Roland Ewald

Software Engineer · Researcher

Configuring terminal usage in Atom


I re-visited the Atom editor in the last weeks; after all its performance is being improved step by step1 and by now the development speed seems to have settled down a little.

Overall, I am quite impressed with how simple the editor is to configure2.

For example, I ran into a problem when configuring terminal support. While the terminal-fusion package (a Linux-only fork of platformio-atom-ide-terminal) works well out-of-the-box, it seems to miss a simple way to switch between terminal window and the current editor pane (and to auto-hide the terminal if it is not in focus).

Luckily, there is a code snippet for platformio-atom-ide-terminal3 that just needs a little tinkering to make it compatible with terminal-fusion, and then goes into

atom.packages.onDidActivatePackage (pack) ->
  if == 'terminal-fusion'
    atom.commands.add 'atom-workspace',
      'editor:focus-main', ->
        p = atom.workspace.getActivePane()
        panels = atom.workspace.getBottomPanels()
        term = panels.find (pan) ->
 == 'TerminalFusionView'
        if not term
          # Open a new terminal
          editor = atom.workspace.getActiveTextEditor()
          atom.commands.dispatch(atom.views.getView(editor), 'terminal-fusion:new')
        else if term and p.focused

        else if term and !p.focused

It’s easy to understand what is going on here, even without knowing much about CoffeeScript.

Now just add this shortcut definition to your keymap.cson:

'.platform-linux, atom-text-editor atom-workspace':
  'ctrl-ä': 'editor:focus-main'

And yes, this is an ä you see there – change as appropriate if you are not blessed with a German keyboard layout :-)

  1. My impression so far: absolutely usable for ‘normal’ documents (e.g. code), but still much slower than Sublime Text on larger files (e.g. log files of a few megabytes, or files with very long lines – although that seems to get fixed in v1.15). Also, starting the editor takes a few seconds, so it’s a little too slow for quick one-off edit tasks (git commits etc.). 

  2. Of course it helps that important shortcuts like ctrl-shift-p are consistent with Sublime Text :-) 

  3. The last version of that snippet, on which the above code is based, can be found here