Today we are going to talk about the difference between Electron and Desktop PWAs and their future impact.

First of all, we need to present these technologies to form a view about them.

What are Progressive Web Applications?

Progressive Web Apps are user experiences that have the reach of the web, and are:

  • Reliable – Load instantly and never show the downasaur, even in uncertain network conditions.
  • Fast – Respond quickly to user interactions with silky smooth animations and no janky scrolling.
  • Engaging – Feel like a natural app on the device, with an immersive user experience.

Although we will not cover PWAs in depth I recommend you read up on Google’s Documentation to provide an awesome intro.

What is Electron?

Electron is a platform that allows developers to build Cross-Platform desktop applications using Javascript, HTML, and CSS. This lowers the bar for Web Application developers to easily create Desktop alternatives as well as influence some of the great Javascript libraries and frameworks. Electron based applications have taken Desktop Applications by storm in recent years. Programs such as Slack, VSCode, Atom, and Discord have invested heavily in Electron development.
If you haven’t already used any of these services, I suggest you to check them out.


Why Desktop Progressive Web Applications?

Although Electron applications are growing and their implementation is close to that of a web application, they still come with some disadvantage.
Electron also requires additional complexity by having to manage support for older versions and software update pipelines.

Imagine a world where you could utilize the look and feel of an Electron Application, without requiring lengthy installs, software updates (we already know how windows updates can makes our day terrible) all while shipping a single web application.

Google has announced the Chrome version 70 what brought some exciting support for Desktop Progressive Web Applications on Linux and Windows.
Here is Chrome’s current support list:


Chrome seems to be setting the standard for this behavior in Desktop PWAs. When you visit a webpage in Chrome and the application meets all the criteria, the developer has the ability to prompt the user to install the application on their desktop.

After you launch of this newly installed application, you get a new browser window that looks and feels like a real desktop application.
We show some desktop PWA look:

Spotify
Twitter

Resources: https://developers.google.com/web/progressive-web-apps/desktop

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