Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Hackable Open-Source Text Editor Atom to Get a 50% Boost in v1.17

Atom is a text editor that's modern, approachable, yet hackable to the core—a tool you can customize to do anything but also use productively without ever touching a config file.
While Atom 1.16 proved to be a minor maintenance update that only implemented a couple of new title bar options for macOS users, Atom 1.17 promises to be the first release in a long time to give a boost to the startup time of the application, on all supported platforms, including GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows.

The startup time of any application is a very important thing when deciding to stick with an app to develop your projects, and it appears that Atom needs such improvements. In a lengthy article, Antonio Scandurra from the Atom team talks about why reducing startup time is a non-trivial task and give users an insight to the optimizations implemented so far.

"For a long time, we’ve been wanting to have more control over Atom’s startup code. In November of last year, as part of this effort, we created an in-depth issue that carefully described where time was spent when opening an Atom window," reveals GitHub's Antonio Scandurra. Overall, on a stock installation, we made loading Atom almost 50% faster."

Using V8 snapshots, improving require time
Making use of V8 snapshots, removing jQuery and custom elements, as well as using the electron-link node module in Atom laid the groundwork for reducing startup time in Atom, but the team also needed to improve the "require" time, optimize style sheet loading, make the "atom" global code twice as fast, as well as to preload bundled packages.
If you're interested in the details regarding Atom's first round of performance improvements to startup time.
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