Pro Modern feel and very customizable and extendable
Pro Vim plugin turns Atom into a modernized vim
Pro Best support for Arduino with Platformio
Arduino is the most important platform for developing embedded systems.
Pro Version control integration
PyCharm has CVS, Git, Subversion and Mercurial integration.
Pro Catches run-time information when running the code
PyCharm can leverage run-time information when running your application with the built-in debugger to figure out what types can possibly be passed to which functions, etc.
Pro One of the best autocompletion engines around
PyCharm has two types of autocompletion: structural completion and word expansion.
Both types of autocompletion work extremely well, have little to no problems and are quite fast even when loading suggestions on the go.
Pro Free version available
There's a community edition (with limited features) that's free to use. You can also get a 30-day trial of the Professional edition.
Pro Great pip support
PyCharm offers great pip integration. When opening a project it automatically checks for a
requirements.txt file in the root of the project. If it's found, it checks if all the libraries are available in the interpreter. If one or more libraries are missing, it issues a warning and asks whether you want to install any missing libraries.
Pro Excellent refactoring support
There are many refactoring options including renaming and changing signature across entire projects. It also includes the an ability to preview changes before committing and exclude anything unwanted.
Pro Automatically figures out what test to run based on the method the cursor rests at a given time
PyCharm, based on what method or class the cursor rests, can figure out what tests to run and perform them with a keyboard shortcut or two, without breaking up the flow and need to switch to a command line interface.
Pro Excellent integration with debugging tools
All the debugging can be done inside the IDE. Breakpoints in the code can be added using keyboard shortcuts or the mouse. When the code is executed through the debugger a toolbar pops up with all the relevant context needed for the debugging process.
The whole process is smooth and painless and you don't even have to switch windows to do the debugging.
Pro Great for navigating large codebases
PyCharm has amazing code navigation implementations. It supports both goto symbol and goto declaration. The former finds classes, variables, functions, etc by name. While the latter is used by moving the cursor on top of a symbol and by using the mouse or a keyboard combination it finds the declaration of that symbol and takes you there.
Both of these features are extremely helpful when consulting large code-bases and when trying to understand an API written by someone else.
Pro Supports installing third party libraries
No need to go to the command line to download a new package, PyCharm has an easy system to browse, download, and update third party packages.
Pro Sophisticated static analysis tools
Pro Free student access to Professional Edition
With a valid .edu address students can register to use the Professional edition and enjoy all the perks of the full paid version for free.
Though it should be mentioned that the with the free student acess you cannot use PyCharm for any commercial purposes, even accepting donations for an open source project.
Pro Remote debugging over ssh coupled with automatic deployment creates a streamlined workflow
The professional version allows remote debugging over ssh, which together with automatic deployment creates a streamlined workflow.
Pro Built-in Django support
Pycharm has excellent django support, from templating to management commands, it has it all.
Pro Vim mode for people used to Vim commands
IdeaVim supports motion keys, insert mode commands, marks, registers, visual mode commands, vim regexps, key mapping, macros, digraphs, some ex and :set commands. You can find a full comparison in the IdeaVim reference manual.
Pro Easy to optimize code with built-in profiling tools
If you have a yappi profiler installed on your interpreter, PyCharm starts the profiling session with it by default, otherwise it uses the standard cProfile profiler.
Pro Amazing direct database integration
Pycharm supports SQLlite, PostgresQL, Mysql, etc out of the box and is integrated very nicely with Pycharm. Making database modifications could never have been easier as changing a cell value and committing the changes straight from pycharm.
Pro Has a lot of plugins
PyCharm offers a high variety of plugins like Pylin, Mypy etc. covering all the above mentioned. Plus it has a built-in support to detect wrong formatted/named things (inspection).
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.
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 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.
Con Crash and data loss
I lost unsaved changes 2 times when the app crashes.
A bugreport about that was closed automatically after some time, nobody cares.
Con Doesn't recognize some keyboards
Con Very high memory usage
Memory usage is usually anywhere around 1-2GB and possibly larger with larger projects
Con Not suitable to edit project's files written in other languages
There is a high variety of support for a lot of languages like markdown etc. Not for Java and so on, but it is a Python IDE.
Con Rendering is awful
Con Vim mode is limited
Con Some relatively basic functionality requires paid license
Con Sometimes all autocomplete stuff dies with over 9k Java exceptions with no visible reason
Con Assinine licensing scheme
JetBrains licensing, especially if you have multiple products, is a blocker. You just can't a fixed line-item price (for departmental budgeting) for their licenses.
Con It cannot reindex on the fly packages installed from git source
If you've installed a package with the command:
pip install -e git+https://firstname.lastname@example.orgemail@example.com#egg=package
you have two options available to make PyCharm update/see it:
- restart PyCharm
- invalidate caches
Con Odd Autosave "feature", can't be disabled fully
PyCharm automatically saves your files for you, always, without telling you. You can't disable this. There's a way to indicate if a file has been modified via an indicator in the tab (not enabled by default - why?).
If you exit it won't ask you if you want to save the modified file. Totally unintuitive and contrary to all other established workflows. It's ok to try something new, but give users the option to have the "normal" behaviour of any other IDE/editor out there. Can be a deal breaker for those that need to know/have control over when they save their files. (PyCharm offers a history to undo the automatic save, but why force a user to undo something with extra steps that shouldn't have happened in the first place?)