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C# vs Electron: What are the differences?

Introduction

In this article, we will compare and highlight the key differences between C# and Electron. C# is a programming language developed by Microsoft, primarily used for developing Windows-based applications. On the other hand, Electron is a framework that allows you to build cross-platform desktop applications using web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

  1. Operating System Compatibility: One of the major differences between C# and Electron is the operating system compatibility. C# primarily targets Windows operating systems and is less compatible with other platforms. On the other hand, Electron allows developers to create applications that can run on multiple operating systems including Windows, macOS, and Linux.

  2. Development Flexibility: C# is a strongly typed and compiled language, which means the code needs to be compiled before it can be executed. This provides better performance and error checking, but it also makes the development process more rigid and less flexible. Electron, on the other hand, uses web technologies and allows for more flexibility in development as you can see changes in real-time without the need for compilation.

  3. User Interface: C# provides more control over the user interface of the application. It has rich built-in libraries for creating desktop-like and visually appealing user interfaces. Electron, on the other hand, uses web technologies to build user interfaces, which gives it the advantage of having a wide range of UI frameworks and libraries available. This allows for faster and easier UI development, but it may not have the same level of control as in C#.

  4. Performance: C# applications are generally more performant than Electron applications. Since C# code is compiled, it can be optimized for better performance. Electron applications, on the other hand, are essentially web applications wrapped in a desktop shell, which can result in slightly slower performance compared to native applications.

  5. Integration with Native Features: C# has strong integration capabilities with native features and APIs of the Windows operating system. This allows developers to access and utilize various features like file system operations, hardware peripherals, and other Windows-specific functionalities. Electron, on the other hand, provides a limited set of APIs for accessing native features. While it does offer some integration options, they might not be as extensive as in C#.

  6. Deployment and Distribution: C# applications require the .NET framework to be installed on the target machine in order to run. This might cause some additional steps in the deployment and distribution process to ensure that all the dependencies are met. Electron applications, on the other hand, are self-contained and can be distributed as standalone executables. This simplifies the deployment process as the user doesn't need to install any additional dependencies.

In summary, C# is more suitable for developing Windows-based applications with strong integration capabilities and better performance, while Electron allows for the development of cross-platform desktop applications using web technologies with more flexibility, faster UI development, and easier deployment.

Decisions about C# and Electron
Andrew Carpenter
Chief Software Architect at Xelex Digital, LLC · | 16 upvotes · 406.1K views

In 2015 as Xelex Digital was paving a new technology path, moving from ASP.NET web services and web applications, we knew that we wanted to move to a more modular decoupled base of applications centered around REST APIs.

To that end we spent several months studying API design patterns and decided to use our own adaptation of CRUD, specifically a SCRUD pattern that elevates query params to a more central role via the Search action.

Once we nailed down the API design pattern it was time to decide what language(s) our new APIs would be built upon. Our team has always been driven by the right tool for the job rather than what we know best. That said, in balancing practicality we chose to focus on 3 options that our team had deep experience with and knew the pros and cons of.

For us it came down to C#, JavaScript, and Ruby. At the time we owned our infrastructure, racks in cages, that were all loaded with Windows. We were also at a point that we were using that infrastructure to it's fullest and could not afford additional servers running Linux. That's a long way of saying we decided against Ruby as it doesn't play nice on Windows.

That left us with two options. We went a very unconventional route for deciding between the two. We built MVP APIs on both. The interfaces were identical and interchangeable. What we found was easily quantifiable differences.

We were able to iterate on our Node based APIs much more rapidly than we were our C# APIs. For us this was owed to the community coupled with the extremely dynamic nature of JS. There were tradeoffs we considered, latency was (acceptably) higher on requests to our Node APIs. No strong types to protect us from ourselves, but we've rarely found that to be an issue.

As such we decided to commit resources to our Node APIs and push it out as the core brain of our new system. We haven't looked back since. It has consistently met our needs, scaling with us, getting better with time as continually pour into and expand our capabilities.

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Erik Ralston
Chief Architect at LiveTiles · | 14 upvotes · 556.8K views

C# and .Net were obvious choices for us at LiveTiles given our investment in the Microsoft ecosystem. It enabled us to harness of the .Net framework to build ASP.Net MVC, WebAPI, and Serverless applications very easily. Coupled with the high productivity of Visual Studio, it's the native tongue of Microsoft technology.

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Pros of C#
Pros of Electron
  • 351
    Cool syntax
  • 292
    Great lambda support
  • 264
    Great generics support
  • 210
    Language integrated query (linq)
  • 180
    Extension methods
  • 94
    Automatic garbage collection
  • 89
    Properties with get/set methods
  • 83
    Backed by microsoft
  • 71
    Automatic memory management
  • 61
    Amaizing Crossplatform Support
  • 46
    High performance
  • 42
    LINQ
  • 37
    Beautiful
  • 34
    Great ecosystem of community packages with Nuget
  • 26
    Vibrant developer community
  • 23
    Great readability
  • 21
    Dead-simple asynchronous programming with async/await
  • 19
    Visual Studio - Great IDE
  • 17
    Open source
  • 16
    Productive
  • 15
    Object oriented programming paradigm
  • 15
    Strongly typed by default, dynamic typing when needed
  • 12
    Easy separation of config/application code
  • 11
    Great community
  • 10
    OOPS simplified with great syntax
  • 9
    Cool
  • 9
    Operator overloading
  • 8
    Events management using delegates
  • 8
    Good language to teach OO concepts
  • 8
    High-performance
  • 7
    Linq expressions
  • 7
    Unity
  • 6
    Coherent language backed by an extensive CLR
  • 6
    Conditional compilation
  • 5
    Top level code
  • 5
    Comprehensive platform libraries
  • 5
    Organized and clean
  • 4
    Concise syntax, productivity designed
  • 3
    Lovely
  • 2
    Statically typed
  • 1
    Interfaces
  • 1
    Far more sleek and sphisticated than other languages
  • 1
    Sophisticated overall
  • 0
    Interfaces
  • 69
    Easy to make rich cross platform desktop applications
  • 53
    Open source
  • 14
    Great looking apps such as Slack and Visual Studio Code
  • 8
    Because it's cross platform
  • 4
    Use Node.js in the Main Process

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Cons of C#
Cons of Electron
  • 15
    Poor x-platform GUI support
  • 8
    Closed source
  • 7
    Fast and secure
  • 7
    Requires DllImportAttribute for getting stuff from unma
  • 18
    Uses a lot of memory
  • 8
    User experience never as good as a native app
  • 4
    No proper documentation
  • 4
    Does not native
  • 1
    Each app needs to install a new chromium + nodejs
  • 1
    Wrong reference for dom inspection

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What is C#?

C# (pronounced "See Sharp") is a simple, modern, object-oriented, and type-safe programming language. C# has its roots in the C family of languages and will be immediately familiar to C, C++, Java, and JavaScript programmers.

What is Electron?

With Electron, creating a desktop application for your company or idea is easy. Initially developed for GitHub's Atom editor, Electron has since been used to create applications by companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Slack, and Docker. The Electron framework lets you write cross-platform desktop applications using JavaScript, HTML and CSS. It is based on io.js and Chromium and is used in the Atom editor.

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What are some alternatives to C# and Electron?
Java
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Python
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Golang
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Git
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