2 min read

Bye, Atom! (for now)

I have heard a lot of good things about Atom from GitHub. It boasts a large library of packages.

My need is simple, R and Python coding for data analysis and some manipulation of text files as needed. Markdown is my latest favorite for writing notes to myself.

Atom is powerful, but not a lightweight as Notepad++, so it is always slower to start up and more difficult, for me, to go through the menus. The last straw came yesterday, when I worked with some csv files. Notepad++ outperformed Atom.

  • Notepad++ autodected the encoding as UTF-16-LE, and Atom failed to do so.
  • To save the file as UTF-8, Atom has nice package to do so, and Notepad++ needs a CRTL+A and copy paste.
  • Atom totally failed when I tried to open a larger csv (200M). It just crashed. Notepad++ not only opened file fairly quickly, and it did not sweat during CRTL+A and copy paste routuine.

For my user case, I will use Rstudio + Spyder/Jupyter for coding, and Notepad++ for occasional text editing. Do not really see a niche for Atom to shine, for now.

See you, I barely know you, Atom. Hope we will meet again soon!

A non-trival side note, this happened when I failed to read a Spotfire exported csv in R and Python. Until I noticed that Notepad++ detected the encoding as UTF-16. The default of Sportfire is exporting in UTF-16. I am waiting for corporate IT to figure out a way to add option to export as UTF-8. Python/Pandas can read UTF-16 but my favorite R/readr cannot handle UTF-16 yet, even though it is filed as an issue. The workaround is to use Notepad++ or Python/Pandas to convert the csv files to UTF-8. I hope readr can be updated soon to resolve it.