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Trello Desktop for Mac and Windows: Get More Done Without Distractions (trello.com)
100 points by okhudeira on Sept 13, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 57 comments

It actually is an electron app

    λ /Applications/Trello.app/Contents ◆ tree -L 2
    ├── Frameworks
    │   ├── Electron\ Framework.framework
    │   ├── Trello\ Helper\ EH.app
    │   ├── Trello\ Helper\ NP.app
    │   └── Trello\ Helper.app
    ├── Info.plist
Tried it. It's a bit laggy and seems not much different than the website itself.

Oh dear. That's a shame.

I came here to post a comment asking if it was an Electron app. Hopefully Electron's overhead can become lighter in the future making useful applications like this less bloated.

Yeah, extremely disappointed in this.

I’ve been a heavy Trello advocate since it launched, but the lack of real native clients puts a pretty low ceiling on it’s usefulness at scale.

Atlassian has plenty of native developers on their team, not sure why they would take this route...

A true native client would be a lot of work. Maintain feature parity without adding new features. Identical UI including all the quirks. Is having a native app going to gain them any users? Maybe for user who can't have a browser installed, but they might not be able to have an internet connection either...

I get that, and I understand why they used Electron. But given Electron in this instance is basically a browser for Trello for all intents and purposes I don't see the point of it.

I'm slowly shifting from your opinion to a general distrust of user configured browsers for providing a UI to "sensitive"(authed, billing) APIs.

"A true native client would be a lot of work."

Electron has given a lot of devs that cop-out. I would rather Electron didn't exist... you'd have fewer desktop apps yes, but the fewer that are out there would be higher quality, and there'd be more work for people that don't buy into this web-must-be-everywhere mentality.

I think choosing a hybrid approach is the way to go here.

The implementation with Electron, as most cases, sucks.

I work with a startup and they have a hybrid app, which binary is 3.5 megabytes [1]. UI is JS/HTML/CSS and is almost the same bundle as the web version [2]

Trello's app is 66MB [3]

1: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ninox-database/id901110441?m...

2: https://app.ninoxdb.de

3: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/trello/id1278508951?mt=12

How does the "hybrid approach" differ from Electron and why is it so much smaller? Don't they still need to embed a full browser engine if the UI is all JS and HTML?

macOS offers WKWebView [1], which essentially uses internal webkit ( safari ) for running the application.

And since all libraries are already on your OS, the build is really small, as well as the memory footprint.

1: https://developer.apple.com/documentation/webkit/wkwebview

Slack used to use WebKit but they migrated to Electron for various reasons explained in their blog post https://slack.engineering/building-hybrid-applications-with-...

You have no Linux or Windows support though, right?

Downloaded and tried it... main app and the helpers currently using 671MB of RAM. :(

I haven't had a chance to download it yet, but my suspicion says it's probably an Electron application. What do you all feel about this practice of taking long-lived web applications and getting them out of a tab and into a desktop shell with a place on the dock/task bar and the ability to Atl/Control-Tab?

> What do you all feel about this practice of taking long-lived web applications and getting them out of a tab and into a desktop shell with a place on the dock/task bar and the ability to Atl/Control-Tab?

I intentionally do this with Chrome's Tools > More Tools > Add to Desktop > Open as New Window option. Wrapping Spotify Web, Outlook 365 and HipChat into their own "application"s lets me treat them as if they are native apps, but for some reason it uses a lot less resources than the actual native apps.

> but for some reason it uses a lot less resources than the actual native apps.

Because most "actual native apps" now are not native apps but electron or some other HTML + JS + CSS wrapper running an entire separate browser to render the app. By running the web page as separate windows you're effectively getting the same app but sharing the browser overhead.

You have changed my life

Definitely some sort of electron app. Certain things are broken like trying to use your webcam to take a profile photo because it doesn't know how to ask for browser permissions.

I really hope this trend stops soon.

This trend isn't going anywhere. It's efficient from a human resources perspective. It is very expensive to build and maintain products across native desktop (Mac and Windows), mobile (iOS and Android) and web. That's 5 platforms. Web on its own is hard enough with probably 6 or 7 different browser platforms and various screen sizes to accommodate. Electron is a godsend, sub-native performance or not.

Agreed, also it's a case of "good enough but will get better", the more people who use electron the more its performance will improve.

I was bearish on it initially but it's starting to prove itself in a way where I'm seriously considering it.

Also as a former desktop developer who moved to the web a lot of what it does looks pretty good tbh.

That and TypeScript has completely changed my opinion of "client side" web development, it's solved so much of the pain it's unbelievable and is good enough I'd consider it for desktop development for me the killer example is vscode - proof that you can write fast applications on the platform.

>> I was bearish on it initially but it's starting to prove itself

Your inner trader is peeking out... :)

> It is very expensive to build and maintain products across native desktop

Yet (modulo mobile) somehow companies managed to do this in the 90s with far less productive development tools. The difference is the diluted power of the consumer: when software was a purchased product made for Ks of subscribing customers, small contingents of customers being upset about subpar UI and performance was a real threat to the viability of your business. Now Outlook or any Amazon app can be absolute slow, buggy garbage on nearly every platform (and they are), but the enormous customer base (diluting collective action) and entrenchment of locked-in platforms and data mean there's little incentive to obsess about product quality. Instead companies prioritize cost reduction, new customer acquisition (focusing on product chrome refreshes instead of robustness), or just give over to development momentum apathetic to quality.

> modulo mobile

That's cutting out a huge bit of functionality.

> small contingents of customers being upset about subpar UI and performance was a real threat to the viability of your business

Only if there was a better alternative available, there was still plenty of garbage software. If someone made a product like Outlook with the backing that MS can provide, but better performing, everyone would use it. Case in point, G-Mail

In the 90s you could get away with making a Windows desktop app and call it a day. No one expected your web site to have all the same functionality as your desktop app. And mobile apps weren't a thing. Mac was also a small enough portion of the market to ignore for many products.

> I really hope this trend stops soon.

In what way? That services stop trying to be desktop applications and live on the web and web browser? Or that Electron itself is not an adequate framework for cross-platform development?

Notifications are always the killer feature for me on desktop and it's one of the main reasons i don't use gmail/hangouts/google calendar in the browser. Sure you can keep them open all day in a browser window, but i don't want permanent browser windows open all day.

I exclusively use those applications inside the browser and I have had no complaints about notifications. They ask for permission, I grant it, and I get (native, at least on OS X) notifications that match the rest of my system.

Genuinely curious, is there something I'm missing out on / some way they work better out of the browser?

Useless. I'd pay for many web apps to bring a snappy native experience, but if an app is slacklike I won't use it even if free.

Maybe I'm missing the key point of a desktop Trello - what does it do that can't be done on a webpage?

I haven't downloaded either. You mentioned "out of a tab" and 'Atl/Control-Tab' context switching. I usually pin such an application in the browser; this makes it easy to go visit the site (on OSX and Chrome, use CMD+<tab #>, pinning makes it one of the first tabs so CMD+1 as an example) and easy to use the browser as intended and switch back to the web-app. You could look at the memory footprint of the tab vs. the application and the performance implications of using a desktop app vs. the web-app. That could be useful info. :)

I'm not sure anyone thinks its ideal but there is certainly software built with it that just wouldn't otherwise be, no matter how many people talk about Qt on here.

I don't mind.

Electron is just kids re-discovering MSHTML.dll.

Pointless. Works great in the browser. Won't install this

It's an inevitable step for any mature software application. At some point, the business side will want a feature that web browsers won't allow or have poor support for. Initially, developers push back and this feature gets delayed, but sure enough, executives get eager and eventually make the call to build a desktop app.

I have seen this twice now; our file transfer service was being hindered by poor file API support by the browsers, so we built a desktop app to wrap the web app and provide better file access. And for a shopping app to get around iframe restrictions.

No Linux version is disappointing, especially considering it's an Electron app. Other than global shortcuts, it doesn't seem to offer much over using the web version as a Chrome app with its own launcher and window.

It actually is just another Electron app.

To all of those saying "why not just use the webapp directly?", a global hotkey to add new items is probably the main thing that caused me to not take Trello seriously as a personal task manager. Being able to instantly collect a new task to get it out of my head and worry about it later is a key feature for me.

This app will do that, so I'll seriously think about Trello again.

I made one with Auto Hotkey a while back. Works pretty well for the time. I think if I used headless Chrome I could get it to be even a little better.

FWIW - I've been using Trello in a http://fluidapp.com/ and it's been pretty minimal in terms of resource usage and works well.

I live in a web browser day to day. I'm constantly in and out of Teamwork, Harvest, Google Drive, Slack, Google Analytics etc etc.

Trello is also a core part of our workflow (we're custom software developers) and so Cmd/Ctrl + T to open a new tab and type in "tre"...<Enter> to load Trello is basically muscle memory at this point.

All of that is to say, what's the need for a "native" app? I say "native" because it's Electron, which isn't really native per se. But still, why??

I also live in the browser and prefer everything to be in it, but I do know plenty of people who prefer their desktop apps, especially some windows users.

Some of us Windows users want our apps to be native, otherwise I might just as well use the browser.

Useful for alt-tab.

You can just drag out the tab to popup another window to get a working alt-tab flow

I'm on Gnome, different windows of the same application get grouped together. Useful to have the different logo, and separate from the browser.

No reason this has to require an electron wrapper, you could do it with the 'save to desktop' options, not sure whether any browser actually offers it yet though.

On macOS it's slightly different, and the separate chrome windows won't get the same treatment as a separate app.

One use case would be to be able to have everything available offline. I don't know if this is supported with this app though, but the main reason Trello is not my main goto software for personal management is that one.

No it uses Electron which is basically a wrapper for web apps. So no offline mode.

Being an Electron app doesn't preclude an app from working offline. You can ship all the code with the app bundle.

Still need to design your application to sync data - that's the hard part.

Why is this screenshot rendered so badly? https://blog.trello.com/hs-fs/hubfs/desktop-shortcuts-conden... From the URL it might have been dynamically resized?

Yeah, whatever is doing the resizing isn't doing a great job. You can see the original looks fine if you remove the query string: https://blog.trello.com/hs-fs/hubfs/desktop-shortcuts-conden...

It's also pretty darn big though.

Paws for Trello was acquired by Trello[http://friendlyfox.es/pawsfortrello/].

I love the irony of having the marketing lines "Experience Trello without distractions" and "Native notifications" follow directly each other in the trailer.

Well to be fair, the Trello notifications don't distract you from using Trello...

I've been using ABoards for Trello on Windows 10. Is there any reason to try this instead of ABoards?


Linux anyone?

Ugh.. Sorry, but an additional app is more of a distraction than a new tab for me.

Is it just me or is Trello the most overrated software ever.. stack some lists, group them, color them, collaboration... woo.. could have done that with a google doc.

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