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Mattia Orfano
Mattia Orfano

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The end of a love story, after 11 years together. Atom :-(

It's been 11 amazing years with ups and downs, where we enjoyed each other's company and had a lot of fun facing together new experiences.

And now, it's (almost) over.

On December 15, we will say goodbye.

You know.. It's hard to leave behind a love story :-(

Especially, when it involves a trustworthy "partner" that doesn't cheat on you and is always there to make you happy whenever you need it.

On December 15, GitHub plans to turn out the lights on Atom.


I started using Atom in 2011, the year it came out.

It was released as a free and open-source, deeply customizable, yet easy-to-use code editor. And I loved it.

Atom text editor

Back then there wasn't much wiggle room to handle code written in multiple languages within the same interface.

Atom was designed by Github to accommodate the needs of every developer thanks to its built-in package manager that lets you install different language interpreters and plugins like autocompletion features and so on.

Atom package manager

Moreover, you could directly tweak the UI and features to your liking with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

It quickly gained popularity, but hasn’t had any significant feature updates, except for maintenance and security patches. This is why its popularity dropped, as you can see from the Google searches from 2011 until now:

Atom Google searches

So, here I am, flirting around with yet another code editor (hoping this time it will last forever). Before revealing its name, let me explain one thing...

Prerequisites before choosing a text editor

As you might know, I am a professional backend developer and I'm also learning Vue.js. I write production code daily and I have very little patience towards slowliness of my working tools.

So I had a list of prerequisites:

  • There must be shortcuts to language-specific syntax
  • Good integration with git flow
  • A precise linter that flags stylistic errors and suspicious constructs while typing the code
  • A near-perfect syntax highlighting with .erb, HTML, Javascript, CSS files
  • Easy navigation between files
  • Go to Definition through a simple click/key-binding
  • Should be an actively maintained code editor

What code editor did I choose?

The story went like this...

code editor

Well, Atom was developed by Github, and Github was acquired by Microsoft in 2018. By transitivity, I realized that if GitHub turns out the lights on Atom, it will focus on Microsoft's proprietary software (Visual Studio Code).

So, I did a little research.

How is Visual Studio Code adopted by the community?

By 2016, VsCode ranked 13th among the top popular development tools on Stackoverflow. It reached the #1 spot according to the 2019 Developers Survey, with 50% of 87,317 respondents using it.

2019 Developers survey

I was almost convinced.

After an internal battle between my mind and my computer (a 2021 Mac Mini) that lasted several weeks, I decided to give it a try...

And fuckity fuck.. there we go!

My computer with Vscode

Am I liking it? Yes.
Is it fast and reliable? Yes.
Does it meet all the prerequisites? Yes.

So, Visual Studio Code has become my official editor as Ruby backend developer on a Mac computer.

Our kids will be amazing :-)

Now, I'd like to give you a few suggestions.

How to set up Vscode for maximum productivity

The extensions I'm using are...

  • Material Icon Theme: shows icons near each file in the tree indicating the type of source code (html5, js, ...)
    Material Icon Theme

  • Live Server: easy to start local webserver that reloads automatically when you update the code (particularly helpful when coding frontend)
    Live Server

  • Vetur: Vue syntax highliting

  • Rails and Ruby: Ruby on Rails support for Visual Studio Code

rails support on vscode

What's your favourite IDE? Let me know in the comments.


Top comments (24)

raguay profile image
Richard Guay • Edited

Well, I’ve used VSCode, Sublime, Emacs with DoomEmacs setup, Bracket, Atom, and OniVim. I still use OniVim when I want a windowed editor, but I’m mostly using NeoVim with the Lunar configuration. The vim emulation in VSCode, Sublime, and Emacs was not to par with what I like about NeoVim. It starts up in less than 1 second and is ready to roll!

But, I really love the TextPastry extension for Sublime that I sometimes still use when I need to do that type of editing. I haven’t really found a simular workflow in NeoVim yet, but I’m still looking.

mitya profile image

Vetur => Volar

Volar replaces Vetur, our previous official VSCode extension for Vue 2. If you have Vetur currently installed, make sure to disable it in Vue 3 projects.

IDE Support

mattiaorfano profile image
Mattia Orfano

oh, thank you! I'm working with Vue3, so definitely appreciated ;)

squibb359 profile image
William Squibb

I'm not going to switch from atom. It can try to push me off with update that disables things. I won't care. I have an installation of it in an offline VM so if I have to I just copy over the installation files.

vulcanwm profile image

Really nice title

mikeyglitz profile image

I would recommend VSCodium. You get VS Code, but without all of the Microsoft tracking.

mattiaorfano profile image
Mattia Orfano


gonsie profile image
Elsa Gonsiorowski

Try Emacs! In development since the 70’s, free and open software is more reliable than trusting a company to keep making free stuff for you.

jeremyf profile image
Jeremy Friesen

I had a similar path from Atom. But instead of VS Code, I chose Emacs. Why? Because I do way more than coding, and my text writing/reading is now very much integrated.

mattiaorfano profile image
Mattia Orfano

I might be wrong, but with Emacs you need extra configurations to make ESlint and other features to work. I wanted a smooth experience

jeremyf profile image
Jeremy Friesen

Yes, you'd almost certainly need to include an ESLint package and configure accordingly. But that's an acceptable hurdle for me.

bukunmikuti profile image
Bukunmi Ransome-kuti

Great article. I started development with Atom after various online comparisons. The notable pros was its simplicity and extensibility. Somewhere along the line, I convinced myself that VSCode will be better for my productivity.
Haven't been disappointed

+1 for Vue ;)
You might want to check out Vue DevTools

mattiaorfano profile image
Mattia Orfano

thank you ;) I will check it out!

vulcanwm profile image

I used to use a lot, but then I wanted my code to be private so I tried VSCode and Pycharm.
I really liked Pycharm so I'm currently using that.

dendihandian profile image
Dendi Handian

did you use Atom keybinding extension when transitioning to VS Code?

mattiaorfano profile image
Mattia Orfano

no, I just adapted to the new configuration

ashishk1331 profile image
Ashish Khare😎

How fast you'd changed!

caleb_tn profile image
Caleb Albritton • Edited

I'm not sure this is possible as Atom wasn't released until 2014, and didn't make it out of beta until 2015.

andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

Wow, this is news to me I did not know they were shutting it down. It used to be my main code editor for a long time but now I'm a full VSCode convert. Sublime would be my second choice.

jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy 🎖️ • Edited

SublimeText all the way. VSCode is a bloated, slow rip-off of it

mattiaorfano profile image
Mattia Orfano

I have it also, it's nice and smooth... but for some reason I don't like it.
It seems too basic to my needs. I dont' know :)

jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy 🎖️

Basic? It's every bit as extendable and customisable as VSCode

Thread Thread
mattiaorfano profile image
Mattia Orfano

challenge accepted. I will try it for 30days and will publish a comparison article in the upcoming months ;)

matrodriguez_ profile image
Matias Rodriguez

We really are living in dark and sad times :(