Mitch and Andrew from the 1Password team talk with Amal and Nick about the company’s transition to Electron and web technologies, and how the company utilized its existing web stack to shape the future of its desktop experience.
This looks great for those of us who haven’t memorized the command-line flags yet.
From Niels Leenheer:
It is not difficult to find some incredibly shitty takes on Electron, and every time it boils down to: It’s slow. Downloads are huge, and it uses a lot of memory. Electron apps are just websites. Developers that are using Electron are taking the lazy or easy approach to cross-platform development. Native apps are just better in every single way.
And somehow, these arguments often come from Apple fans when they discover one of their apps isn’t “native” or when a macOS favourite is considering moving to Electron. How dare they!
And on the surface, I agree with pretty much everything that people say about Electron. And at the same time, I don’t care at all. And neither should you.
Niels goes on to explain why you shouldn’t care. But, where’s the evidence for those shitty takes on Electron? Let’s use the recent example of 1Password.
Some have said that 1Password has “simply decided that the Mac isn’t important enough,” which we’re hoping to uncover in our upcoming dual podcast series with 1Password Founder Dave Teare on Founders Talk and Mitchell Cohen and Andrew Beyer on JS Party.
Drop some comments if you have questions/topics we should bring up.
Deskreen is an
electron.jsbased application that uses
WebRTCto make a live stream of your desktop to a web browser on any device. It is built on top of Electron React Boilerplate For better security mechanism, end-to-end encryption is implemented, which is inspired bydarkwire.io , the difference is, that it is rewritten in
Typescriptand transformed to use
First things first… does it actually work?!
Ok, cool. Does it run my favorite game?!
The short answer is “Yes”. In fact, you’ll find various games and demos preinstalled, thanks to an old MacWorld Demo CD from 1997. Namely, Oregon Trail, Duke Nukem 3D, Civilization II, Alley 19 Bowling, Damage Incorporated, and Dungeons & Dragons.
There are also various apps and trials preinstalled, including Photoshop 3, Premiere 4, Illustrator 5.5, StuffIt Expander, the Apple Web Page Construction Kit, and more.
It’ll mirror user interactions across 30+ devices and give you a single element inspector so you can make and inspect changes in one fell swoop. (Built with Electron.)
Have you ever wished you had a no-frills, word-processing desktop app dedicated to just Google Drive? Annoyed at having to click the Go to My Drive button everytime you visit https://drive.google.com? Want a Microsoft Word-esque experience for your Google Drive? Or simply looking to separate Google Drive from the other bajillion tabs that you opened for your research paper? Look no further!
I appreciate efforts like this because while I love web apps, I don’t always love running them in my web browser.
Muon is a lightweight alternative to Electron written in Golang in about ~300 LoC, using Ultralight instead of Chromium. Ultralight is a cross-platform WebKit rewrite using the GPU to target embeded desktop applications that resulted in a fast, lightweight, and low-memory HTML UI solution that blends the power of Chromium with the small footprint of Native UI.
A tool for building lighweight Electron apps using a global Electron instance. Forget about 100MB for a Hello World app in Electron!
This works by creating a custom Electron distributable with a small app launcher which checks the app’s
package.json and downloads corresponding version. Then the distributable can be used with electron-builder to build the app installers.
I’d like to see a few folks kick the tires on this and report back how it works. Looks like there’s issues on older verisons of macOS, for starters.
I spent last weekend making a GUI for rsync (and this past week tidying it up a bit) and I learned a lot about rsync, GUIs, design, power, control, and decisions around verbosity and freedom of choice versus simplicity and guidance/support, packaging, maintenance and support.
She had me at
James Long is using Electron to build Actual, a personal finance manager — and of course James is sharing the “secrets” he has learned to minimize the common issues with Electron apps.
Some of Electron’s problems (large file size, slower boot up time) are inherent in the architecture and need to be solved at a lower-level. The bigger problems (memory hungry and sluggish) can be managed in user-land, but it takes a lot of care to do so. What if I told you there’s a secret that automatically minimizes these problems?
The “secret” is to do the bulk of your work locally in a background process. The less you rely on the cloud, and the more powerful you make your background process, the more you can reap these benefits…
Dig into jlongster/electron-with-server-example to learn more.
Find out what’s new and what’s next with Electron.
12.0.0, and V8
Electron 5 also includes improvements to Electron-specific APIs. A summary of the major changes is below; for the full list of changes, check out the Electron v5.0.0 release notes.
So what’s next?
Although we are careful not to make promises about release dates, our plan is release new major versions of Electron with new versions of those components approximately quarterly.
The thing about taking notes apps is everyone likes ‘em a bit different. Here’s what the author of Notable was after:
Notes are written and rendered in GitHub-flavored Markdown, no WYSIWYG, no proprietary formats, I can run a search & replace across all notes, notes support attachments, the app isn’t bloated, the app has a pretty interface, tags are indefinitely nestable and can import Evernote notes (because that’s what I was using before).
If that resonates with you, click through. 😄
Build yourself a personal wiki for 2019 and beyond.
I put Terminus’ tagline in scare quotes because while it’s intriguing, I do not know for sure whether it delivers on that promise. In more of its own words, Terminus is:
…heavily inspired by Hyper. It is, however, designed for people who need to get things done.
Them sound like fighting words. But what does “designed for people who need to get things done” mean, exactly? From the feature list in the README, I think maybe it means that it takes Windows more seriously than Hyper and handles printing output more quickly. But that’s just a guess…
I’d love to see a roundup and comparison of this new breed of Electron-based terminals. Anybody game?
The more Mac users there are, the more Mac apps we should see. The problem is, the users who really care about good native apps — users who know HIG violations when they see them, who care about performance, who care about Mac apps being right — were mostly already on the Mac. A lot of newer Mac users either don’t know or don’t care about what makes for a good Mac app.
John Gruber also quoted SwiftOnSecurity regarding Microsoft’s switch to Chromium as Windows’s built-in rendering engine, saying:
Perry Mitchell joined the show to talk about the importance of password management and his project Buttercup — an open source password manager built around strong encryption and security standards, a beautifully simple interface, and freely available on all major platforms.
We talked through encryption, security concerns, building for multiple platforms, Electron and React Native pros and woes, and their future plans to release a hosted sync and team service to sustain and grow Buttercup into a business that’s built around its open source.
It runs the shell of your choice in a real terminal, and displays live information about your system. It was made to be used on large touchscreens but will work nicely on a regular desktop computer or perhaps a tablet PC or one of those funky 360° laptops with touchscreens.
If the colors and/or keyboard layout aren’t to your liking, you can customize it to the hilt following these directions in the wiki.
I love how people continue to experiment in browserland. Min has some cool stuff going:
Tabs in Min take up less space, giving you more room to browse the web. Pages you haven’t looked at in a while fade out, letting you see what’s important, and Focus Mode hides your other tabs to prevent you from getting distracted.
It also sports built-in ad blocking (table stakes for new browsers to compete?) and DDG integration in the search bar.
Min is built on Electron, so while it may be fast it possibly isn’t memory efficient. But what browser is, these days? It’s also worth noting that Min runs on an older version of Chromium, so it’s likely missing some security fixes. (More on that right here.)
Buttercup claims to be secure, simple, and free. That’s a powerful trio if it can deliver on its promises. It has a cross-platform desktop app (thanks in part to Electron), iOS and Android apps, and extensions for every major browser.
Sometimes you’re watching YouTube or referencing some documentation while you code and you just want that particular window to stay in view no matter what else you’re up to. This does just that (and only that).
Pennywise allows you to open anything in a small floating window that always stays on top of the other applications all the time, allowing you to multitask with ease
This only works well by accident and was mostly a joke. The code quality is accordingly.
It may be a joke, but it’s one that’s chock full of nostalgia for the once-great operating system.
Kball and Feross talk with Shelley Vohr and Jeremy Apthorp about what Electron is, why to use it, and what comes next for the platform.
Ao is an unofficial, featureful, open source, community-driven, free Microsoft To-Do app, used by people in more than 120 countries.
This looks eerily similar to Tusk… (same author)