Why? If the product is that good I’ll evangelize it. This is a desktop application, so I don’t see a big boost from a network effect. All this does makes me wonder if the product is more about building hype than value
In a world where publishing is essentially free, reputation is an extremely valuable commodity. The ask here is not trivial.
reputation is an extremely valuable commodity
This may not matter much if the thing you're recommending is an email client. But it matters a lot if the thing you're recommending is, say, an investment in a startup company. It also matters a lot if you're, say, Amazon or Yelp or TripAdvisor and a big part of your stock in trade is an enormous volume of product recommendations.
I tell my friends about new apps, startups, and projects all the time. None of them think I'm staking my reputation when I shitpost about some new thing in Slack.
My reputation is worth more to me, than trying to get higher up in a queue to a product i haven't tried. I don't share things with people lightly, and there are clearly a bunch of us out there.
Any certainly, nobody is advocating that our view of the world is the correct one, just that we hold that view.
Apart from that, the e-mail form doesn't let me control what I'm sending.
How can we ever expect a reliable, non-garbage-dominate internet when it is funded by perverse incentives?
But if a friend of mine recommends a product to me, well, I do think all of those things.
You're taking a needlessly confrontational stance here with insulting language, and people are responding to that.
Imagine what the world would be like if everyone had the same attitude towards other people's attention and time as you do.
I'm sure this behaviour doesn't seem like a big deal to you because relatively few people are so inconsiderate.
Then why are you posting anonymously?
Or maybe only send to your friends who a new email client would interest?
Is “hey, saw this on HN, this looks interesting” really going to hurt your reputation?
He’s a dev trying to market, that’s all.
It's totally optional to invite more people, so if it goes against your ethical views, just don't.
It's actually dangerous and unethical TO put my name behind this untested product. It's not open source, and I'm being asked to put my seal of trust and approval on their project. That's a hard no.
Where are the boring products without dumb marketing techniques to generate hype, with actual things to show other than a waiting list?
Re: Incentive to share it - Just build a good to amazing product - which the comments and upvotes you have on HN are already significant proof of - and you'll get higher adoption in the long run with exponential growth, without adding friction of little tricks like this which will be relatively inconsequential in the long run, other than perhaps causing friction with early adopters who will get turned off by them.
Maybe a quick survey with questions like,
- what email client do you use now?
- what is your favorite/least favorite feature of said client?
- how often do you check your email?
Frame it as a reward not a punishment.
Although Mailbox could presumably fit into that strategy, Dropbox is instead focusing on its new Google Docs-style document editing and collaboration service Paper, which may gain some of the functionality of Mailbox. "As we deepened our focus on collaboration, we realized there’s only so much an email app can do to fundamentally fix email," a blog post credited to "the Mailbox team" reads. "We’ve come to believe that the best way for us to improve people’s productivity going forward is to streamline the workflows that generate so much email in the first place."
So what you're saying is that Viktor Hn just shot to the front of the line? Well played, Viktor.
Edit: Actually, based on the invite code, it's likely a specific code for HN. The Developer's name appears to be Viktor Jansson, I just assumed Hn was a last name. :)
Also: If you can't spare Max 300MB ram and you are complaining on HN wtf computer do you use?
You can make pretty x-platform apps in JavaFX, QT Quick, GTK, hell even Lazarus, and they don't eat CPU and memory like Electron does.
It is a shame that nearly every app released in the latter half of this decade is just wasteful Electron garbage. Don't forget your 300+mb needs to sit along side Slack's 300mb, Discord's 300mb, and so on... fuck even my Crashplan Backup client eats up three processes and another 300mb. It's inconsiderate as hell.
Plus Gmail and a few others big names in webmail require a HTTP client for authentication if you want to use their proprietary sync (granted there's also POP3 and IMAP. But while IMAP is good in a number of ways it's still far from perfect).
As far as I know, every single usable language comes with a HTTP client, and every single GUI framework has a "WebView" control or equivalent.
As for the HTTP client point; you can use a simple HTTP API (libcurl or whatever) to perform the webmail authentication but honestly you're in for a whole world of pain because it's really more than just a HTTP call. Ideally you'd want another webview for that as well. Oh how all those individual webviews are going to add significantly to your memory usage. You might as well consolidate them all into one...let's call that new WebView "Electron" shall we ;)
Is it inconsiderate for Ford to make a larger SUV because your garage doesn't have unlimited square footage and you only want to buy so much gas? Of course not. Why is this any different? You can decide not to buy the SUV just like you can decide not to download this application.
Because I chose my OS carefully and found that I like the way its native controls work. It has a number of features missing from other OSes and I want to use apps that integrate naturally with it. I have yet to find an electron app (or web app) that is 1/10th as good as a native app at fulfilling that desire. Electron apps feel like generic imitations of native apps. Yeah, they work, but everything is just off. Also, it comes from Google so I can only assume it's doing some sort of tracking of me and/or my machine resources. No thank you.
> Is it inconsiderate for Ford to make a larger SUV
It depends on which dimension they extend it and by how much. If they make it wider to where it doesn't fit in a lane on a normal road, then hell yes it's inconsiderate. That's essentially what electron does.
If you stick to using the GUI part minimally, it's easy to build very light weight applications with electron. I've been building my own music streaming server with electron and its gotten some traction since it's easier to install. The GUI layer is only used for editing config options, so the app typically runs with under 50mb of memory consumption: https://github.com/IrosTheBeggar/mStream/releases
If used smartly, electron is a powerful tool for developing desktop apps quickly. However thanks to modern frontend dev practices, it's easy to build a bloated pile of crap.
There is no such governing body for Electron, save for the nebulous "market"; nobody with any authority is forcing them (GitHub et al) to fix their shit or GTFO
Electron was developed by GitHub for their Atom editor, actually.
(edit: Flash, maybe? Though people mostly didn't try to write too many full apps in it. And Flash projects could be fairly CPU-efficient if effort was put into it, but way less effort than, say, MS with VS Code)
We have regular audits to find ways to make things lighter/faster, and therefore better. Occasionally "flashier" mandates from on high override those considerations, but so far it's been specific and rare.
It's probably because our target audience isn't developers.
But the devs coming out of schools today (and half of HN) believe it's OK to build a skyscraper by stacking frameworks one upon the other.
Electron being in vogue does definitely compound this issue but the benefits from using it (e.g. cross OS development on a familiar platform & language many devs already know) seem to outweigh the resource problem.
Do any major code bootcamps teach C#, C++, or Java? Or is it all just webtech?
I wonder if electron is a bit of the same deal, with the recommended way of using it optimizing for developer efficiency over resource efficiency.
- we're not talking about space probes,
- this is just one dev who thought "I want to write an email client" and make a tech choice based on his/her own proficiency with that stack and his/her project constraints (time, cost, quality, scope).
It seems unfair to rant so much about it. If it's feature full and good and perf becomes an issue, consider it an MVP and a stack change is doable. If the thing blows, trash the MVP.
Personally I'm far more worried about the first noted limitation about email forwarding with attachments not being available. I'd have wanted that before most of the showcased features, none of which I find particularly interesting. But I applaud the effort and the Polish, and the approach to build the tool that you want/need when. You can't find one.
(Second worry would be: if it's not open source, please make so.)
Do you praise the builder of that Brazilian skyscraper that caught fire and collapse for the thousands of hours that went into its construction?
I think the problem is Chrome, which the Electron runtime requires. Each separate Electron app has its own copy of Chromium in memory. (What happened to shared libs?)
I see two ways you can help:
(1) you can try to get memory-usage-reducing fixes into Chromium, or,
(2) you can build an Electron-compatible runtime that uses less memory (maybe by transpiling it into code that runs on a native toolkit, and not having a static copy of that runtime per-app).
So it's not electron vs native, it's electron vs nothing.
You're free to use gnus, notmuch, mu4e, whatever million other variants if you're so concerned about your "precious" resources. This electron app that's been built has some neat features that a lot of people might find useful, like that search seems pretty cool.
I get why you don't like Electron apps. I share your position in that. I would expect that if Ivelope grows quickly enough to justify it, time will be spent on improving resource utilization. That could be through scrapping Electron or through optimizing within it - but either way, at this stage "time to market" and "speed of iteration" are much more important than resource utilization.
It's not just one user that they've lost…
> You can make pretty x-platform apps in JavaFX, QT Quick, GTK, hell even Lazarus, and they don't eat CPU and memory like Electron does.
lol, if those are your idea of pretty... The reason Electron is popular is because those frameworks are, and have always been, garbage for garbage software.
Slashdot got like this eventually. Slashdot was tech site full of luddites complaining about anything new. Worse, slashdot stopped becoming relevant. When the top comment on an article about increased hard drive space was "why does all this stuff take so much space? bloat!! lazy developers!!!".... it's pretty lame.
300mb of ram is nothing. Your OS will swap the software out when you aren't using it and it will be no big deal. People need to stop micromanaging their computer and go do more productive things with their time....
You're so wrong. This hogging literally causes micromanagement. I have to start closing browser tabs and maybe at some point my IDE or a few open files so that just Slack or Discord or some other piece of horrendously bloated software could hog up another half a gigabyte of RAM. When Eight gigabytes stop being enough because of some chat applications it's not okay. Calling people that think software can actually use resources meaningfully "luddites" is counterproductive and damaging to the entire PC ecosystem, RAM and disk space are limited resources on most PCs and people do not want and should not have to spend more just to run a few chat applications.
Wrong, since Electron apps NEVER sit still.
I have a couple of development virtual machines (VMs), and build containers running on my laptop. They help me with a range of tasks (some are memory intensive). Further, I configure nested virtualization, which lets me setup two level-1 guests (A and B), and inturn run a level-2 guest (C) in either of them. Now I can test live migration of VM C between A and B. So I really try my best to stay away from memory-hogging applications.
That's one of the reasons why 4-ish years ago I ditched Thunderbird, which was hogging memory, and switched to the venerable mutt e-mail client. (Also ditched HexChat for irssi.) FWIW, switching to mutt was one of the best decisions I made for my productivity -- I spend a lot of time wrangling high-volume technical mailing lists; it's unalloyed joy to use mutt on a daily basis (especially if you deal with e-mail based patch workflow).
Granted, it might be a niche scenario. I just wanted to call out that there are damn good reasons to conserve memory.
Wastefulness is not cool.
Or, at least, it has the potential to be better.
Minified JS and obfuscated Java (DexGuard or ProGuard) are almost identical in complexity, you can restore the actual datatypes still, and you can even restore the rough outlines of where control structures were.
Obfuscated WebAssembly, NaCl or native code is much worse to work with, and often data structures and control structures are gone entirely.
Janne Koschinski, CompSci student.
Current maintainer of QuasselDroid https://quasseldroid.info/ https://github.com/sandsmark/QuasselDroid
Generally I share such info on IRC, and then it gets just forgotten over time.
She wants an e-mail client that stores attachments remotely, only downloading them as requested by by the client. Is there an e-mail service that does things this way?
In the description it is said one can file email with a key, by associating folders to keys. Keyboard operation is very important to me. However direct key/folder association doesn't scale to a large number of folders. Have you considered a feature like the "Nostalgy" extension for Thunderbird? 
With Nostalgy one type "s" to file/save an email, then a string which is matched to folder names. It's a bit like helm for emacs (except it's exact match, space is not interpreted as an "AND" like with helm). The commands are go/save/copy, and then string match. This scales very well. That could be an advanced feature, as for beginners the direct key/folder association is simpler. But I guess you will target advanced users too, and for them it may be an important feature.
I have a bunch of questions that I couldn't find out from the website (but are obscure enough that I shouldn't expect to):
* What format are you using for email archives? Mbox, Maildir? Can I import my Thunderbird / Postbox Mbox archives of 21 years of email?
* Can I turn off threaded & conversation views?
* Do you support POP3? (You only mention IMAP... I'm sure that would be fine, but I still have accounts configured via POP3.)
* Can I change priority of individual messages after they arrive? I sort my inbox by priority and then date-descending, not by date.
I'm a hardcore Postbox user and email is critical infrastructure for me, so I probably won't try it or switch anytime soon... but I'm always keeping an eye on powerful desktop email clients, in case I ever need to switch, or find something dependable that really blows away Postbox.
Well done! Looks very promising!
2. Currently not supporting Mbox/Maildir but downloading emails directly from the server, however an import of this is on the todo list
3. Re: turn off conversation view: not at this time. Do you prefer not having it in a conversation view?
4. No POP3 yet
5. I think you can achieve this using folders/labels in Ivelope
Thanks for the positive encouragement!
I couldn't find exact figures for MS Outlook but Office 365 seems to require 1Gb as a minimum.
A quick look at the Gmail tab I have open in Chrome seems to be taking roughly 390Mb so this would seem to be an improvement over that.
As a genuine question, what sort of size would you expect for an optimised native app with the same functionality?
I’m tempted to make a FastMail Electron app just to demonstrate that Electron/HTML/CSS/JS doesn’t need to mean slow and heavy (it just normally does).
Later: OK, so on Windows a trivial Electron “just load https://www.fastmail.com/login (and then log in)” app uses ~230MB of RAM. Not what I was hoping for, though it doesn’t surprise me a great deal—Chrome is quite happy to use lots of memory. Interestingly, when I reduce it from 3000×2000 to 1600×1200 (device pixels, it’s a 2× display), it goes down to about 160MB after a bit, and minimised to 180MB or 120MB for the two window sizes. Still very snappy despite this memory usage, though, for FastMail is fast.
Yes, but that’s not a fair apples to apples comparison with his 300mb number. Your looking at the memory used for that tab, not the shared memory used by the browser across tabs. Open Firefox with no sites open and check your baseline memory usage. Add that to the numbers above for a direct comparison.
I’m tempted to make a FastMail Electron app just to demonstrate that Electron/HTML/CSS/JS doesn’t need to mean slow and heavy (it just normally does).
One avenue would be to use a different, more light-weight engine; https://github.com/zserge/webview, for example, can use the local platform’s engine, which is likely to be somewhere between a little and a lot more efficient than Electron/Chrome. Running FastMail with the MSHTML renderer via the Rust bindings for that (DPI scaling issues, but meh), it starts at about 60MB but is easy to get over 80MB with some use. Still quite a lot less than Electron/Chrome.
On my laptop with 16GB, it's certainly been at least a few months since I've done anything that made it hit swap.
> I said "unintentionally" as a hedge for corner cases like VMs where you are likely aware of the limits.
I was aware of the limited memory of the VM, but almost everything I run there is a text-mode application, so it usually doesn't matter. Honestly, I thought that Slack would fit easily in the free memory, but I'm logged into 3 teams, so it ate more than I expected. And it's a spinning rust drive; swapping sucks, and it slows down the host OS at the same time.
It's an avoidable situation; just run Slack under the host's Windows, instead of in the Linux VM. But it remains the case, in my uses, that memory has caused more issues than CPU, and that CPU has caused more issues than battery drain. I don't know why everyone else focuses on memory so much...I perceive my own issues as kind of a corner case.
For reference, I’m using the explicit/window-objects/top(…) figure from about:memory. This is not an accurate representation of the full footprint, but is close enough.
It might be me, but i prefer them to be rendered incorrectly in a text-only view :-P. I use email since the 90s and so far i do not think i can come up with any case where the HTML in an email was actually useful and not used for fluff (which i do not mind but can do without), branding (which i do not care at all about) or -way way more often- advertisement.
Also almost all HTML mails i've seen come in text-only version too and any useful bits are attachments anyway.
As a past (very minor) contributor to chromium+webkit I'm curious if there's anything one can do to help, but I haven't kept up with their status in a long time.
It's a 10 year old project and memory usage has always been fairly high, I don't see any indication of a major focus on reducing it anytime soon.
I don't hate Electron apps or anything, but the ones I already have open are using up enough of my memory that there isn't much left to run more of them. I really do hope this improves in the future though. If not I may just have to buy more RAM.
I strongly prefer to disable conversation view, because the time (recency) and time interval (frequency) are obscured, at least from the inbox view of most readers.
There is a big difference to me between a thread with 10 emails in one morning, versus one with 9 emails over a week, followed by one this morning.
150-300MB seems more than acceptable for a local email client. A pedantic, vocal minority may be over-represented in this thread (it IS HN after all).
IMO Electron apps present significant advantages that justify its negligible cost, eg skinnable with CSS, inspected live with a web inspector, cross platform etc.
All of these have been possible with Qt circa 2006. (There is no inspector out-of-the-box, but KDAB made one that could be injected via LD_PRELOAD.)
Yup, that's what I wanted to know. Since Thunderbird & Postbox both used the same Mbox Unix format for my 20 year email archive saved on disk, it was very easy to switch between them. And since it's an industry standard, I'm reasonably confident I could export/migrate it to a new email client when I have to - or find someone who has written software to do it.
What is the reason you do not store in a standard format?
I feel bad but you have already lost me there :/
Not in terms of resources (CPU/RAM). It's way better than Electron.
And I don't believe that only having experience in web development is a good enough excuse for shoehorning web dev things everywhere else.
Before that I used mutt - also very little.
Native Emacs in a GUI can also show inline images (but not when running in a terminal, obviously).
Great work by the way!
For a email client that is still more than I ever would accept. Do you hold all conversations in the RAM for searchability or something?
When I use mutt I doubt it goes over 20mb.
But then it is mutt running inside a screen session in an xterm.
Screen is using 4m, and the largest xterm open is using 2.4m. So even adding in screen and xterm overhead that's still only 34.4mb.
1. Is there an extension architecture, that I might be able to write my own extensions?
2. Can I edit the "From" address on outgoing mail, and will it remember my preferred "From" address on a per-recipient basis?
3. Does it have extensive keyboard shortcut support, or does it require a mouse?
4. Does it work well with both of the Linux clipboards, the standard system one and the X-provided middle-click one? (Other Electron apps, such as Postman, do not)
2) Not at the moment, but it supports multiple email accounts at once and you'll be able to move emails effortlessly between accounts in the near future.
3) Yes, it has extensive keyboard shortcut support
4) It hasn't been released for Linux yet, but once it will, I'll make sure to try to address this issue.
Not yet, but I assure you that I will! Especially if the answer to the next question is negative...
> 2) Not at the moment, but it supports multiple email accounts at once and you'll be able to move emails effortlessly between accounts in the near future.
I have literally thousands of "accounts" as I have a catch-all domain that I've been using since 2001. I need the ability to edit the "From" address, minimum. And if I'm going to use the email client regularly, then it needs to remember the "From" address to use on a per-recipient basis. That is what extensions are for!
> 3) Yes, it has extensive keyboard shortcut support
> 4) It hasn't been released for Linux yet, but once it will, I'll make sure to try to address this issue.
You are welcome to contact me for testing. muszc-master splat dotancohen spot com.
I really don't think that's true outside of the HN echo chamber. Like OP, I am using a Macbook Air which is hardly a supercomputer and vscode runs perfectly fine on it.
"I raise elephants, but they are bred to be as small as possible."
"They're _either_ elephants, _or_ bred to be as small as possible."
Why do we have to make this complicated? The creator is using Electron, and within that given framework putting focus on RAM optimization. Moving on.
Emails have become much more than that. They can contain almost everything a webpage can.
Most browsers use a ton more ram than 300 MB.
In absolute terms it may be big. But for an electron app it’s probably not too bad.
If you mean this, it's written in Swift https://macos.telegram.org/
What OS are you using Telegram in?
You say that like HTML emails don't exist. If the client has to embed a web view anyway...
Designed emails using HTML are used by marketing teams - not by people. I don't care to read emails from marketing teams "as intended to be viewed". Show me the email and let me read an email that's just a bunch of plaintext markup.
That said, electron can have a small fingerprint if the dev team is carefull/good enough, and is hte best option when your app have to be able to read HTML (and copy HTML formatted string). To me, an email client is a good way to use electron for an app.
Or for advanced situations "selectively efficient" - using something other than Electron for an app that is intended to be cross-platform because [insert-alternative-here] is smaller/faster/other may be an example of premature optimisation and using something else (especially where that involves learning something else) could mean trading off elsewhere.
Not just Electron but Sciter too in that sense.
"electron can have a small fingerprint if the dev team is carefull/good enough"
Only to some extent. You will have two separate process (at least) in any case and so two sets of the same system libraries loaded in them, IPC between them, etc.
Main task of browser engine is to provide safe browsing experience. Presenting HTML is only second its task and so browser based UI will always be sub-optimal (at best).
In the long term web will totally replace desktop UI. This could have been avoided if Apple, MS, and Linux would have agreed on a common desktop UI API 5-10 years ago but the ship sailed.
(1) With web technologies you can write once and run everywhere including mobile to some extent. Writing a UI multiple times is monumentally expensive. Even huge companies don't like to do this, let alone indie efforts and startups. If Slack with its billion dollars doesn't do it what does that say?
(2) The ecosystem is far more active. The web is the largest open source ecosystem in history. There is code to do literally everything and an embarrassment of riches when it comes to libraries, frameworks, connectors, etc.
(3) Qt isn't that much less bloated than Electron, especially when you start styling it and get dynamic.
(4) Long build times mean that I have to wait a lot longer between dev/test. UI development tends to be a whole lot of iterative hack-test-hack-test. With web tech it's literally edit-refresh, which is much faster than edit-make-wait-launch.
(5) To make Qt look good you have to start styling and using its weird surprisingly web-like stylesheets, which takes you out of pure native mode and into a hybrid rendering mode. At that point I'm halfway to browser rendering.
(6) If you code UIs with web tech you also get the web, meaning your app could be run remotely in a browser as well as locally. This is the networked app promise of X11, Citrix, etc., and you get it for free.
Electron is popular because it delivers a ton of value in terms of cross-platform compatibility, reduced effort, rapid development, consistency, and ecosystem. Performance and memory use problems can be fixed.
I have been watching this project:
It's a genuinely lightweight wrapper that looks really promising. Trouble is everyone I show it to says "ugly" as their first comment. Everyone wants styled apps today with polished UIs and that takes you down a path that looks increasingly like CSS whether you like it or not. I also have this strong feeling that if I wrote with it I'd be rewriting in 5 years after desktop UIs are abandoned in favor of 100% web technology everywhere. Of course web UIs shift a lot too. Maybe the fate with UIs is to rewrite every 5 years no matter what.
I'm confused by this statement. The point of Qt is that you write the UI once. Your controller back-end might have platform-related pragmas, but not the UI.
> If Slack with its billion dollars doesn't do it what does that say?
When you give programmers freedom to choose what makes life easy for them, end-user experience suffers?
I really think all dev companies should have a lab of 'consumer-grade' laptops with 4GB of RAM and 20Mbit/sec networking. And QC shouldn't let anything ship until it runs adequately on those. Particularly for a company like Slack that is targetting corporate users, the bulk of whom aren't software architects with 2017 MBPs ( who make the choice ) but small-cogs with a five-year-old Dell.
As others have pointed out in this thread: Qt is not really that much lighter than the web. It draws its own controls and even has css-like styling. I remember Qt apps being relatively slow on small machines... maybe not quite as slow as Electron but the latter could be tuned and improved and made competitive IMHO.
Your main point is valid, but you shouldn't be focusing your anger at Electron or at programmers for choosing it. You should be focusing your anger at desktop vendors for refusing to offer a better way to develop cross-platform apps in favor of an ultimately foot-blasting quest for platform lock-in. By refusing to play with each other desktop vendors have doomed all their platforms to obsolescence and abandonment.
Note that Qt does not have a pure native mode, it always draws its own controls - it just has a very good imitation of the native controls (especially on Windows).
Given how many smart people are working to make the browser techs as efficient as possible, and the way that things like QT get "bloated" as soon as they start trying to do what browsers do, I've pretty much arrived at the idea that once you have images and an engine that can reflow text and load fonts and so on, and you want this rather complicated functionality to perform at a reasonable level, you're looking at browser levels of resource consumption no matter what you do.
I mean, if you start working the math on what it looks like to have a bitmap of the screen in memory (which you may not literally have as a single flat plane, but we've got character caches, images, and all sorts of other things that add up to that pretty quickly, if not surpass it entirely very quickly), on a high-resolution display, a bit of extra memory left over from packing those resources, the dynamic scripting language space, the other support modules, various other bits of uncompressed media even if it's just windowed... you've gotten into the hundreds of megabytes pretty easily there. Maybe you could keep this below 100MB with a lot of work, but in a world where a single uncompressed 4K full-color image/framebuffer is running you at least 24 MB (for RGB, 32MB for RGBA), 10-50MB just isn't going to be an option.
I've got an emacs here with a couple dozen source code buffers loaded and it's running at about 60MB resident. That's a mere 1/5th of the Slack usage that everyone is incensed about, and while emacs can do a lot of things, it's still taking a pretty substantial capabilities hit vs. Electron to get that small.
Yes, I know emacs can have a web browser in it and such. And if I use eww to load news.ycombinator.com, emacs resident usage just jumped 15MB for what is, frankly, a terrible rendering. It isn't even rendering my jerf.org terribly well, which in modern terms is basically built by rubbing two sticks together and sending the resulting sparks down the wire. That's what 15MB on top of the already-loaded emacs bought me.
My OS has UI semantics. I want most of the apps to work the same everywhere. Your app is not special. Stop reinventing a "visual identity". Give me congruency and features.
Actually, I'm not referring to things like colors or fonts. What I'm referring to is the fact that had the web-browser style layout algorithms not been already invented by web browsers, they would have been invented by the inexorable progression of the pressures and features in desktop toolkits by now. If the people using web toolkits want to be able to lay things out without having to laboriously bundle things into horizontal and vertical scaling groups and specify flexing ratios and all the other crappy layout mechanisms used in desktop toolkits since they first came out, but to use a simple (to use, not implement), powerful HTML-esque layout mechanism, you're going to pay for that on the resource consumption.
And the people writing these programs want that, and will use toolkits that offer that, and if that's bothering you, well, spend some time writing this stuff yourself and you'll stop being bothered, you'll happily spend 100MB of the user's RAM to make the pain end. As neat as it is in some ways, and as much as it has been made to sing and dance over the last 50 years, that style of layout really stinks to use.
And users, at least the savvy ones who hang out here, are saying that this RAM isn't ours to spend. Is there no way that we could spend more resources on our dev machines instead, at build time, to take a piece of code that was pleasant to write and convert it into something that's frugal with resources on the user's machine? C++ and Rust promise abstractions with zero runtime cost compared to the best that you could hand-code. I wonder if the same can be applied to multi-platform GUI toolkits, perhaps through compile-time metaprogramming.
Modern UIs with support for themes, complex interactions, multiple screen and pixel formats, and every language spoken by Homo Sapiens since Gobekli Tepi was built are large and complex. It's not avoidable. That is the problem domain. If you're doing less than that you'll regret it when more and more users start requesting features you don't have or complaining that your product doesn't look right on X or with X language/font/etc. That's my problem with all these ultralight immediate mode UI libs like nuklear. It's like going back to MS-DOS or CP/M and saying "wow that's simple and fast!" Yeah but it lacks a lot of stuff you will need.
The web's rendering layer isn't perfect but it's better than many alternatives and isn't going anywhere, so putting a lot of effort into making it more efficient and robust is very logical.
And don't forget accessibility. That's the part that makes me want to scream whenever I see a new lightweight UI toolkit on HN.
I don't think I'll ever understand this. What about consistency between apps? Sticking to the OS's native widgets and style will get you that. Do people really like it when each app has its own look?
Of course, I'm no judge of aesthetics. Being visually impaired, my idea of a perfect UI is something with high contrast and large text.
In terms of Electron, I have installed: Slack and VS Code (although I later uninstalled VS Code, and will have to put Slack on a machine with more memory than the VM it's in now).
I can usually spare the memory, at least on my non-crap machines, but I haven't really had the need to.
Guess I'm weird too.