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Electron vs MacGap: What are the differences?

  1. Build Environment: Electron allows developers to build cross-platform desktop applications using web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It provides a Node.js runtime environment along with the Chromium web browser, enabling developers to create applications for Windows, macOS, and Linux systems. On the other hand, MacGap is specifically designed for building macOS applications by wrapping a web view in a native macOS shell. MacGap applications are limited to the macOS platform only.

  2. Native Capabilities: Electron provides access to various native capabilities of the underlying operating system through its APIs. Developers can leverage these APIs to interact with system functionalities like the file system, network, notifications, and more. In contrast, MacGap offers a limited set of native macOS capabilities, allowing developers to utilize features like native bindings, menus, and preferences specific to the macOS platform.

  3. Application Size: Electron applications usually have larger file sizes compared to MacGap applications. This is because Electron includes a full Chromium browser along with its own runtime, resulting in a larger package size. On the other hand, MacGap applications are generally smaller in size as they rely on the built-in Safari web view component of macOS.

  4. Distribution and Installation: Electron applications can be distributed and installed on multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux, through various channels like app stores, package managers, or direct downloads. MacGap applications, being targeted specifically for macOS, can be distributed through the Mac App Store, third-party app stores, or manual distribution methods like direct downloads.

  5. Development Support: Electron has a larger and active community of developers, with extensive documentation, tutorials, and resources available online. It also benefits from the vast ecosystem of web development tools and frameworks. MacGap, being a more specialized framework, has a relatively smaller community and fewer available resources compared to Electron.

  6. Platform Compatibility: Electron provides robust support for building cross-platform applications, allowing developers to write code once and deploy it on multiple operating systems. MacGap, on the other hand, is focused solely on macOS and may require additional effort for porting applications to other platforms.

In Summary, Electron is a versatile framework for building cross-platform desktop applications using web technologies, while MacGap is specifically designed for creating macOS applications with limited native capabilities. Electron has a larger community, wider platform compatibility, and higher application size, whereas MacGap offers a smaller footprint, specific macOS features, and limited platform compatibility.

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Hi Everyone, I need to choose a graphics framework for app development on Linux. Since I know Qt from previous projects it would be a straightforward choice for me but the cost is a huge issue in this project. Any advice for a free and nice framework to use for app development? The requested UI contains some dynamic elements, like graphs, etc. Thanks in advance!

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wxWidget is not even an option, because you end up using wxQt:

Among the Qt versions, because Qt 4.x has many bugs, and Qt 6+ removed support for C++11, I use Qt 5.6, which is the last version which allows both LGPL v2.1 and LGPL v3.

Finally there is also Flutter, whcih recently added support for Desktop and Laptop platforms. It's main code language is Dart, but native-code is possible as well.

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Pros of Electron
Pros of MacGap
  • 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
  • 3
    Remember that Mac app you always wanted to create... ?

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Cons of Electron
Cons of MacGap
  • 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
  • 2
    Only for Mac

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- No public GitHub repository available -

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 MacGap?

MacGap provides HTML/JS/CSS developers an Xcode project for developing native OS X App. These Apps run in OS X's WebView and take advantage of WebKit technologies. MacGap exposes a JavaScript API for OS X integration, such as displaying native notifications or writing data to a file. MacGap is extremely lightweight and nimble; a blank application weighs less than 1MB.

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What companies use Electron?
What companies use MacGap?
See which teams inside your own company are using Electron or MacGap.
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What tools integrate with MacGap?
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    Blog Posts

    What are some alternatives to Electron and MacGap?
    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.
    Lots of people use React as the V in MVC. Since React makes no assumptions about the rest of your technology stack, it's easy to try it out on a small feature in an existing project.
    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.
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