When comparing Atom vs Tower, the Slant community recommends Tower for most people. In the question“What are the best developer tools for Mac OSX?” Tower is ranked 4th while Atom is ranked 15th. The most important reason people chose Tower is:
T2 has a good-looking interface and consists of 3 main views - services, repositories and repository. - Services view for managing integrations with hosting services like GitHub, Bitbucket and Beanstalk. - Repositories view for organizing local and remote repositories into folders and getting general overview about them. - Repo view that consists of two main subviews: - Working copy view shows modified files and their diff and allows wrapping up changes in a commit. - History shows commits alongside metadata and projects file structure. Additionally, it allows performing various tasks such as merging branches via drag & drop, search allows searching by message, commit hash, author, committer and file and there's a quick open that allows fuzzy-searching for folder names.
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 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.
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 Pretty, modern-looking user interface
T2 has a good-looking interface and consists of 3 main views - services, repositories and repository.
Services view for managing integrations with hosting services like GitHub, Bitbucket and Beanstalk.
Repositories view for organizing local and remote repositories into folders and getting general overview about them.
Repo view that consists of two main subviews:
Working copy view shows modified files and their diff and allows wrapping up changes in a commit.
History shows commits alongside metadata and projects file structure.
Additionally, it allows performing various tasks such as merging branches via drag & drop, search allows searching by message, commit hash, author, committer and file and there's a quick open that allows fuzzy-searching for folder names.
Pro Offers a visual way to solve conflicts
T2 shows conflicting files, their authors and the commit that made changes. It then allows selecting which files should be used in the final result.
Pro Git-flow integration
Git-flow provide a consistent development process by defining a strict branching model that is great for managing large projects. T2 allows setting up and integrating into repos that follow this model.
Pro The UI only shows the needed commands at a time
Tower covers most of the daily tasks that a developer may need to complete. It shows only what you need for the most common tasks without overwhelming the user.
Pro Very polished user interface.
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 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 Doesn't recognize some keyboards
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 have a built in diff
Con Can only display a single repo at a time
There's no quick way of switching between repositories (such as tabs).
Con Inefficient UI
In order to not overwhelm the users with information, much of the information is either hidden by default or requires navigating to a different section to access.
Con Stability issues on Windows
On a simple repository, the UI often lags or freezes.
Costs $79 USD.
Con Not free/libre
This application is proprietary, and thus cannot be modified or freely distributed.