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Electron vs Qt5: What are the differences?


In this article, we will discuss the key differences between Electron and Qt5, two popular frameworks for developing cross-platform desktop applications.

  1. Language: One of the key differences between Electron and Qt5 is the programming language they use. Electron is based on web technologies and uses HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to develop desktop applications. On the other hand, Qt5 is based on C++ and supports other programming languages like Python, Java, and others.

  2. Rendering Engine: Electron uses Chromium, the open-source web browser project that powers Google Chrome, as its rendering engine. This allows Electron applications to have highly customizable user interfaces and take full advantage of modern web technologies. Qt5, on the other hand, uses its own native rendering engine called Qt WebEngine, which provides excellent support for HTML5, CSS, and other web standards.

  3. Platform Support: Electron is primarily designed for building desktop applications that run on Windows, macOS, and Linux. It provides a consistent development experience across different platforms and allows developers to build cross-platform applications easily. Qt5, on the other hand, goes beyond desktop and also supports the development of applications for embedded systems, mobile devices, and other platforms.

  4. Widget vs. Web: Another significant difference between Electron and Qt5 is the approach they take to building user interfaces. Qt5 is a widget-based framework, which means that developers create user interfaces by selecting and arranging pre-built widgets. This approach allows for deep customization and fine-grained control over the user interface. Electron, on the other hand, uses web technologies to build user interfaces, which provides flexibility and enables developers to leverage their web development skills.

  5. Native vs. Cross-platform Look and Feel: Electron applications have a more consistent look and feel across different platforms due to its use of web technologies. This allows developers to create visually appealing and modern user interfaces. Qt5 applications, on the other hand, can have a more native look and feel as they use the native platform's widgets and styles. This can be desirable in certain cases where platform consistency is crucial.

  6. Integration with Native APIs: Qt5 provides extensive support for integrating with the native APIs and functionality of the target platform. This allows developers to access platform-specific features easily and create applications that seamlessly integrate with the native environment. Electron, on the other hand, often requires additional work and packages to access and utilize platform-specific functionality.

In Summary, Electron and Qt5 differ in terms of the programming language used, rendering engine, platform support, approach to building user interfaces, look and feel, and integration with native APIs. Understanding these differences can help developers choose the most suitable framework for their specific needs and requirements.

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Pros of Electron
Pros of Qt5
  • 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
  • 2
    Easy to learn and use
  • 2
    Cross platform
  • 2
    Open source
  • 2
  • 2
    Very good documentation
  • 2
    Fast enough

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Cons of Electron
Cons of Qt5
  • 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 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 Qt5?

    It is a full development framework with tools designed to streamline the creation of applications and user interfaces for desktop, embedded, and mobile platforms.

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    What companies use Electron?
    What companies use Qt5?
    See which teams inside your own company are using Electron or Qt5.
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