Last year, Microsoft announced its Visual Studio Online “Monaco”, a coding environment in the cloud. It is not the replacement for desktop IDE, instead it complements the desktop IDE and it is integrated with Visual Studio Online. Microsoft is released a preview of “Monaco” that allowed Azure Websites developers to edit their sites directly from the web, from any modern browser, on any device. Today, GitHub launched their public beta of Atom, a new text editor for web developers which works in a browser. Also, they have open-sourced over 80 of the libraries and packages used in the editor. One key difference between Microsoft’s offering and Atom is that Monaco runs on all modern browsers while Atom can only run on specialized version of Chromium alone.
Web browsers are great for browsing web pages, but writing code is a specialized activity that warrants dedicated tools. More importantly, the browser severely restricts access to the local system for security reasons, and for us, a text editor that couldn’t write files or run local subprocesses was a non-starter.
For this reason, we didn’t build Atom as a traditional web application. Instead, Atom is a specialized variant of Chromium designed to be a text editor rather than a web browser. Every Atom window is essentially a locally-rendered web page.