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7 Famous Electron App Examples [2024]

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Last updated on
January 11, 2024

A QUICK SUMMARY – FOR THE BUSY ONES

Electron app examples

Electron is chosen by several apps for its capabilities. Examples include:

  1. WebTorrent: Built in Electron, it's a torrent client that uses WebRTC for peer-to-peer transfer.
  2. WordPress: Using Electron, the desktop app provides a distraction-free cross-platform experience for content management.
  3. Ghost: Electron powers this open-source online publishing platform for writing-focused experiences.
  4. Beaker Browser: Electron helps this participatory browser create open-source websites easily.
  5. Pexels: An Electron-based desktop app for easy copying of royalty-free stock images.
  6. Slack: Slack's Electron-based desktop version offers a faster and more focused workspace.
  7. WhatsApp: WhatsApp's desktop app uses Electron to streamline the user experience.

Companies choose Electron for JavaScript-based cross-platform apps. It offers benefits like creating desktop apps using web technologies, allowing cross-platform development for Mac, Windows, and Linux, and streamlining development across platforms.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

7 Famous Electron App Examples [2024]

Introduction

We are all witnesses of a revolution where building apps and websites becomes easier every single day.

Electron apps are definitely a part of this revolution. If you wonder about developing Electron apps yourself, start with analyzing which apps are using it and why.

Electron apps examples – Which apps are built with Electron?

Which apps are made with Electron?

  1. WebTorrent
  2. WordPress
  3. Ghost
  4. Beaker Browser
  5. Pexels
  6. Slack
  7. WhatsApp Desktop

Various companies benefited from Electron in many ways. The best way to understand this JavaScript framework for desktop apps is to see it in practice, so let's take a closer look at a few examples.

#1 WebTorrent desktop app

Let’s face it – we all love torrents, whether they are downloaded on our mobile or desktop screens.

However, this type of apps still feels a bit outdated and old, which is why the guys at WebTorrent decided to step into action – using Electron JS as their basic developing program.

The result is WebTorrent, the first torrent client working in the browser and one that is completely written in JavaScript and uses WebRTC for peer-to-peer transport.

Without any plugins, extensions or installations required, WebTorrent links the user to a decentralized browser-to-browser network that ensures efficient file transfer.

Why does WebTorrent for desktop use Electron?

Electron steps into action with the WebTorrent desktop version, making it as lightweight, ad-free and open source as possible. Also, it aids the streaming and acts as a hybrid client that connects the app to all the popular BitTorrent and WebTorrent networks.

#2 WordPress desktop app

As the true king of content management systems, WordPress deserved a desktop version that is reliable and automated. Thanks to Electron JS, it entered the list of desktop apps using Electron – as an open-source framework that helps users manage WordPress content.

We all know about WordPress and launching it via our browsers. However, WordPress for desktop is something entirely new – a desktop app using the Electron framework that provides a seamless cross-platform experience, allowing users to focus on their content and design without any browser tabs acting as distractions.

Why does WordPress desktop app use Electron?

Locally hosted and with minimal load times, WordPress for desktop is a desktop app using Electron as a framework, and JavaScript using React as the main language in this emerging desktop technology.

Discover a famous Electron app - WordPress desktop app.

#3 Ghost Electron app

If you have never heard about Ghost, you are not the only one. Basically, Ghost is a fully open-source platform that lets users build and run modern online publications. From blogs to magazines and journals, Ghost is fully hackable and has a real impact on the future of online media.

That is mostly because of the simpler and more focused experience for writing, obviously a product of JavaScript desktop framework among the other technologies.

Why does Ghost desktop app use Electron?

Speaking of, Ghost for desktop is a desktop app using Electron JS that allows writers to manage multiple blogs at once, and focus on their writing. If you are a writer, you probably know that simple things like shortcuts during writing are hard to realize in a browser. However, the Ghost desktop app makes it easier than ever.

Using JavaScript and Node.js on both the backend and frontend, Ghost for desktop is one of the apps built on Electron and ones that deliver a better user experience.

Discover a famous Electron app - Ghost Desktop app.

#4 Beaker Browser Electron application

Looking for a reliable peer-to-peer web browser?

If yes, you just found it. Beaker Browser is a participatory browser designed for hackers. Initially designed as a product that can be hacked, Beaker Browser shifts the Web to an open-source format and lets hackers, modders, and creative types make most of their digital skills.

Why does Beaker Browser use Electron?

Electron open source software framework made building Beaker a lot easier. As a toolkit for making browsers, it aided the designing process. Thanks to it, Electron app runs with minimal iterations and in the best way possible. In a nutshell, Beaker Browser is a browser for open-source websites and a solution that makes social hacking easier and better than ever before.

#5 Pexels Electron app

For a lot of writers, designers, and publicists, Pexels is a life-saver. As a platform that packs thousands of royalty-free stock images, it definitely needed improvement. And that is how the Pexels desktop app was born, obviously built with Electron framework.

Why does Pexels desktop app use Electron?

This app makes it easier than ever to copy a photo into your clipboard – with only one click. Then, you can paste the photo into any app and use it as a stock image for your article, infographic or social media post.

No downloads means no problems, and discovering new photos is easy thanks to the Pexels desktop app.

Discover a famous Electron app - Pexels desktop app.

#6 Slack desktop app

Another great app using this JavaScript framework is Slack desktop app for macOS.

Why does Slack desktop app use Electron?

It was built with the Electron framework that can be easily seen thanks to its faster performance and the frameless look, unlike the browser experience. For many teams looking for better organization or a more focused workspace, Slack for desktop is definitely the app to choose.

Although Slack for desktop takes a hybrid approach, most of their assets and code are loaded remotely, combining the rendering engine from Chromium and the Node.js runtime and module system.

Discover a famous Electron app - Slack desktop app.

#7 WhatsApp Electron app

Another one in the line of popular desktop apps using ElectronJS is WhatsApp – the most downloaded messenger app.

Why does WhatsApp desktop app use Electron?

Working less and providing more, Electron framework helped the WhatsApp developers to cover it all in single cost and wrap around the desktop experience of WhatsApp through a more streamlined and revolutionized framework – the Electron.

Discover a famous Electron app - WhatsApp desktop app.

Why so many companies build cross platform desktop apps with Electron?

There are key reasons why organizations chose to build desktop apps with Electron:

  1. Electron allows to build desktop apps with JavaScript — To be more specific, developers use web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. This also means that developers can build their own code editors or incorporate popular code editor libraries, such as CodeMirror or Ace Editor, into Electron applications.
  2. Electron lets developers build cross platform apps that work both on Mac, Windows, and Linux — It eliminates the need of having skills in technologies that are used to develop for these platforms natively.

Why is that important?

At the top level we see Mac, Windows, and Linux. That’s already a lot. But on a deeper level, there are multiple versions of those systems together with the latest version of all of them. Each one has its specifics, and each one one that is still in use should be addressed during product development. Plus, each platform has its own quirks.

To cope with this development challenge, we need to hire specialists, which often takes a lot of time. Plus, building three specific apps is also a long process. In many cases, that’s not a viable solution from a business point of view.

Consequences

Electron allows businesses to speed up time-to-market (cross-platform development) and use talents they already have or can hire fairly quickly (using web technologies).

JavaScript developers, even if they’re not specialized in building Electron apps, will most likely catch it up quickly.

App development with Electron eliminates time and talent waste.

<span class="colorbox1" fs-test-element="box1"><p>Technical decisions should be made with business and product context in mind. Electron is a choice that supports digital acceleration of a company and achieving its business goals.</p></span>

A few more words about an Electron app

This is a part that will be interesting especially for those who wonder if Electron is a good fit for their next project.

Here are some facts about Electron’s that may be helpful during the decision-making process.

  • Electron is developed and maintained by GitHub and has a big, active community behind.
  • Electron framework is open-sourced.
  • Automatic updates in Electron help ensure that users have access to the latest features, bug fixes, and security patches without requiring manual intervention.
  • Electron consists of Chromium engine for displaying web content, Node.js for working with the local filesystem and the operating system, and custom APIs that work with OS native features.
  • From a development perspective, an Electron app is essentially a Node.js application.
  • Electron applications can be perceived as web applications running in the Chromium engine. The major difference between Electron app and a web application lies in the architecture. In an Electron app, the starting point is a JavaScript file that acts as a controller.
  • Electron provides the ability to handle media keys, allowing seamless integration and control of media playback functionalities within desktop applications.
  • Electron enables developers to create a separate instance of their application, allowing for independent and isolated occurrences that can operate concurrently on desktop platforms.

What should you be aware of while using Electron?

Using Electron for cross-platform applications is an excellent choice, however you should consider the fact that Electron may excess resource usage and bundle the entire runtime, resulting in high memory usage and potential performance slowdowns due to excess resource consumption.

Moreover, Electron's inclusion of all features increases the file size, leading to longer download and installation times for users.

Lastly, it's crucial to rely on a stable version of Electron to ensure a reliable foundation for all the features, as older or unstable versions may introduce compatibility issues and security vulnerabilities.

Cross-platform desktop app development simplified

In the end, there are many reasons to use create Electron JS apps for desktop. The most important one is obviously the fast transition to the desktop environment, allowing developers a seamlessly integrated experience.

With an improved runtime and great integration with JavaScript and Node.js, Electron JS makes both designing desktop apps and maintaining them on cross platforms easier and better.

FAQ - Electron apps

Why use Electron for apps?

Electron is used for app development because it offers cross-platform compatibility, leverages familiar web technologies, enables code reusability, provides access to native capabilities, has a wide range of libraries and tools, allows rapid prototyping, and has a supportive developer community.

What is the best alternative to building Electron apps?

Some alternatives to Electron for building desktop apps include NW.js, Flutter Desktop, Qt, Nativefier, and Proton Native. The best alternative depends on specific requirements and preferences.

What is Electron good for?

Electron is good for building cross-platform desktop applications using web technologies. It offers familiarity for web developers, access to native capabilities, code reusability, a rich ecosystem, rapid prototyping, and wide adoption.

Is Electron JS good for desktop apps?

Yes, Electron JS is widely regarded as a good framework for building any desktop application you like. It offers several advantages:

  • Cross-platform compatibility: Electron allows developers to create desktop apps that run on multiple operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux, without the need for separate codebases.
  • Web technologies: Electron leverages web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, making it accessible to developers with web development skills. It provides a familiar development environment for web developers to build desktop applications.
  • Access to native capabilities: Electron integrates with Node.js, enabling access to native capabilities and system-level APIs. This allows developers to create desktop apps with rich functionality and seamless integration with the underlying operating system.
  • Code reusability: With Electron, developers can write code once and deploy it across different platforms. This saves development time and effort, as a significant portion of the codebase can be shared between operating systems.
  • Large community and ecosystem: Electron has a vibrant community and a wide range of resources, libraries, and tools available. Developers can benefit from community support, documentation, and community-driven solutions to common challenges.
  • Performance: Electron apps can achieve native-like performance, thanks to the integration of web technologies with the underlying system. This ensures a smooth and responsive user experience.
  • Widely adopted: Electron has been used to build numerous successful desktop applications, including popular ones like Visual Studio Code and Slack. Its widespread adoption and ongoing development make it a reliable choice for desktop app development.

Can Electron make mobile apps?

No, Electron is primarily designed for building desktop applications rather than mobile apps. Electron focuses on leveraging web technologies to create cross-platform desktop apps making it compatible with most desktops across operating systems, such as: Windows, macOS, and Linux.

For mobile app development, frameworks like React Native, Flutter, and NativeScript are more commonly used. These frameworks specialize in creating native or cross-platform mobile applications that can be deployed on iOS and Android devices. They offer specific features and optimizations for mobile app development, including access to native APIs, performance considerations, and UI/UX considerations tailored for mobile platforms.

While Electron is not suitable for mobile devices, it can be utilized to create companion desktop applications or administration tools for mobile apps. For example, developers can use Electron to build a desktop application for managing and monitoring a mobile app's backend or administration tasks.

How do you check if an app is an Electron app?

To determine if an application is built using Electron, you can follow these steps:

  1. Check for package files: Electron apps typically have specific files in their project structure. Look for package.json or package-lock.json files, as they are commonly present in Electron applications. These files often contain information about the dependencies and build configurations, including Electron itself.
  2. Inspect application structure: Electron apps consist of a main process and multiple renderer processes. If you have access to the application files, examine the structure. Electron applications typically have a main.js or index.js file that represents the main process. Additionally, you may find HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files for the renderer processes.
  3. Examine the application code: Open the application files, particularly the main.js or index.js file. Electron applications typically contain specific Electron-related code, such as importing electron or using Electron-specific APIs like mainWindow or ipcMain.
  4. Inspect application executable: If you have access to the application's executable file, you can examine its properties. On macOS, right-click the application, select "Show Package Contents," and check for the presence of Electron-related files. On Windows, you can use tools like Resource Hacker or PE Explorer to examine the application's resources and look for Electron-related artifacts.
  5. Check for Electron-specific files: Electron applications often include certain files in their build or distribution directories. Look for files like electron.asar, electron.exe, electron.app, or electron.bundle. The presence of such files is a strong indication that the application is built with Electron.

Keep in mind that these methods provide a general approach to identifying Electron applications, but they may not be foolproof. Some developers may obfuscate or modify their Electron applications, making it harder to detect their usage of Electron.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Every year, Brainhub helps 750,000+ founders, leaders and software engineers make smart tech decisions. We earn that trust by openly sharing our insights based on practical software engineering experience.

Authors

Marcin Dryka
github
Software Engineer

Full-stack software developer with 17 years of professional experience.

Olga Gierszal
github
Software Engineering Editor

Software development enthusiast with 6 years of professional experience in the tech industry.

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