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Don't forget the proliferation of electron so no one has to learn a new language and desktop toolsets.

Just for kicks I wrote a desktop todo list in GTK and C, not tools I had extensive knowledge of ever and nothing recently. It was a breath of fresh air how simple it was compared to doing the same in modern frameworks. A single ~30 line function to create the gui and the rest held together with a couple of function pointers. It was faster (to write and run) and simpler than anything I'd written in years. More responsive than the most responsive web framework too.




But is it cross-platform (Win32, Windows UWP, OS X, multiple linuxes, iOS, Android) and most of that same code works on the web?

It's okay to bemoan Electron for being bloated but multiple balls have been dropped by OS and platform makers, GUI toolkit makers, language runtime makers, and that giant amount of missing glue inbetween, to get to where we are.

It's rather sad that Electron, out of all things, is the first thing to fulfill the holy grail of write-once, run anywhere, in a way that's good enough and palatable to the plurality of users' and devs' satisfaction.


Electron certainly isn't the first thing to give "write once, run anywhere", let alone good enough to satisfy users. I groan every time I download an app only to discover it's Electron based.

Java beat Electron to write-once-run-anywhere by a couple of decades, and still does in the sense that Electron requires you to make platform-specific builds of your app even if the core code is the same (Java gives you that option but doesn't require it, you can still distribute a jar or web start file).

Meanwhile, Electron has managed the feat of being even bloatier than Java is. The DOM was never designed for GUIs and the terrible performance of web and Electron based apps is a testament to that. At least Java apps tend to have meaningful menu bars and context menus.

Electron satisfies web devs who have either never written desktop apps in other frameworks, or did decades ago and think nothing improved there. They "satisfy" users in the sense that users are rarely offered any alternative so have to suck it up and tend to judge web apps against each other vs a well coded, tightly written desktop app (office suites being a notable exception).


> Java beat Electron to write-once-run-anywhere No , not on web.


You can run electron apps on the web? How do you deal with things like file system access?


There is local storage. There is Server side.


Yes, I used GTK2 which is cross platform (GTK3 isn't). Would work fine on Win32 (the only windows worth supporting), OSX and multiple linuxes. Won't work on android or iOS, but IME that usually sacrifices the dektop app anyway. This case would have been fine though if it were possible, the app was responsive enough to work on a nokia 6110.

The biggest takeaway though is how simple it was to build. If all platforms where that simple then having seperate UI code for each platform really wouldn't be that big a deal.

At the moment I'm somewhat hopefully the libui project (https://github.com/andlabs/libui) will be successful though. It's learned the lessons from previous attempts.


Did you blog/gist that example, by any chance?


I half wrote a blog post/angry rant over Christmas. I'd post the draft/source here, but my c is very rusty and I want to at least check for memory leaks first (no valgrind on cygwin) ;)




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