GitHub yesterday unveiled what it says is a "hackable text editor for the 21st Century". Dubbed Atom, the new text editor is an open source, web technology-based desktop application, which has its own icon, native menus and dialogs, and complete access to the file system.

The company says Atom started out as an experiment, but gradually matured into a tool that it couldn't live without. Some of the important features of the modern, approachable and hackable editor include quick project-wide search and replace, multiple cursors and selections, multiple panes, snippets, code folding, and more.

The company, which has been working on Atom for over six years, said that it wanted "an editor that will be welcoming to an elementary school student on their first day learning to code, but also a tool they won't outgrow as they develop into seasoned hackers." Being an open source application, the company is encouraging developers to extend the text editor as much as possible, and make the most out of it.

With more than 4 million active users a month, GitHub is already a hugely popular online repository for developers to post, borrow and collaborate on code together. The success of Atom could lead to more and more developers using the website.

Atom is currently available for Mac users, with Linux and Windows builds arriving soon. While the service is currently in closed beta, you can request an invitation.