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Being totally honest, I have very little experience when it comes to designing desktop apps. Most of my experience in UI development has been in either Swing (ew) or Qt/C++ (slightly less ew, but still ew).

I kind of hate the idea of Electron, and this is for a variety of reasons:

* I think Javascript is a terrible language. * I think HTML/CSS is a terrible language. * I think the web is too bloated as it is, and extending that paradigm to the desktop only encourages more lazy, bloated development.

That being said, I get the appeal Electron has for a lot of people. If you already know web development, then writing a desktop app becomes a no brainer. If you're already a destkop UI guy, you can learn Electron and be a web front end guy too. All good things.

But the idea of using a fucking gigantic framework (I mean think about it, just Electron by itself is all of Chromium basically, or at least the big complicated exciting bits) is a massive code smell to me. It's like using an ORM or a heavyweight web framework: whenever you're leaning on that much code just for your baseline of functionality, you're making a lot of assumptions that should, as a developer, at least give you pause. One of the things I love about Swing is that I can spin up a basic prototype in a couple hours with just a couple hundred lines of <insert non-java JVM language here>. And besides the built-in language UI framework, I own every piece of that code and can tell you what it all does. I feel like web development (an by extension, Electron) doesn't have any of those desirable attributes.

Web development often involves hundreds of lines of boilerplate, the import of a several-thousand line Javascript API, a heavy CSS framework like bootstrap (for prototyping, at least), and the assumption that the magic will all just work. I know that fundamentally there isn't that much difference between writing an app in Swing versus Electron if we're talking about complexity, nor is there that much difference in performance for simple cases. But it just feels better for me if all I'm doing is a few API calls (even if the underlying code is similarly complex).

Now, there is one exception to all of this: one of the apps someone on my team supports at work is our monitoring dashboard/customer service portal. Because of some bizzar-o rule from up top, we aren't allowed installing anything except for absolutely essential apps on the support machines. Electron proved to be a lifesaver here because we could wrap our web-based portals in "desktop-y" apps and get rid of the web browser entirely. For cases like that (or like a friend of mine, who is currently working on medical instrument displays and uses JS/Electron in a couple of experimental projects because it's easier than Qt and the machines run Linux or Windows 7 anyway) where really what you need is a website, wrapped in a clean sandboxed container, I can kind of understand its niche.




> we could wrap our web-based portals in "desktop-y" apps and get rid of the web browser entirely

This is by far the most powerful 'feature' of Electron, to take a largely already written webapp and insta-package it into a cross-platform desktop application.


I totally agree! Hence why I gave it special exception.




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