Atom Editor Adds Git and GitHub Integration

GitHub open sourced its JavaScript-powered Atom editor in 2014 with extensibility designed to be its single-most important feature. Over the past three years, a thriving ecosystem of more than 6,000 packages to extend the editor has grown out of Atom’s open source community. GitHub estimates Atom now has 2.1 million active users.

This week Atom added a major missing piece for developers who rely on GitHub as an indispensable part of their workflows. A new core package adds Git and GitHub integration to the editor with a dock item and status bar widgets. The first iteration’s UI gives Atom users the ability to stage changes, create commits, create and switch branches, and resolve merge conflicts. Users can also see pull requests associated with the current branch in the sidebar, as well as a detailed view of issues or pull requests.

The Atom editor is gaining popularity with WordPress developers. Its package directory lists more than a dozen packages for WordPress development, including autocomplete for WordPress actions and filters and code snippets for plugin and theme developers.

GitHub also announced the launch of its new open source GitHub client. GitHub Desktop Beta has been redesigned in Electron to provide a simpler user experience for developers who are new to Git. Building the application on Electron also enables the product’s development team to move its existing desktop apps to a shared codebase, as outlined on the GitHub Engineering blog:

From the start, GitHub Desktop for macOS and Windows were two distinct products, each with their own team. We worked in two separate tech stacks using two different skill sets. To maintain parity across the codebases, we had to implement and design the same features twice. If we ever wanted to add Linux support, we’d have to do it all a third time. All this meant we had twice the work, twice the bugs, and far less time to build new features. As it turns out, building native apps for multiple platforms doesn’t scale.

Rewriting the desktop client on Electron allows GitHub to provide a unified cross-platform experience while reducing development time for the product. The beta app is open source and is available for download for users who want the newest desktop features before they are officially released.

3 Comments


  1. Finally this was long overdue.

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  2. This is a great improvement and I’m slowly moving my projects from Adobe Brackets to Atom, one by one.

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  3. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Atom. I was excited when I first found out about it. But I’ve continued to use PHPStorm. I think that this post explains very well how I feel about it: From Atom to PHPStorm. I still have hope that one day Atom will provide the same intelligent features as PHPStorm does, but until then I am hooked and will never be able to make the switch. The git integration is a great sign though, and one area where PHPStorm is currently a bit lacking—but it will hopefully get some improvement soon in regard to partial commits.

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