Using Atom

“Have you tried Atom?” #RuinADateInFourWords

Have gone to the dark side temporarily: Atom handles my ES6 better than BBEdit currently. 😭

But it’s not quite right, so I fix. Atom configuration is a bit of a mess, but everything-is-a-plugin is a good philosophy.

  • One Dark UI & One Dark syntax themes are OK. But for crazy-go-nuts, install ubik-neon-syntax, and atom-material-ui. Goddamn this makes me want a bottle of Jolt Cola and an Information Society CD blasting on endless repeat.
  • install logo-file-icons, garish but the more popular file-icons is bland and ugly.
  • install symbols-list, because the default symbols tool doesn’t find new-style classes.
  • install eslint, because nobody writes JavaScript good, even me after 20 years of it.
  • install atom-mac-terminal, gives you an “Open in Terminal” right-click.

  • packages, linter, settings, turn off “Lint On Change”, because that slows down an already slow editor.

  • packages, autocomplete-plus, settings, turn off “Show Suggestions On Keystroke”. Ctrl-Space is fine. I learned to touch-type on an IBM Selectric, so I type faster than JS can autocomplete anything but a very long constant.

  • % atom ~/.atom/styles.less and add:

    /* scroll bars should be grabbable */
    .scrollbars-visible-always {
        /deep/ ::-webkit-scrollbar {
            width: 20px;
            height: 20px;
    /* turn off all that folding folderol */
    atom-text-editor.editor .icon-right {
        width: 0 !important;
    /* make the gutters different from text so I can see indentation */
    atom-text-editor.editor .gutter {
        border-right: #222222 1px solid;
        background-color: #111111;
    /* ubik-neon-syntax has overly dark functions, was #133460 */
    .theme-ubik-neon-syntax .syntax--entity.syntax--name.syntax--function, .theme-ubik-neon-syntax .syntax--support.syntax--function {
        color: #4f6db4;
        font-weight: bold;
    /* ubik-neon-syntax recolors the semantic class of arguments to functions; I want types to be colored the same in or out of a function call. */
    .theme-ubik-neon-syntax .syntax--arguments, .theme-ubik-neon-syntax .syntax--meta.syntax--function-call {
        color: unset;
  • (new 2017-06-10) % atom ~/.atom/keymap.cson (why is there no UI for keymapping?!) and add:
    # I hate editors & other long-term applications closing by instinctive Cmd-Q
        'cmd-alt-ctrl-shift-q': 'application:quit'
        'cmd-q': 'pane:close'
  • (new 2017-06-10) % atom ~/.atom/snippets.cson (why is there no UI for snippets?!) and add:
            'prefix': 'me'
            'body': '''module.exports = {

Open issues:

  • I can’t find a package to get rid of tabs and only badge/color open files in the tree view.
  • Regex field is unbearably small. I often copy over to BBEdit, do a big regex there, copy back.
  • To figure out any style element to customize, you have to open developer mode ⌘⌥I and pick the element and find the exact right style from a mess of styles. A lifetime writing HTML & CSS pays off in customizing a fucking editor; if you’re not me, you’re probably stuck with it. BBEdit lets you customize styles right there in Preferences. At least atom-material-ui has a couple choices for accent colors.
  • I wrote this post in BBEdit. Atom has a Markdown preview, but it’s awkward and far slower.


Swift amazes me. A beta language that breaks your code every 6 months, a type system so totalitarian and inescapable it makes BDSM Haskell look like a vacation (and apparently nobody’s read Gödel’s paper), the founder abandoned it to go work on cars, Apple won’t ship production code in it, compiling burns your fucking CPU to the ground for 10s of minutes for code C can do in seconds, and after 3 years Xcode still can’t refactor it.

And stupid motherfuckers write their production apps in it. 😦

I know Objective-C is hard. It’s C plus Smalltalk, both of which are subtle and take a year or two to learn. [brackets scare:theNoobs] && dot.syntax.isOverloaded;
But the tools fucking work. Dynamic code makes programmers efficient. A more elegant weapon for a more civilized age.


My editing weapon of choice is BBEdit: It Doesn’t Suck™. Why? I want you to read the typical release notes:
Attention to fucking detail. Best $100 I ever spent (it’s cheaper now).

On iPad I use Textastic (has regexp) or Editorial (has scripting filters), but they’re amateur hour in comparison.

If I have to shell in and can’t edit remotely & upload with BBEdit, I’ll use vi, which I used for ~20 years (actual vi, STeVIe, Elvis, & Vim).

Oh, and for iOS/Mac apps with a ton of UI/framework shit, I use AppCode. BBEdit for clean C/Obj-C and I can just xcodebuild from Terminal. As the avatar says, STOP Xcode!

It’s a hell of a thing. Apple had a reasonable but limited Project Builder/Interface Builder pair of apps from NeXT. PB could set an external editor (BBEdit) so I was happy. Then Xcode combined them and lost the external editors, and every version since has been worse, slower, crashier, renders ASCII text as Russian, less capable of even simple refactors. Now it just shoves fucking Swift (C++ for masochists) down your throat and shits 10k messages into Console so you can’t debug.