GitHub announced today that it is discontinuing Atom, the software development text editor the company introduced in 2011. In a blog post, GitHub said it will archive the Atom repository and any other repositories that remain in the Atom organization on December 15, 2022. †
Atom was the foundation for the Electron framework, which paved the way for thousands of apps, including Microsoft Visual Studio Code, Slack, GitHub’s own GitHub Desktop. But GitHub claims that Atom community involvement has declined as new tools have emerged over the years. Atom itself has seen no significant feature development in recent months other than maintenance and security updates.
“When we introduced Atom in 2011, we wanted to give developers a text editor that was highly customizable yet easy to use—one that allowed more people to build software,” GitHub wrote in a blog post published this morning. †[R]reliability, security and performance are at the heart of GitHub, and to best serve the developer community, we archive Atom to prioritize technologies that enable the future of software development.”
GitHub says it will refocus its efforts on Microsoft Visual Studio Code (VS Code) and GitHub Codespaces, the cloud-powered development environment, in the future. “We recognize that Atom is still being used by the community and want to recognize that migrating to an alternative solution will take time and energy,” the company continued.
Strangely enough, VS Code was launched in 2015 as a kind of response to Atom. Microsoft’s 2018 acquisition of GitHub brought Atom and VS Code under one roof, cannibalizing the latter. But VS Code’s popularity continued to grow. According to Stack Overflow’s 2021 developer survey, only 13% of developers use Atom as their primary environment; VS code is used by 71%.
It’s not necessarily the end for Atom. Once archived, the code is available for developers to inspect and build upon. And one of the project’s key contributors, Max Brunsfeld, is leading an effort to launch a spiritual successor called Zed, which will launch in private alpha this week.