August 17, 2016

Let’s Talk About:

Making Desktop Apps with Web Tech

A few years ago, Github released Electron, an open-source cross-platform Desktop application framework that allows you to build applications with familiar web tech: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Since Electron is cross-platform, it allows you to write an application code once, and have it run on Windows, OSX, and Linux (even a raspberry pi!). Previously, you needed to learn a specific code framework (.NET, cocoa/swift) to write native application code on each platform or use a generic cross platform framework (QT) that still required learning all of its particular ways. Because it's now possible to create Desktop applications using web technologies, the number of available Desktop application developers has drastically increased. Talk about a game changer!

Recently at Viget, we've made a number of Client Side Applications in the browser. These applications typically use React.js, a flux framework microcosm, or redux.js and communicate with a server based API for data persistence. With Electron, we can take the exact same Client Side Application code, put it into Electron framework, and now we have a native Desktop application. Imagine the possibilities!

Commonly used applications built using Electron:

  • Slack

  • Atom Editor

  • Wordpress Desktop App

  • Microsoft Visual Studio Code

  • WhatsApp

We've created a few Desktop applications and are looking forward to building more using the tech we already know and love.

Building Client Side Apps

Community Thoughts on Making Desktop Apps with Web Tech...

  1. 1. JavaScript Conquered the Web. Now It’s Taking Over the Desktop By using JavaScript, these companies are opening the gates to web developers who already know the language but aren’t familiar with more traditional desktop programming languages like C++.
  2. 2. Electron Homepage If you can build a website, you can build a desktop app.
  3. 3. Building Web Desktop Apps With GitHub's Electron Yet consider what the web is now capable of: Camera Access, Microphone, Audio Manipulation, File System (to a degree), Notifications, WebSockets, Accelerometer…and the list goes on.
  4. 4. Can you help us build a native desktop Ghost app? It was immediately striking how much more attention the app commanded psychologically by being both in the dock menu, and visibly separated from the browser.
  5. 5. GitHub releases Electron 1.0 for desktop app developers Electron has been downloaded more than 1.2 million times in the past year and used to build applications ranging from email to SQL analytics tools and the Slack communications platform.

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