Pulsar logo and name, with text that reads, a new text editor.

Pulsar Project: A New Text Editor

  • Adam Douglas

Just over 4 months has past since I talked about the Atom Text Editor Project Ending. Since then the Atom project has now been archived, and new hope has been started with a fork of Atom called Pulsar. As I predicated I knew this would happen, and I wouldn’t surprise me if there will be a few more. When the community loves the software they use, it’s open source, and a demand for a new text editor builds people will come together to make it happen. Free open source software is the beauty of what allows for the freedom of choice to continue building off of what was previously existing.

Pulsar

Since the Pulsar project is quite new, they do not have a stable release of “the community-led hyper-hackable text editor” as they describe it. Every commit to the master branch of the Pulsar project is treated as beta according to “Maurício Szabo”, one of the maintainers. What we can see from the official website is hard work being done to communicate the project intentions. The text editor will eventually be released for the following operating systems, Linux (x86_64), ARM 64 (e.g. Raspberry Pi, Pinebook, etc.), macOS, and Windows. This related to being able to get the application via, Debian/Ubuntu package (deb), Fedora/RHEL package (rpm), Appimage, macOS (Intel/Apple M1/M2), Windows (setup/portable), and as an archive (zip, tar.gz). Seems to cover just about every major system, which is wonderful to see. What surprised me the most thus far is seeing manual instructions to build the binaries for various operating systems. Typically, in my experience this is found on the project Git website.

Features

Though the list of features shown is not uncommon in a text editor like this, I still thought it would be nice to see an overview of what has been posted thus far.

Item Description
Cross-platform Editing Pulsar works across operating systems. Use it on OS X, Windows, or Linux.
Built-in package manager Search and install new packages or create your own right from Pulsar.
Smart Autocompletion Pulsar helps you write code faster with a smart and flexible autocomplete.
File system browser Easily browse and open a single file, a whole project, or multiple projects in one window.
Multiple panes Split your Pulsar interface into multiple panes to compare and edit code across files.
Find and replace Find, preview, and replace text as you type in a file or across all your projects.

Community

I’ve not gone in to the areas of community to see what activity is going on, but I’m happy to see a variety of options are already available. It’s wonderful to see that the project has chosen to be on Mastodon, which I will happily follow.

Support

For those interested in supporting Pulsar financially with a donation then feel free to check out their Open Collective page.

Closing Thoughts

At this stage it all sounds promising, and nice to see another potential option available for text editors. I do wonder though if the base engine Electron will be continued to be used or not. In my own personally experience I found it to be slow, and bloated. However, for all I know this could be just how it has been implemented into software I’ve used. Ultimately we will all have to wait, and see what becomes of this new community-led effort.

This is post 55 of 100, and is round 2 of the 100 Days To Offload challenge.

    • correct grammar
    • add clarity per Maurício Szabo's feedback
    • change 100DaysToOffload message