Chapter 1. Introducing Electron


This chapter covers

  • Understanding what Electron is
  • Learning which technologies Electron is built on
  • Understanding how using Electron differs from traditional web applications
  • Structuring Electron applications
  • Using Electron in production to build real-world applications

One of the big things that the web has going for it is ubiquity. It’s an amazing platform for creating collaborative applications that can be accessed from a wide range of devices running different operating systems. That said, entire classes of applications can’t be built in the browser environment. Web applications can’t access the filesystem. They can’t execute code that isn’t written in JavaScript. They can’t hook into many of the operating system APIs that desktop applications can. Most web applications aren’t available when there isn’t a reliable internet connection.

For a long time, building for the desktop has involved adopting a completely different skill set. Many of us don’t have the bandwidth to take on the long learning curve necessary for learning new languages and frameworks. With Electron, you can use your existing skills as a web developer to build applications that have many of the capabilities of a native desktop application.

1.1. What is Electron?

1.2. Who’s using Electron?

1.3. What do I need to know?

1.4. Why should I use Electron?

1.5. How does Electron work?

1.6. Electron vs. NW.js