There are rumors that building desktop applications is already irrelevant. But it’s not like that. Electron js. is a great approach to desktop software development that gained popularity among software engineers. Why? This is what I am going to discuss. You will know what hides behind this web technology and why to apply it backed with demanded desktop applications as an example.

Why Opt  For Electron.js?

Using Electron, there are no specific skills or SDK are required. The best thing about this technology is that every junior developer can try it and become successful. It already employs domain logic, design, and overall web app architecture. As a result, it contributes to reducing multi-platform app development prices. 

Moreover, this framework is powered by a Chromium engine allowing for implementing the most fantastic chrome’s functions. In addition, the engine is able to reload itself, which means you don’t need to restart the software every time you modify the code. It results in instant reloading and optimizing the overall experience. Also, all the errors and memory losses are detected by built-in chrome tools themselves. Hence, you won’t need to involve a third-party debugger.

JavaScript programmers should know all the specifics of Electron.js, how it operates, and what technology to use for implementing third-parties APIs. Thus, if you’re planning to hire Javascript developers, ensure they’re proficient in HTML5, CSS3, AngularJS, ReactJS. And they’re experienced in SQL, MongoDB, and GraphQL (or REST).

What Electron.js Stands For?

Electron stands for a web framework that lets programmers develop cross-platform applications with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. It does it by submitting rich JS APIs that manage the particulars of speaking to multiple operating platforms. How does this framework work? Electron-based applications operate as web apps, with the only difference being that they can interpret and footage information in the file of the data processing system. Electron has been added to programmers’ toolbox due to its ability to increase development speed. The Electron bridged the gap between a need for modern desktop applications and an accessible tool for it. This web technology brought grace to desktop software development, moving it to a different level.

Strong Points of Electron.js

Now, let’s see why Electron-based applications are a worthy alternative to mobile native ones.

Security

For instance, if a regular app needs to be transformed into a cross-platform one utilizing Electron, all the information is kept in the system at the local level. Hence, data security is guaranteed. On the other hand, if the user wants to keep information in the cloud, a programmer must ensure that this cloud has a strong security level.

Accessibility 

JavaScript/Plugin offers software engineers free management and gives the opportunity to use hardware-level APIs. The framework provides flexibility in terms of features, enabling developers to choose the required functions for their desktop projects. Moreover, migration to discussed technology is smooth.

High Performance

In some cases, Electron-based cross-platform apps demonstrate high performance compared to native ones. It depends on two factors:

  • Number of components used by the desktop
  • Whether the desktop loads the only elements required

ElectronJS is capable of integrating one code to all platforms, which significantly speeds up the development process.

Simplified Management

Clients won’t encounter challenges conveying project requirements to the development team because cross-platform projects can be packaged for all platforms. Besides, no multiple tests are required to ensure that each app contains identical features. Since the whole work is done in a separate code base, QA engineers can fix the issue within, wherever it appears. Therefore, the development time goes down.

Reusability

Since Electron is backed by one code base, software engineers can use this advantage to make both web apps and desktop apps. In addition, the base code can be reused by itself since developers use single code for a single app but distribute it to all platforms. 

Multiple APIs offered

When it comes to software development, one of the first questions that might be hovering in your head is what features need to be implemented to succeed. From this perspective, ElectronJS is what you’re looking for. It offers a wide variety of APIs that you can use to enrich your product, thus, reduce the development time. For example, Squirrel supports many tools and libraries that assist in developing installers and integrating auto-updates functionality.

Reduced on costs

Turning to cross-platform desktop application development, you cut down the cost of development. And if you decide to invest in additional digital projects, programmers will fulfill the task faster.

However, despite all the benefits Electron brings both for users and the development team, it has some drawbacks that cannot be neglected.

Large size

Chromium browser (codebase for web browser) is large software including many code lines. As a result, your app will convert into one large block that takes a tidbit of your hard drive. However,  modern PCs submit two terabytes of operating storage, so this issue can easily be solved.

Resources grabbing 

Besides operative memory, Electron-based products occupy system reserves and utilize plenty of laptops’ battery energy. The reason is that such applications are optimized for different platforms, thus, energy inefficient. In contrast, native applications are made for a particular platform, so their reserves are streamlined effectively.

Specific requirements

Here I imply individual clients’ requirements. Best-case scenario, all cross-platform apps should operate identically on all OS. However, if clients want to add unique features for each platform, it will lead to some difficulties concerning product development. Firstly, it will take some time to realize those features. Secondly, increased time leads to additional expenses. Take any Electron-based app like Slack or WhatsUp. It looks the same on any operating system. So admit the identity of your application or go native.

Well-Known Electron-based Desktop Applications

Let’s consider five successful desktop application examples.

WordPress Desktop App

WordPress is a web publishing software that allows business owners to edit, produce, and handle website content without coding knowledge. Commonly, WordPress is launched through browsers. But the company decided to release a desktop platform with cross-platform support to bring a smooth user experience enabling them to concentrate on the filling of their website without getting distracted from browser tabs — or keep their website set aside but available.

Electron js. along with React framework contributed to fast load and an exciting user experience.

Ghost Electron App

Ghost is a content marketing tool that allows creating, managing, and running various web publications (blogs, books, posts, etc.). Ghost desktop app enables authors to handle different online materials simultaneously and concentrate on their workflow. It’s pretty challenging to make shortcuts in the browser — the platform gets things easier. 

Pexels Desktop App

Pexels are the gold mine for creative people that contain a great variety of free images and photos. Thanks to ElectronJS, users don’t need to download the pictures and just need to copy them in their clipboard with one click. Then, they can attach photos to any application and employ them as stock photos for their blogs or social media posts.

Visual Studio Code

This is a customized cross-platform tool that is used for code editing. Electron framework resulted in high speed and slight memory utilization. In addition, the platform comes with built-in support for most demanded programming languages (C++, JavaScript, Python, etc.) and provides a rich ecosystem of augmentations.

It offers great features called IntelliSense that mark errors in code and submit a guide on fixing those mistakes. Moreover, the programmers can tailor functionality, keyboard shortcuts, or themes based on their needs and expertise.

Discord

Discord stands for chatting platform for game-lovers. Electron made it accessible to all major platforms. The app lets users create new channels or join the already made ones. Channels are basically games. Users can find many other gamers chatting via messages or audio files in each channel, sharing images or videos. However, after a user joins the group, they can’t send messages straight away. Instead, they need to wait at least ten minutes until the system tests their patience level and verifies their accounts.

Summing Up

If you decide to deploy a cross-platform application, ElectronJS is the right choice. Experienced specialists will deliver an application in a few days due to its integration capabilities with all JavaScript libraries. In addition, Electron stands for web technology so that applications designed with this tool can be easily turned into web ones if required.

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