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Electron vs Proton Native: What are the differences?


Electron and Proton Native are both frameworks used for building desktop applications using web technologies like JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. However, there are key differences between the two frameworks that make them unique in their own ways. In this Markdown code, we will discuss the main differences between Electron and Proton Native.

  1. Development Workflow: Electron allows developers to create cross-platform desktop applications using web technologies with a focus on creating a native-like experience. It provides powerful features like easy installation, automatic updates, and a wide range of built-in APIs. On the other hand, Proton Native focuses on creating truly native applications by using native components provided by each operating system. It aims to provide a lightweight and efficient alternative to Electron.

  2. Performance: Electron applications are known for their rich features and flexibility, but they can be resource-intensive due to the Electron runtime. This can sometimes result in slower performance and higher memory consumption. In contrast, Proton Native applications are typically lighter and faster since they utilize native components directly without the need for an additional runtime layer.

  3. Integration with Existing Codebases: Electron has a strong focus on web technologies and can leverage existing web development skills and codebases. It allows developers to reuse components, libraries, and frameworks built for the web. On the other hand, Proton Native offers a more seamless integration with existing C/C++ codebases. It can be used as a lightweight interface layer for native applications that require performance-critical functionality.

  4. Native Look and Feel: Electron applications provide a consistent user experience across multiple platforms by utilizing web technologies. While this provides flexibility, it may also result in applications that do not perfectly match the native look and feel of each platform. Proton Native, on the other hand, aims to provide a truly native look and feel by utilizing platform-specific native components. This allows applications to seamlessly integrate with the underlying operating system, resulting in a more authentic user experience.

  5. Platform Support: Electron has strong support for a wide range of platforms including Windows, macOS, and Linux. It provides a unified development environment that can target multiple operating systems. Proton Native, on the other hand, currently has more limited platform support. It primarily focuses on targeting macOS, Windows, and Linux, but with a stronger emphasis on Linux desktop environments.

  6. Bundle Size: Electron-based applications typically have a larger bundle size due to the inclusion of the Electron runtime and the dependencies required for running web technologies. This can result in larger application downloads and slower installation times. In contrast, Proton Native applications have a smaller bundle size since they directly utilize native components without the need for an additional runtime layer.

In summary, Electron is a powerful framework that allows for cross-platform desktop application development with a focus on a native-like experience and integration with web technologies. Proton Native, on the other hand, focuses on creating lightweight and efficient native applications with seamless integration with underlying native codebases, while providing a truly native look and feel.

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Pros of Electron
Pros of Proton Native
  • 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
    Full cross plataform
  • 3
    Very fast
  • 2
  • 1
    React style
  • 1
    Is native
  • 0
    Code reuse with react native apps

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Cons of Electron
Cons of Proton Native
  • 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
  • 1
    Low community for the moment

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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 Proton Native?

Create native desktop applications through a React syntax, on all platforms.

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What companies use Electron?
What companies use Proton Native?
See which teams inside your own company are using Electron or Proton Native.
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What are some alternatives to Electron and Proton Native?
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.
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.
See all alternatives