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Pedro Piñera

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Software Engineer at Shopify 🛍. I like building tools for developers and doing open source.
Mostly doing Ruby & Swift, and sometimes Javascript
Journal 📝

But it's powered by Electron

How often have you heard "but it's powered with Electron" It's a widespread sarcastic affirmation that annoys me and to some extent, it makes me feel sad. People rant about a technology being slow, or taking up too many computer resources, which I understand as a valid concern, but we have come to a point where we disregard the value apps bring. It's all about the fact that it's written with Electron.

Fun enough, some of the people that complain are likely using apps like Visual Studio Code to write code, or Spotify to listen to music while coding. Those are brilliant examples that show how a well written Electron app can provide such a great value regardless of the technology-related implementation details.

We should not forget that Electron has to deal with most of the challenges themselves, since they get almost no support from the operative systems. At least until very recently, when Microsoft decided to support Chromium, the web engine Electron is built upon. Conversely, Apple remains hesitant to provide no support to the framework. Like they do on iOS, where they don't support a framework like React Native either, they continue to push and profess their native technologies and framework.

Being rude and ranting about another technology shows, in my opinion, a lack of empathy with other ecosystems and most importantly, how far we sometimes are from the fundamental purpose of technology, bringing value to people's lives. I think those are important values that we engineers should strive for.

Electron is an implementation detail, not a flaw in the apps. A non-performant Javascript in an Electron app is as bad as a native app badly implemented. In most Electron apps, the problem is not the framework itself, it's how the app is written, which is often heavily influenced by how people write apps to run on web browser.

I believe it's all about being educated on how desktop apps differ from web's, and getting some support from the companies that develop the operative systems. Most importantly, it's also about us, developers, supporting, or not supporting, but not doing harm with out sarcastic public rants.