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Discussion on: How would you build it? - Cross-platform Desktop GUI

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Wes Dunn Author

Totally agree with your logic on the local site approach. I had not considered how JS would add the benefit of being well suited for event-based UI logic! I had mostly been considering broader advantages that using a “web” stack could offer: ease of development, tooling, code/component re-use and consistency in branding/experience with related sites. The biggest resistance I have to this approach is that it just feels weird to control a local application through a browser. I suppose it really depends on the purpose of the app.

Your point about the split codebase approach is right-on, but for some reason I keep getting stuck with the perception that, while it adds the feature parity problem, the user experience of a “more native” GUI could be a benefit. Maybe I’m taking a “grass is greener” point of view.

short rant:
I think Electron is great, BUT it comes at the cost of eating up more resources... for an app like VS Code, I think the argument can be made that they’ve done a great job optimizing, and what it’s doing with those resources is usually useful (from what I can tell). But for a simple-ish GUI to present some controls/log displays/“visibility” into the “backend” app... it just feels greedy to use.

Anyway, I appreciate the reply and thoughtfulness. Many of us use desktop apps every day and I would love to see (and contribute to) more content around the topic.

Also, I had not seen H20 before... looks like it could be super useful for some of my current use-cases. Thanks for adding that. I’ll be digging into that more for sure!