Atom Editor Open Sourced By GitHub



The Atom editor is GitHub’s answer to the problem you didn’t know you had.. you needed a new IDE remember? This is an IDE written in JavaScript by GitHub to make writing your applications, especially those hosted with GitHub a lot more fun to write. The IDE Was released ten weeks ago as a Beta and I had the opportunity to try it out. The IDE is only available for Mac but will eventually be available for Windows and Linux.

The editor is nice, dark, and fast. It is similar to using Sublime Text which was my editor of choice. I figure you will either love it or hate it.

Key Features

Taking the web native

Atom is a desktop application based on web technologies. Like other desktop apps, it has its own icon in the dock, native menus and dialogs, and full access to the file system.

Open the dev tools, however, and Atom’s web-based core shines through. Whether you’re tweaking the look of Atom’s interface with CSS or adding major features with HTML and JavaScript, it’s never been easier to take control of your editor.


Node.js integration

Node.js support makes it trivial to access the file system, spawn subprocesses, and even start servers directly from within your editor. Need a library? Choose from over 50 thousand in Node’s package repository. Need to call into C or C++? That’s possible, too.

Seamless integration allows you to freely mix usage of Node and browser APIs. Manipulate the file system and write to the DOM, all from a single JavaScript function.

Modular design

Atom is composed of over 50 open-source packages that integrate around a minimal core. Our goal is a deeply extensible system that blurs the distinction between “user” and “developer”.

Don’t like some part of Atom? Replace it with your own package, then upload it to the central repository on so everyone else can use it too.



Full-featured, right out of the box

No one wants to waste time configuring their editor before they can start using it. Atom comes loaded with the features you’ve come to expect from a modern text editor. Here are a few of them:

  • File system browser
  • Fuzzy finder for quickly opening files
  • Fast project-wide search and replace
  • Multiple cursors and selections
  • Multiple panes
  • Snippets
  • Code folding
  • A clean preferences UI
  • Import TextMate grammars and themes


Open Source

The more exciting news is that today the editor was open sourced. It was a coin toss to see if the editor was going to be open source or commercial software. The fact that it is open source makes total sense when you take into consideration it was developed by GitHub.

We are open sourcing all of Atom under the MIT license. You can read more about these components on the Atom blog. Our dedicated team within GitHub will continue to develop Atom, but we welcome the creativity, support, and enthusiasm of the open source community to help us make it even better. After ten weeks in public beta, the community has already published 800 packages that extend its capabilities. We look forward to many more to come.

Atom is currently pre-1.0 with a number of areas we would like to improve in the next few months. Our focus will be on improving performance, releasing Atom on Linux and Windows, and stabilizing the APIs before we hit version 1.0.

Download Atom now, and get hacking on it today by creating a package or forking the Atom repository. To stay up to date on all things Atom, follow @AtomEditor.

I think the fact that this editor has been open sourced, it is written in popular languages and easy to write extensions for will prove to be popular for Atom. It is likely that it will give Sublime a run for it’s money but for now I still prefer it. You can give this editor a try for yourself, report back with what you think.