GitHub today unveiled Teletype for Atom, a new tool that aims to make real-time social coding much easier. Atom is a free, open-source text editor that GitHub first released in 2014. With Teletype, which is currently in beta, developers anywhere in the world can collaborate without latency using Atom.
Collaborators can type at the same time and use their own configurations. As GitHub's Antonio Scandurra explained in a blog post, "Sharing is at the keystroke-level rather than at the pixel-level, so you can collaborate with your own key bindings, packages, and themes." To protect privacy, all data is encrypted and shared over peer-to-peer connections and does not go through GitHub's servers.
According to Jason Rudolph, Senior Engineer at GitHub, Teletype for Atom is a logical next step in GitHub's efforts to support social coding.
"A decade ago, GitHub revolutionized social coding by dramatically lowering the barrier to contributing to open source," he explained. "Suddenly, anyone could comment on a line of code to point out potential issues or suggest ideas for improvement, and they could do so just as easily as commenting on a blog post. Shortly thereafter, pull requests allowed anyone to also contribute code that implements those suggested improvements, all with just a few clicks of a mouse. And project maintainers could then accept those contributions with the press of a button."
But there are cases when being able to look at and talk through code collaboratively in real-time is desirable, "especially when trying to understand some unfamiliar code or choose an approach for implementing a particular idea", and that's where Teletype for Atom comes in. "It shortens the feedback loop, allowing developers to move more quickly by reducing the amount of back-and-forth needed to reach the final solution," Rudolph added.
GitHub says that voice communication and editor-agnostic collaboration are in the works for Teletype and notes that because Teletype is open source, it hopes developers will build on it and extend it to work with other text editors.
More information about Teletype for Atom is available on the Atom blog.