When comparing Atom vs Visual Studio Code, the Slant community recommends Visual Studio Code for most people. In the question“What are the best programming text editors?” Visual Studio Code is ranked 3rd while Atom is ranked 6th. The most important reason people chose Visual Studio Code is:
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 Extendable through plugins
Visual Studio Code comes fairly complete out of the box, but there are many plugins available to extend its functionality.
Pro TypeScript integration
There is very solid TypeScript integration in Visual Studio Code. Both are developed by Microsoft and VSC itself is written in TypeScript.
Pro Embedded Git control
Visual Studio Code has integrated Git control, guaranteeing speed, data integrity, and support for distributed, non-linear workflows.
Pro Integrated debugging
Pro Ready to use out of the box
You don't need to configure and add plugins before being productive. However, you can add plugins if needed but for the basics you're well covered.
Pro Integrated terminal
There's no need to press alt+tab to go to a terminal: it is directly integrated into the editor.
Shift+~ is a handy hotkey to toggle the integrated terminal.
Pro Updated frequently
There's a new release of Visual Studio Code every month. If you are one of the insiders then releases are daily.
Pro Great performance
For a 'wrapped' web-based application, Visual Studio Code performs very well.
Pro Integrated task runners
Task runners display lists of available tasks and performing these tasks is as simple as a click of the mouse.
Pro ESLint integration
ESLint integrates great. You can define your rules trough .eslintrc.* as usual and vs code will autofix your code on save. So your code is always in style.
Pro Active development
It's really nice to see how the code editor evolves. Every month there is a new version with great communication of new features and changes.
Pro Libre/open source
Released under the MIT License.
Pro Custom snippets support
Snippets are templates that will insert text for you and adapt it to their context, and in VSC they are highly customizable.
Pro Huge community behind it
The ease of getting assistance and finding tutorials is increasing as the community grows.
Pro Fast and powerful
VS-Code has the speed of Sublime and the power of WebStorm. Perhaps this is the best software that Microsoft has ever created.
Pro It has gotten really good
All it takes is one stop for all the features many people need.
Pro High fidelity C# plugin
The Omnisharp plugin is very powerful providing full sln, csproj, and project.json support.
Pro Support RTL languages
It supports pretty web rtl languages like arabic languages when most of other editors don't support it.
Pro JS typechecking
It leverages TypeScript compiler functionality to statically type check JS (type inference, JSDoc types) with
Pro Inline definition picking and usages finding
These features allow you to have a glance at code without opening it as a whole in a separate tab. Moreover, editing is allowed.
Pro Good support for new Emmet syntax
Pro Python support
Excellent Python plugin, originally created by Don Jayamanne, now hired by Microsoft to extend and maintain the extension.
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 The autocomplete and code check is not as powerful as the one on WebStorm
Sometimes it doesn't tell you if you made a typo in a method name or if a method is not used and several other important features.
Con No support for tiled/grid editor layouts
It can be configured for rows of editors, or columns of editors, but not both simultaneously. The development team has explicitly said this is not a priority.
Con Is not an IDE, is a text editor
Con Embedded Git isn't powerful enough
You can do nothing but to track changes, stage them and commit. No history, visualization, rebasing or cherry-picking – these things are left to git console or external git client.
Con Very bad auto import
Con Project search limits results
Because file search is so slow your results are limited in order to simulate a faster search.
Con Slow launch time
Than it's competitors, e.g. Sublime Text.
VS Code is a general code/scripting IDE built to be lightweight and for people familiar with their language of choice, not directly comparable to Visual Studio in power or scope.
Con Memory hog
Allegedly, VS Code is "lightweight". Yet, running multiple instances of it at once, you may get many "out of memory" messages from Windows despite 16 GB RAM. (While of course also running other things. The point is the comparison with some other IDEs/editors where running them alongside the same number of other applications doesn't cause Windows to run out of memory)
Con A "me too" offering from MS, far behind other well established editors that it attempts to clone
Other IDEs specific to a language often offer better tools for deep programming.
Con Have no good default js style analyzer
In WebStorm there is analyzer that checks for warnings and highlight this in yellow, here I cannot find or add it even with plugins. It is possible to have it as errors with linter but while you are actively changing file that's not very nice.
Con Emmet plugin often fails on even simple p tags
Con File search is extremely slow
It's absolutely not possible to use this tool with big projects given how long it takes to search for files.