On December 15, 2022, GitHub is going to officially archive the Atom Text Editor project. This doesn’t come as a surprise to many of us because when Microsoft purchased GitHub for $7.5 billion in 2018, we knew the writing was on the wall.
GitHub created the Atom text editor back in 2014, released it in 2015, and Microsoft has VS Code. So, when Microsoft acquired GitHub, it didn’t make sense for them to have two different text editors to be working on.
Developers knew back then that the time was coming when Atom would no longer exist. But the question was when? When would that happen?
Recently GitHub released a blog post stating that they’re going to be sunsetting the Atom text editor on December 15th of 2022.
The reason they gave was because they want to focus their attention on other developer tools that are going to be housed in the cloud.
Of course a lot of time and attention has been spent on VS Code. There’s VS Code for the web and Codespaces. There’s a lot of projects that they’re working on. And if you notice, there’s been very little development happening with Atom itself. GitHub mentioned that in their article. They said that there hasn’t been any major features added to Atom within the past few years.
How many people does this impact? How many developers still use the Atom text editor? If you take a look at the 2021 developer survey conducted by StackOverflow, you’re going to see that roughly about 13% of the 80,000 respondents said they still use the Atom text editor. Now, it doesn’t seem like a lot. That’s just about 10,000 developers, but that’s from that survey. If you then take a look at how many developers there are in the world, how many millions of developers in the world, and then you take 13% of that number. Now we’re talking about a very large portion of the developer community, millions of people who will no longer be able to use their favorite text editor.
A lot of people might say, well, it’s not that big of a deal. There’s a lot of different text editors that you can use. I mean, seriously, the list goes on and on about how many text editors and IDE’s are out there. But as a developer, as a programmer, as a coder, we all know that the choices we make with the tools we use, they can be very personal.
Programmers can get very attached to the tools that we use.
And one that gets a lot of debate, are you a spaces or tabs type of programmer?
When it comes to the text editor we use, think about it, we spend a lot of time learning the different features and functionality of the text editor. How can we extend them? How can we customize and make them ours? We spend a lot of time learning the keyboard shortcuts of these editor so we can be a more efficient programmer.
So yeah, when one of our favorite tools gets taken off the market, the pain can be real.
One good thing is that with some editors and IDE’s, you can import your key bindings, your shortcuts, and some of your settings from one editor to the other. So that kind of takes away the pain point of changing up your workflow by learning a new editor.
This is why I follow a personal philosophy when it comes to the programming tools I use. I like to hedge my bets. I like to learn a couple of different tools. That’s why I code on Windows, MacOS and Linux. That’s why I like learning how to use different developer tools from web browsers. And that’s why when it comes to the text editor that I use, yes, I use Atom, but I also use VS Code.
If you take a look at some of my tutorials, you’ll notice that the majority of them, I demonstrate how to code with VS Code and that’s because VS Code is also free and easy to use. It’s also used by the vast majority of coders, according to the developer survey from StackOverflow.
Now the interesting thing is that Atom came out first. Atom was the first project that used what’s called the Electron Framework, which is what you use when you want to make a cross platform compatible computer application or computer software. Atom was the first and then came a bunch of other different projects, and VS Code is one of them.
So, what comes next? Since Atom is being discontinued, since it’s been abandoned by GitHub, is there going to be another alternative? As I mentioned, there’s a bunch of alternatives out there, but there’s going to be a new kid on the block and it’s called Zed. Zed is from the original coders and programmers of the Atom text editor. These programmers are no longer with GitHub, but they’re the ones that worked on the Atom project while there. So now they’re going to take everything they learned when creating the Atom editor, and they’re going to be incorporating it into a new text editor that’s going to be lightning fast, open source, and I’m assuming, it’s going to be very similar in terms of usability to the Atom text editor.
Sound off, let me know what you think about this change coming soon in the developer community where we are literally losing one of the tools that a lot of us use. Does it impact you? Does it not impact you? Did you even know it was happening? What are your thoughts and opinions? Leave them down in the comments section below.
As always, thanks for reading and happy coding.