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. Unfortunately, it will be officially discontinued at the end of this year.
GitHub, the company (now owned by Microsoft) behind Atom, today announced the “sunset” of Atom. “Atom has not had significant feature development over the past few years,” the company said, “although we have made maintenance and security updates during this period to ensure we are being good stewards of the project and product. As new cloud-based tools emerged and evolved over the years, the involvement of the Atom community dwindled significantly.”
Atom is a cross-platform text editor, designed to be versatile enough to be used for everything from simple text to full-fledged software development projects. Stack Overflow’s annual 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. It was around the time that Visual Studio Code started to gain popularity, which is more or less the official successor to Atom: it’s developed by Microsoft, the owner of GitHub, and has many built-in GitHub features.
Atom has also earned a place 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 applications. Slack, Discord, Skype, Facebook Messenger, and many other desktop apps are built with Electron.
Atom will be discontinued on December 15, 2022. It will likely remain available for download after that time, but no new versions will be released. However, Atom is open source software, so there is a chance that someone will 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++.