Atom text editor

GitHub’s Atom Text Editor Hits 1.0, Now Has Over 350,000 Monthly Active article  got me interested in Atom editor software. Atom is GitHub’s highly extensible open source text editor. Atom project was started by the founder of GitHub, Chris Wanstrath in the mid of year 2008. Nearly 6 years later, the first public beta was released on February 26, 2014. It has been available to the public for about a year now, but it has already been downloaded over million times. The editor’s user community is very active: has now published over 2090 Atom extensions and 660 themes. It’s great to see a new major player in the text editors landscape, especially a web based one.

To get idea of the editor watch video GITHUB ATOM – Why will be your favorite Text Editor!

Features of Atom text/source code Editor:

  1. Cross Platform support (Linux/OS X/Windows)
  2. Polished edges
  3. Modern and approachable editor that can be customized to core.
  4. Built in Package Manager – Search and install from within. You may develop your own package.
  5. Smart Approach – Ensures you write code with speed, flexibility and auto-completion.
  6. Embedded File System Browser – Browse and open file/project/group of projects with ease in one window.
  7. Split Panel – Multi-panel feature to compare and edit code from single window. No more switching between windows.
  8. Find and replace text in one file or all your projects.
  9. There are some 2,137 Free and open-source Packages, that you can use.
  10. As of Now it supports some 685 themes to pick from.
  11. Plug-ins supported
  12. Can be used as IDE (Integrated Development Environment)

Because version number 1.0 is meant to indicate that the project’s core is now considered stable, there is time to take a look at it.

Atom has a ton of potential. The power of using WebKit to render a UI opens a ton of door. The most amazing thing about Atom is that it’s an all web based desktop app built on top of Chromium, Google’s open-source web browser. Other than Chromium, Atom is built with C++, Node.js, CoffeeScript and of course HTML, JS and LESS.  GitHub’s Atom is “hackable” contender for traditional editors (like Emacs, Vim, Notepad++, Sublime Text etc..).

The first thing you notice when visiting is the tagline: “A hackable text editor for the 21st century”. Atom comes with over 50 packages pre-installed around its core, everything is hackable and interchangeable. Since it’s web based, creating packages (written in CoffeScript) gives you more control over the editors’ components. Atom is a web hybrid based on atom-shell, which is integrated with chromium and node.js. This gives Atom popular set of tools like JavaScript/CoffeScript, HTML, CSS/Less or chromium developer toolbar which you can use for customization of Atom. There is also a related project called Electron to build cross platform desktop apps with web technologies used in Atom editor.

Atom takes the web native, which means every single tab, window or frame is rendered locally from HTML. But how does that affect performance? Well, pretty badly. The start-up time is somewhat slow. If you have a modern fast PC then then it works pretty acceptably for normal editing tasks. If you compare the performance to native applications, startup is slower, search and replace is slower, rendering is slower. This might be a problem if  you work on large projects. If you just edit small files and keep editor open (instead of all time opening and closing it), those were not big issues.


Related links:


My Week With GitHub’s Atom Editor

GITHUB ATOM – Why will be your favorite Text Editor!

Atom – A Hackable Text and Source Code Editor for Linux

Atom Editor or Sublime Text – which one to pick?

Sublime VS. Atom: Can GitHub Take the Lead?

Atom Editor Tips and Tricks

Back up your work with Atom Editor

Create file with template in Atom

Electron – Build cross platform desktop apps with web technologies


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Antonio Scandurra / The GitHub Blog:
    GitHub introduces Teletype for Atom in beta, a feature for letting developers collaborate on code in real time in its Atom text editor

    Introducing Teletype for Atom: Code collaboratively in real time

    Writing code with other developers can be a great way to onboard teammates, get to know how your peers think, and learn new skills. Unfortunately, writing code together can be difficult to coordinate.

    Now social coding is easier than ever with Teletype for Atom—a new way to dive right into code with remote collaborators. Work together in real time with your own configurations in your own programming environment on any file you can open in Atom.

    Today we’re releasing the Teletype package in beta, but there’s so much more to come. Visit to start coding together in Atom today.


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