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C++ vs Electron: What are the differences?

Key Differences between C++ and Electron

C++ and Electron are two different technologies used for software development. While C++ is a programming language, Electron is a framework for building desktop applications using web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Here are the key differences between C++ and Electron:

  1. Execution Environment: C++ is a compiled language, which means that the code needs to be compiled into machine code and executed directly by the computer's processor. On the other hand, Electron applications are built using web technologies and are executed within a bundled version of the Chromium browser engine.

  2. Platform Independence: C++ code needs to be compiled separately for each target platform, such as Windows, macOS, and Linux. In contrast, Electron allows for building cross-platform applications, as the same codebase can be used to create applications for multiple operating systems.

  3. Graphical User Interface (GUI): C++ provides a wide range of libraries and frameworks for creating graphical user interfaces. Developers have more control over the appearance and behavior of the GUI elements. In Electron, GUI elements are built using web technologies, which provide a standardized look and feel across different platforms but may have less flexibility in customization.

  4. Performance: C++ is known for its high performance, as it directly compiles to machine code. It allows for fine-tuning and optimization, making it suitable for resource-intensive applications and real-time systems. Electron, being built on web technologies, may have some performance overhead due to the interpretation of JavaScript and the use of the Chromium engine.

  5. Development Workflow: C++ development typically involves writing code in a text editor or an integrated development environment (IDE), compiling it with a compiler, and running the executable file. Electron development, on the other hand, follows a web development workflow, where code can be written and tested directly in a browser-like environment with hot-reloading capabilities.

  6. Community and Ecosystem: C++ has been around for several decades and has a mature and extensive community and ecosystem. There are various libraries, frameworks, and resources available for C++ development. Electron, being a relatively newer technology, has a growing community and ecosystem focused on building desktop applications with web technologies.

In summary, C++ and Electron differ in their execution environment, platform independence, GUI options, performance, development workflow, and community ecosystem. While C++ provides more control and performance optimization, Electron offers cross-platform compatibility and a familiar web development workflow.

Decisions about C++ and Electron
Russtopia Labs
Sr. Doodad Imagineer at Russtopia Labs · | 0 upvote · 201.7K views

As a personal research project I wanted to add post-quantum crypto KEM (key encapsulation) algorithms and new symmetric crypto session algorithms to openssh. I found the openssh code and its channel/context management extremely complex.

Concurrently, I was learning Go. It occurred to me that Go's excellent standard library, including crypto libraries, plus its much safer memory model and string/buffer handling would be better suited to a secure remote shell solution. So I started from scratch, writing a clean-room Go-based solution, without regard for ssh compatibility. Interactive and token-based login, secure copy and tunnels.

Of course, it needs a proper security audit for side channel attacks, protocol vulnerabilities and so on -- but I was impressed by how much simpler a client-server application with crypto and complex terminal handling was in Go.

$ sloc openssh-portable 
  Languages  Files    Code  Comment  Blank   Total  CodeLns
      Total    502  112982    14327  15705  143014   100.0%
          C    389  105938    13349  14416  133703    93.5%
      Shell     92    6118      937   1129    8184     5.7%
       Make     16     468       37    131     636     0.4%
        AWK      1     363        0      7     370     0.3%
        C++      3      79        4     18     101     0.1%
       Conf      1      16        0      4      20     0.0%
$ sloc xs
  Languages  Files  Code  Comment  Blank  Total  CodeLns
      Total     34  3658     1231    655   5544   100.0%
         Go     19  3230     1199    507   4936    89.0%
   Markdown      2   181        0     76    257     4.6%
       Make      7   148        4     50    202     3.6%
       YAML      1    39        0      5     44     0.8%
       Text      1    30        0      7     37     0.7%
     Modula      1    16        0      2     18     0.3%
      Shell      3    14       28      8     50     0.9%

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Pros of C++
Pros of Electron
  • 202
  • 106
    Control over memory allocation
  • 97
  • 96
  • 84
    Object oriented
  • 57
    Industry standard
  • 47
    Smart pointers
  • 37
  • 16
    Gui toolkits
  • 16
  • 13
    Generic programming
  • 13
  • 13
  • 11
  • 9
  • 5
  • 5
    Full-fledged containers/collections API
  • 5
    Many large libraries
  • 4
    Performant multi-paradigm language
  • 4
    Large number of Libraries
  • 3
    Way too complicated
  • 1
    Close to Reality
  • 1
    Plenty of useful features
  • 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
  • 8
    Slow compilation
  • 8
  • 6
  • 6
    Fragile ABI
  • 5
    No standard/mainstream dependency management
  • 4
    Templates mess with compilation units
  • 3
    Too low level for most tasks
  • 1
    Compile time features are a mess
  • 1
    Template metaprogramming is insane
  • 1
  • 1
    Unreal engine
  • 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++ compiles directly to a machine's native code, allowing it to be one of the fastest languages in the world, if optimized.

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 companies use C++?
What companies use Electron?
See which teams inside your own company are using C++ or Electron.
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What tools integrate with Electron?

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Blog Posts

May 6 2020 at 6:34AM


Oct 24 2019 at 7:43PM


What are some alternatives to C++ and Electron?
C lang
Python is a general purpose programming language created by Guido Van Rossum. Python is most praised for its elegant syntax and readable code, if you are just beginning your programming career python suits you best.
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.
JavaScript is most known as the scripting language for Web pages, but used in many non-browser environments as well such as node.js or Apache CouchDB. It is a prototype-based, multi-paradigm scripting language that is dynamic,and supports object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles.
Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency.
See all alternatives