Is atom dead, again?

Personally, I think the acquisition of Github by Microsoft did not hurt Atom as much as Facebook ditching nuclide and atom-ide-ui (Oh well, maybe Facebook ditching nuclide and atom-ide-ui is an indirect consequence of Github’s acquisition by Microsoft?) Anyway the discontinuation of the nuclide project marks the decline of Atom usage for me at least. With nuclide and the atom-ide-ui been discontinued (and a plethora of atom-ide-ui related packages left unmaintained), Atom is no longer a viable light-weight IDE for me, but more of a heavy-weight text editor which only has very limited use for me now.

Considering how fast modern languages iterate with new versions and feature updates, the lack of updates of related Atom packages makes Atom less and less useful for developers. A couple years ago I used Atom extensively for things like Go, Dart, React, Vue, Erlang and Solidity development, but now the popular Atom packages I used for those languages are either outdated lacking new language feature support or completely broken, that I’m forced to use VScode instead.

I actually dislike VSCode a lot when compared to Atom in the overall philosophy of how the editors are designed. For me VSCode is too opinionated and lacking extensibility in the UI, that it forces you to use keyboard for a lot of extension functionalities as the extensions cannot extend the GUI as freely as in Atom. Also I find the functionalities provided by some of the Atom’s autocomplete+ based autocomplete packages are superior to their VSCode counterparts. For example I remembered having far better productivity when developing Solidity contracts with Atom’s autocomplete features back then when Atom’s solidity related packages were still maintained and fully featured for the Solidity 0.4.x language versions.

But right now with all those packages left unmaintained and all the languages iterating new features so fast, I as a user simply have little choice but to move to VSCode despite a less user-friendly UI design and inferior productivity (for me at least).

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I agree with pretty much all of that. I’ve been forcing myself to use VSCode over the last few weeks. I’ve managed to get equivalents for most of the packages I use in Atom, but I still don’t like the visual style and UI restrictions.

The one positive thing about it is that it seems designed as an IDE first, rather than an editor with IDE features. Installing the Python extension, for example, is a breeze compared to all the separate Atom linters/debuggers/grammars etc you have to find…

For reasons other than you think, see this announcement by Facebook

TL;DR

We’re making Visual Studio Code the default development environment at Facebook and teaming with Microsoft to help enhance their remote development extensions in an effort to enable engineers to do remote development at scale.

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It’s kind of funny how people tend to think that open source is a kind of magic that maintains software awesome through time. If a project was abandoned and you want a fork or continue it you would need to find people who:

  • Know the language the project is made
  • Know the tools that are being used or have the time to learn them.
  • Understand the way the code is organized
  • Have the time to add new features
  • Want to spend their time on the project

Projects like OpenOffice and Linux Kerner are big enough to spend resources to find these people but are the exception, not the rule. In most cases, it doesn’t worth it.

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The reason is why

Why Visual Studio Code?

Visual Studio Code is a very popular development tool, with great investment and support from Microsoft and the open source community. It runs on macOS, Windows, and Linux, and has a robust and well-defined extension API that enables us to continue building the important capabilities required for the large-scale development that is done at the company. Visual Studio Code is a platform on which we can safely bet our development platform future.

Since Atom released the Github package they focused on it and in newest releases there were tones of changes in that package but not a lot for the others.

Some package authors decided not to maintain their packages because the API is hard to work on. It doesn’t get updated and they don’t add new features to allow the authors to improve and make better packages.

If they want to continue making Atom and make it great they, I think they should publish a roadmap and allow contributors to work on it, and they also should brooming all the open PR and issues because there are a lot of them open for years.

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I’ve been talking about this for ages, finally it happened.
Choosing coffeescript over JS was a bad idea.
Choosing extensiveness VS performance was a bad idea.
Choosing random plugins VS built-in functionality… you get the point.

And oh how the mighty have fallen…

Keep -1’ing me.

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I’m still using Atom but if thinks don’t change direction and Atom get updated in the near future I think I’ll give VSCodium a try. At least I’ll not let M$ spy on me.

I use Atom right now it’s not being bad

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The main reason why Atom development is fading little by little is because indeed Atom is too similar to Visual Studio Code:

  • Both have the same minimalistic Sublime-like interface with lateral collapsible configurable panels, no buttons’ bars and Settings opening in a new tab.
  • Both have good built-in git support in the form of an attachable panel.
  • Both use the same underlining multi-OS application platform: Electron.
  • Both are open source one-company-driven yet community backed projects hosted on GitHub with big emphasis on third-party extensions and themes with corresponding online marketplaces.
  • Both are now owned by the same company.

In general the philosophy and technical approaches behind these two projects are identical.

I’ve followed the same path that many people here. I used Atom for around 3 years. Until last year 2019 when I moved to VSCode. And it’s a no-return change.

However the reasons for the change weren’t technical. I see tiny differences between the two, having VSCode in my opinion a small lead on things here and there. But this is so simply because Atom development has almost halted (https://github.com/atom/atom/graphs/contributors) and instead VSCode development is on fire (https://github.com/microsoft/vscode/graphs/contributors).

The main reason I switched to VSCode was because everyone around me was using that IDE, the development of it was skyrocketing yet the development for my IDE was slowing down every day. No one wants to use an IDE that, even when it does a great job, feels like is something from the past and will soon have problems derived from this fact.

In a nutshell, there is not much point on developing two projects that are so tightly equal. I think it’s a much better approach to deprecate one of them, Atom, and devote freed resources to carry on the development of one single great product, this time, Visual Studio Code.

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Really good points. Mostly the 2 links you posted, this is crazy how the development is breaking down while VSCode is still strong.

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I feel the same way, it just feels bad to use something you know it’s slowly dying. I don’t use Atom as my main editor, I use (neo)Vim, but still I do use Atom for some things, particularly on Windows.

The plugins I use are developed by me and have no equivalent on VSCode, so I think that’s a big reason why I don’t swap. Eventually though I might have to just bite the bullet and re-write them.

I guess until I have some major problems though, I’ll continue to use Atom :slight_smile: I like that it has less built-in features than VSCode. I don’t need a terminal, I like using a separate app for that. I don’t need an integrated debugger for my particular use-case (JavaScript, Rails, etc). Atom is simpler by default, I like that.

It does feel like VSCode is more performant though, even with all the bloat, but it’s to be expected with Atom’s halt in development.

Yeah, I remember when I installed VSCode and tried to disable some stuff, first you have to scroll 5 years to find stuff (I know you can just type it in) this is crazy. When I do a clean install of Atom I just go in the settings, click here click there, DONE.

It would be nice if Atom were to survive as a community project.

I Do Not Like Corporate-Driven “Open Source”.

I work some in NetBeans and some in Atom and some in jEdit and some in Spyder.

I have contributed code to NetBeans and jEdit. I’m going to do more work in NetBeans.

If the Free Software movement returned to its roots, we would not be facing this “enclosure of the commons”.

To be fair it looks like that’s the case. While Atom is backed by GitHub, it has very little resources. So as long as it doesn’t die, it seems to be in a decent place.

Also, I started contributing on it, submitted a small PR and will see if I can contribute at least with some low-hanging-fruit patches.

Gotta be the change you want to see :slight_smile:

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Angela? I’m also taking a course that uses this editor. We might be taking the same one! And to contribute to the conversation, I think both will stay, for maximum money, maybe if a few more people left, it might actually die… Sadly…

After hanging out in Slack and GitHub for a while, while the development team is small, and not fast-paced, the development seems to be quite active. So unless an unexpected cut comes from GitHub (it doesn’t seem like that at all) I think Atom is quite healthy. It recently got updated to Electron 6!

I think Atom is quite healthy too. Just that there’s not many people here
What does “dead” even mean though?

I wonder what it was like back then.

I can’t find a way that is still maintained (since all the existing packages don’t work correctly) to debug C/C++ so I moved on to VS Code…

I honestly prefer the Atom UI by a lot, but can’t really use it if there is no working debugger integration :no_mouth: and it seems like everyone making these also moved on to other IDEs. All the plugins for this have been abandoned some time around 2017-2018.

I assume you’re using a different language where the tooling is still maintained?

No i’m on VSCode
When I was on Atom I was using Javascript, and some (css, html, python, java)

However there’s a bug with the tree-sitter parser in JavaScript. I submitted a pull request to fix it, but it’s not fixed yet so in the meantime I’ve figured out how to use VSCode after a lot of work.

I wonder if I could make an extension that makes customizing easier.

The JavaScript grammar recently has some activity, although mostly in pull requests about updates, pull requests about issues, and issues, since the last actual commit was in 2019. The people who update the grammar seems to be either gone or working on something else about atom.