Electron, bringing back desktop apps

Electron, bringing back desktop apps

Lots of Pokemon Go! rookies will tell you that Electron is the Electric-type evolution for their favourite Eevee, (it’s Jolteon fyi.) and then there will be the Science nerds who will tell you that it’s a negatively charged subatomic particle that surrounds the nucleus of an atom. Until a few years ago, Developers had no real contribution to this discussion but Github changed that when it launched Electron, an open source framework that uses HTML, CSS and JS that enables you to build cross platform desktop apps.

In the yesteryears, one would have to master the corresponding frameworks (Objective-C, Xcode, Java, etc..) with each platform (Windows, Ubuntu, macOS), and not to forget bug fixing, troubleshooting, and updates for each operating system needed to be managed individually.

For a web developer, libraries like React, Vue.js, give us all the flexibility within the constraints of the web browser. Over the years, cross-platform development of apps (web and otherwise) have been surging and so is offline-web development (but that is probably for a future post). These have pushed the boundaries of what one could do with the good ol’ HTML and JavaScript libraries.

On this path of discovery, I delved deeper into what Electron brings to the table and it became clear that this framework, over the last year, holds the power to propel web development far and wide.

By having a quick look at some of their tutorials, I was able take a few projects that we, at Axioned, have been working on and turning them into desktop applications. I was impressed with the results and relative ease with which it could be achieved.

We were able to convert existing web projects into desktop apps, running natively on Windows, Linux and macOS

The possibilities are endless with what you could do with this.

  • Turn your website/SASS into desktop application (yes!)
  • Make offline webapp (which work just like regular desktop apps, using Service Workers, etc.)
  • Hybrid (desktop + Android + iOS mobile) apps by using frameworks like Ionic, React Native, etc

Of course, we’ve not even scratched the surface of Electron. This is merely the start, and we want to explore further into this. With so many popular desktop apps like AtomSlack, Visual Studio Code being powered by Electron, this — without any doubt — is ready for the future!

Now these are some interesting propositions for us as we have been working on Mindful — your team’s AI ‘Resource Manager’ bot — often referred to as Mo Mindful who answers all your questions about who is working on which project, when would they be available for your next big project and much more.

Watch this space as we continue exploring and documenting our experiments with Electron.

Special thanks to Sonali Sharma and Anurag Banerjee.