Electron Atom – Introduction, Features and Uses

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Introduction

One of the places where JavaScript is playing a key role is in cross platform development. Development of applications using JavaScript in browser has always been cross platform. Electron, formerly known as Atom Shell, provides a platform to write desktop applications with web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Electron also has Node.js integration to allow access to low level systems in web pages. Electron and has already been used to create similar apps by popular companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, Docker and Slack etc.

Important features of Electron

Electron is different from other similar packages in many ways. Some useful features of Electron include:

The entry point of an Electron app is a JavaScript script. In these apps, instead of providing a URL, you manually create a web browser window and load HTML files through accessing APIs. The developers also need to listen for window events in order to decide when to close the application.

It’s a hectic process to build the whole Chromium app and thus Electron uses libchromiumcontent library to access Chromium’s Content API and avoid the development complexity. Libchromiumcontent is a shared, single library that includes the Chromium Content module and all its dependencies. The developers don’t need any additional powerful tool or machine to build an Electron app.

Electron allows a better way to integrate a libuv loop with each platform’s message loop to avoid hacking issues with Chromium.

This is not end, there are still more useful features of Electron such as crash reporting for your apps, automatic updates for newer versions, quick installers for Windows OS, native menus and notifications, and along with debugging and profiling as well.

The Electron development is based on the concept of browser-side and renderer-side. The first deals with the core system and control the application globally and the second renders a web application in the window created by first.

Uses of Electron Atom

Electron allows developers to create desktop applications with pure JavaScript by offering a runtime with rich native APIs. It can be seen as a variant of the io.js runtime which is concentrated on Desktop applications instead of internet browsers. This doesn’t mean that Electron is a JavaScript binding to GUI libraries. The Electron development uses web pages as its prime GUI, and then can be seen as a minimal Chromium browser, fully controlled by JavaScript. It is also useful as developed through well-known web technologies such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Electron is really great! Developers can finally create desktop applications using their favorite tools, just as they do when creating front-end implementation of webpages. Webpages can now be transformed into full-blown native cross platform applications easily.

You can learn more about Electron hereand find their github repository here.


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