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Electron
Electron

2.5K
2.1K
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Ionic
Ionic

3.2K
2.7K
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Electron vs Ionic: What are the differences?

What is Electron? Build cross platform desktop apps with web technologies. Formerly known as Atom Shell, made by GitHub. 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.

What is Ionic? A beautiful front-end framework for developing cross-platform apps with web technologies like Angular and React. Free and open source, Ionic offers a library of mobile and desktop-optimized HTML, CSS and JS components for building highly interactive apps. Use with Angular, React, Vue, or plain JavaScript.

Electron and Ionic are primarily classified as "Cross-Platform Desktop Development" and "Cross-Platform Mobile Development" tools respectively.

Some of the features offered by Electron are:

  • Use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript with Chromium and Node.js to build your app.
  • Electron is open source
  • maintained by GitHub and an active community.

On the other hand, Ionic provides the following key features:

  • Performance obsessed
  • Utilizes Angular and React
  • Native focused

"Easy to make rich cross platform desktop applications" is the top reason why over 50 developers like Electron, while over 234 developers mention "Allows for rapid prototyping" as the leading cause for choosing Ionic.

Electron and Ionic are both open source tools. It seems that Electron with 74.4K GitHub stars and 9.72K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Ionic with 38.4K GitHub stars and 13.1K GitHub forks.

According to the StackShare community, Ionic has a broader approval, being mentioned in 392 company stacks & 350 developers stacks; compared to Electron, which is listed in 213 company stacks and 366 developer stacks.

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.

What is Ionic?

Free and open source, Ionic offers a library of mobile and desktop-optimized HTML, CSS and JS components for building highly interactive apps. Use with Angular, React, Vue, or plain JavaScript.
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What are some alternatives to Electron and Ionic?
Photon
The fastest way to build beautiful Electron apps using simple HTML and CSS. Underneath it all is Electron. Originally built for GitHub's Atom text editor, Electron is the easiest way to build cross-platform desktop applications.
React Native Desktop
Build OS X desktop apps using React Native.
React Native
React Native enables you to build world-class application experiences on native platforms using a consistent developer experience based on JavaScript and React. The focus of React Native is on developer efficiency across all the platforms you care about - learn once, write anywhere. Facebook uses React Native in multiple production apps and will continue investing in React Native.
JavaFX
It is a set of graphics and media packages that enables developers to design, create, test, debug, and deploy rich client applications that operate consistently across diverse platforms.
Element
Element is a Vue 2.0 based component library for developers, designers and product managers, with a set of design resources.
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Decisions about Electron and Ionic
StackShare Editors
StackShare Editors
Chromium
Chromium
MacGap
MacGap
ES6
ES6
Electron
Electron
React
React
Node.js
Node.js

The Slack desktop app was originally written us the MacGap framework, which used Apple鈥檚 WebView to host web content inside of a native app frame. As this approach continued to present product limitations, Slack decided to migrate the desktop app to Electron. Electron is a platform that combines the rendering engine from Chromium and the Node.js runtime and module system. The desktop app is written as a modern ES6 + async/await React application.

For the desktop app, Slack takes a hybrid approach, wherein some of the assets ship as part of the app, but most of their assets and code are loaded remotely.

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StackShare Editors
StackShare Editors
Chromium
Chromium
MacGap
MacGap
ES6
ES6
Electron
Electron
TypeScript
TypeScript
React
React
Node.js
Node.js

Slack's new desktop application was launched for macOS. It was built using Electron for a faster, frameless look with a host of background improvements for a superior Slack experience. Instead of adopting a complete-in-box approach taken by other apps, Slack prefers a hybrid approach where some of the assets are loaded as part of the app, while others are made available remotely. Slack's original desktop app was written using the MacGap v1 framework using WebView to host web content within the native app frame. But it was difficult to upgrade with new features only available to Apple's WKWebView and moving to this view called for a total application rewrite.

Electron brings together Chromium's rendering engine with the Node.js runtime and module system. The new desktop app is now based on an ES6 + async/await React application is currently being moved gradually to TypeScript. Electron functions on Chromium's multi-process model, with each Slack team signed into a separate process and memory space. It also helps prevent remote content to directly access desktop features using a feature called WebView Element which creates a fresh Chromium renderer process and assigns rendering of content for its hosting renderer. Additional security can be ensured by preventing Node.js modules from leaking into the API surface and watching out for APIs with file paths. Communication between processes on Electron is carried out via electron-remote, a pared-down, zippy version of Electron's remote module, which makes implementing the web apps UI much easier.

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Interest over time
Reviews of Electron and Ionic
Review ofIonicIonic

great framework,lots of resources,great community,easy to create UI

How developers use Electron and Ionic
Avatar of Chris Saylor
Chris Saylor uses ElectronElectron

Our application began as an HTML5 browser game, however we decided to leverage certain native parts of desktop applications by wrapping our client code into Electron. This also allowed us to not have to worry about compatibility across all the various browsers.

Avatar of HyVive
HyVive uses ElectronElectron

Our Web Applications are served on our Desktops by Electron. This allows us to have native apps running on our Workstations without having too many Browser Tabs open at the same time.

Avatar of Pascal Malbranche
Pascal Malbranche uses IonicIonic

We use Ionic as it is an awesome framework to build mobile hybrid apps with nativ access. Also Ionic has a nice community!

Avatar of PawByte
PawByte uses ElectronElectron

Electron is the current preferred method to convert games made in the Game Pencil Editor for desktop support.

Avatar of Metrix Financial Reporting Solutions UG
Metrix Financial Reporting Solutions UG uses ElectronElectron

Implement a web-service using your favorite tools but sell a desktop application for oblivious windows users.

Avatar of Christian Bryant
Christian Bryant uses IonicIonic

Cross-Platform goodness. I am a noob here...learning how to implement Ionic is on the top of my ToDo's

Avatar of papaver
papaver uses IonicIonic

used on a recent project, an internal custom app developed for both ios and android.

Avatar of Ralic Lo
Ralic Lo uses ElectronElectron

Used Electron to package single page web application as a desktop application.

Avatar of Grupo Gamma Peninsular, SA de CV
Grupo Gamma Peninsular, SA de CV uses IonicIonic

Desarrollo de aplicaciones multi-plataforma con HTML5, JavaScript y CSS3

Avatar of AmericanBibleSociety
AmericanBibleSociety uses IonicIonic

We have plans to employ this frontend framework in future apps.

How much does Electron cost?
How much does Ionic cost?
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