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Atom is "a hackable text editor for the 21st century" commonly used in software development.

Atom is produced by GitHub, a company owned by Microsoft. It is open source, under the MIT license. It has a tremendous variety of community-created features, and, unlike other programming environments and text editors, it allows for simultaneous collaborative editing.

Use cases

Atom is useful whenever one needs to use a plain text editor. In other words, it has infinite applications, from writing prose to writing code to writing poetry to writing prosaic yet poetic code. As an editor available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, it boasts a an identical look and similar keyboard shortcuts across the platforms. Furthermore, being developed by GitHub, Atom has Git support built in, including integration with GitHub that can help clarify pushing, pulling, and solving merge conflicts.

Word Processor

Any editor can be used as a word processor, and Atom is no different. Combined with Markdown and Pandoc, Atom can produce scholarly articles, student essays, and presentation slideshow decks.

Integrated Development Environment

With a suite of plugins that can include a shell instance, linting, and file management, Atom can replace proprietary IDEs like Coda, XCode, or Visual Studio.

How to use it

Replacement for

  • Sublime, which is a proprietary piece of software.
  • TextMate, which is a proprietary piece of software available only for Mac.
  • Vim, which may be more complex to use for most users.
  • Emacs, which may be more complex to use for most users.