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Electron

Electron is a framework for building cross-platform desktop applications with web technology.
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Lőrik Levente levminer.com

Tauri vs Electron with a real world app

Lőrik Levente shared a real world comparrison between Tauri and Electron using a real application he’s building called Authme. The comparrison focused on all the major things you’d care about — Bundle size, startup time, performance, app backend, rendering your app, security, auto update, and developer experience.

Also, see this tweet from swyx.

Tauri vs Electron results are consistently mindblowing

App: 97% smaller
Startup: 50% faster
RAM: 33% less
Security: priceless

So, is Electron is being replaced? Lőrik says yes, but…

Tauri vs Electron with a real world app

The Changelog The Changelog #497

Build tiny multi-platform apps with Tauri and web tech

This week we’re talking with Daniel Thompson about Tauri and their journey to their recent 1.0 release. Tauri is often compared to Electron - it’s a toolkit that lets you build software for all major desktop operating systems using web technologies. It was built for the security-focused, privacy-respecting, and environmentally-conscious software engineering community. The core libraries are written in Rust and the UI layer can be written using virtually any frontend framework. We get into all the details, why Rust, how the project was formed, their resistance (thus far) to venture capital, their full commitment to the freedom virtues of open source, and all the technical bits you need to know to consider it for your next multi-platform project.

Gavin Henderson github.com

EyeCommander helps you communicate by blinking

At Ace Centre we have just launched an application that uses your webcam to detect when a user blinks. The application then triggers a switch press. This allows users who can’t access a physical switch or eye tracking to communicate using their chosen communication software.

We are really excited about the real world impact EyeCommander is already having and we would love to have more people contributing to the open source codebase

EyeCommander is an Electron app with a React frontend. It uses Mediapipe, which is a collection of pretrained ML models for landmark detection in videos, provided by Google. It is cross platform so you can get up and running on whatever platform you use.

EyeCommander helps you communicate by blinking

Electron github.com

A desktop app for JupyterLab (based on Electron)

If you already know what JupyterLab is, then I don’t have to tell you why this might be exciting/useful. If you don’t, well, here’s what JupyterLab is:

JupyterLab is the next-generation user interface for Project Jupyter offering all the familiar building blocks of the classic Jupyter Notebook (notebook, terminal, text editor, file browser, rich outputs, etc.) in a flexible and powerful user interface. JupyterLab will eventually replace the classic Jupyter Notebook.

A desktop app for JupyterLab (based on Electron)

Niels Leenheer nielsleenheer.com

Why Electron apps are fine

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.

Electron github.com

Turn any device with a web browser to a second screen for your computer

Deskreen is an electron.js based application that uses WebRTC to 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 Typescript and transformed to use node-forge instead of window.crypto.subtle.

Turn any device with a web browser to a second screen for your computer

Electron github.com

An open source YouTube app for privacy

FreeTube is an open source desktop YouTube player built with privacy in mind. Use YouTube without advertisements and prevent Google from tracking you with their cookies and JavaScript. Available for Windows, Mac & Linux thanks to Electron.

They also provide browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome so you can click links to YouTube videos in your browser and they’ll open in FreeTube.

Apple github.com

A virtual Apple Macintosh with System 8 (running in Electron)

First things first… does it actually work?!

Yes! Quite well, actually - on macOS, Windows, and Linux. Bear in mind that this is written entirely in JavaScript, so please adjust your expectations. The virtual machine is emulating a 1991 Macintosh Quadra 900 with a Motorola CPU, which Apple used before switching to IBM’s PowerPC architecture in the late 1990s.

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.

A virtual Apple Macintosh with System 8 (running in Electron)

Google github.com

Google Suite as a desktop (Electron) app

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.

Google Suite as a desktop (Electron) app

Go github.com

Muon – GPU based Electron on a diet

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.

Between this, NodeGui, and Catalina’s support for React Native, Electron is getting squeezed on all sides.

Eryk Rakowski github.com

Share one Electron instance for multiple apps 🤞

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.

James Long jlongster.com

The secret of good Electron apps

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.

Electron electronjs.org

Electron 5.0.0 has been announced

Find out what’s new and what’s next with Electron.

Much of Electron’s functionality is provided by the core components of Chromium, Node.js, and V8. Electron keeps up-to-date with these projects to provide our users with new JavaScript features, performance improvements, and security fixes. Each of these packages has a major version bump in Electron 5: Chromium 73.0.3683.119, Node.js 12.0.0, and V8 7.3.492.27.

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.

Electron github.com

Notable – The markdown-based note taking app 'that doesn't suck'

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. 😄

Notable – The markdown-based note taking app 'that doesn't suck'

Terminal eugeny.github.io

"A terminal for a more modern age"

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?

John Gruber daringfireball.net

Electron and the decline of native apps

Mac users don’t care about mac apps like they used to. Today and the future is a web platform world with JavaScript at the center morphing into this gigantic blackhole (mainly a gravity metaphor) with everything else being pulled into its orbit.

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:

This is the end of desktop applications. There’s nowhere but JavaScript.

The Changelog The Changelog #325

A good open source password manager? Inconceivable!

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.

Electron github.com

Make your touchscreen look like it's straight out of a sci-fi flick

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.

Make your touchscreen look like it's straight out of a sci-fi flick
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