One of the questions beginner developers ask is what the differences between a Text Editor and an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) are.
Of course, with time (given some hands-on experience), their question is answered as one either gets a text editor or an IDE. GitHub, in collaboration with Facebook, has decided to blur that line by bringing a set of optional packages that provide IDE-like functionality to Atom as they announced Atom-IDE.
Atom-IDE is, therefore, Atom Text Editor with integrated IDE capabilities like program diagnostics, document formatting, and context-aware auto-completion, which are enabled by installing a set of optional packages.
Features in Atom-IDE
- FOSS: Free to use and download with source code available on GitHub.
- All the features in Atom Text Editor.
- Reference highlighting.
- Code overview.
- GoTo definition.
- Language-specific packages: ide-typescript package, ide-flowtype, ide-C#, ide-Java, and ide-PHP.
Mind you, all the IDE packages that can be added to Atom Text Editor offer functionalities that are dependent on their underlying language server and are activated only when you open files that they support. As is noted in the release post for Atom-IDE,
Some packages take a few seconds to start-up and others like ide-java and ide-php will take a short while on first open to download the language server itself.
Atom Text Editor itself is yet to champion other text editors like Brackets and Sublime Text as a better text editor ( at least in my opinion) and so I don’t see ATOM-IDE taking over the IDE panorama anytime soon – especially when compared to Jetbrain’s host of language-specific IDEs and those from other companies like Eclipse and Microsoft (Visual Studio).
That notwithstanding, it is good to see that Facebook and GitHub (among other bodies of brilliant minds) are working together to make Atom more robust and efficient.
Install Atom-IDE in Linux
You guessed it – you will need to have Atom Text Editor installed already.
- Launch Atom and head to its Install Packages dialog from Settings View: Install Packages and Themes
- Search for and install the atom-ide-ui package to get the IDE UI
- Install your desired IDE language support
That’s all! Your Atom text editor has now been super charged to IDE status.
Have you given Atom-IDE a test drive yet? What is your take on the new project and how do you think it will affect the global community of IDE users? Share your thoughts with us in the section below.