I tried out the Atom text editor very soon after it came out. For some reason--whether a half-hearted attempt on my part, or the fact that Atom was an unrefined beta--I didn't love it. After only a day or two, I reverted to the Komodo Edit editor I had been comfortable with for several years.

Recently, I heard a colleague describe Atom as a "Markdown editor". I was surprised, since my impression is that Atom was developed as a general purpose editor. But after my colleague showed me Atom's real-time Markdown render/preview feature, I figured I might give Atom a try again.

I'm enjoying Atom much better this time around. After working with it for a few days doing some basic programming (Python) and writing (Markdown) I had no complaints. It was only when I started revisiting some of my C code that I started having problems.

Not serious problems by any means: maybe annoyances is a better word. Anyway, I follow PEP8 for the most part when I write Python code, so I had my wrap guide set to 79 characters. This became awkward when I am working on C code, where I have long used 80 characters as the limit. I was not enthusiastic about switching the wrap guide every time I changed langauges, which seemed to be the only alternative to just switching the whole thing off.

Since Atom is touted as the ultimate hackable and configurable editor, I figured I would see if the wrap guide is something I can configure on a per-language basis. Surely enough, a bit of Google searching uncovered the secret. The preferredLineLength attribute under editor controls where the wrap guide is displayed. I set the default (under *) to 80, and then I created another Python-specific configuration with ".source.py", with preferredLineLength set to 79.

Here is my Atom configuration file, stored at ~/.atom/config.cson.

    disabledPackages: [
    projectHome: "/Users/standage/Software"
    fontFamily: "Consolas"
    invisibles: {}
    preferredLineLength: 80
    showIndentGuide: true
    tabLength: 4
    showOnStartup: false

    preferredLineLength: 79

That's it!