Visual Studio Code vs. Atom: How they stack up

The open-source, ultra-configurable code editors from Microsoft and GitHub have a lot in common. Here are the big differences you need to know

If you’re a fan of Microsoft Visual Studio Code—and it seems more people are every day—it’s because the popular code editor offers a heap of appealing features. It’s endlessly customizable, highly consistent across platforms, and progressing at a rapid clip with monthly updates.

But Visual Studio Code is hardly the only popular code editor out there. In fact, the market is filled with highly customizable editing apps, not least of which is “hackable” Atom, a tool developed by GitHub that commands a faithful following of users. Both Visual Studio Code and Atom are built with similar components, mainly the Electron system for building desktop applications with web technologies.

Trying to decide between Visual Studio Code and Atom? Here are some of the key differences.

Visual Studio Code vs. Atom: Origins and development

Visual Studio Code and Atom have much in common. Both were built using GitHub’s Electron framework for writing desktop apps using JavaScript and HTML and deploying them with the Node.js runtime. Atom began development at GitHub, debuting in 2014, while Visual Studio Code originated at Microsoft, appearing in 2015. And then Microsoft purchased GitHub in 2018.

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