Atom is a text editor that has been around since 2011, and for a while, it was one of the most popular editors for programmers and anyone else who needed powerful plain text editing. Sadly, it will officially be discontinued later this year.
GitHub, the company (now owned by Microsoft) behind Atom, announced the “sunsetting” of Atom today. “Atom has not had significant feature development for the past several years,” the company said, “though we’ve conducted maintenance and security updates during this period to ensure we’re being good stewards of the project and product. As new cloud-based tools have emerged and evolved over the years, Atom community involvement has declined significantly.”
Atom is a cross-platform text editor, designed to be versatile enough to be used for everything from simple text to entire software development projects. Stack Overflow’s yearly surveys reported in 2016 that Atom was used by 12.5% of software developers, based on responses from over 46,000 people. The following year, Atom was used by 20% of web developers, 20.7% of system administrators, and 15.9% of data scientists. That’s around the time Visual Studio Code started to rise in popularity, which is more or less the official successor to Atom — it’s developed by Microsoft, GitHub’s owner, and has many integrated GitHub features.
Atom has also earned a spot in computing history as the first major application to use the Electron framework, which is now one of the most popular ways to develop cross-platform desktop apps. Slack, Discord, Skype, Facebook Messenger, and countless other desktop apps are built with Electron.
Atom will be discontinued on December 15, 2022. It will likely remain available for download after that point, but no new versions will be released. However, Atom is open-source software, so there’s a chance someone might pick up the project and continue development. Sublime Text might be a possible replacement for some people, as well as Visual Studio Code or Notepad++.
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