Chapter 18. Desktop Applications with Electron

My introduction to personal computers was in a school lab full of Apple II machines. Once a week, my classmates and I were ushered into the room, handed some floppy disks, and given a rough set of instructions on how to load an application (typically Oregon Trail). I don’t remember much from these sessions other than feeling completely locked in to the little world I was now able to control. Personal computers have come a long way since the mid-1980s, but we still rely on desktop applications to perform many tasks.

On a typical day, I may access an email client, a text editor, a chat client, spreadsheet software, a music streaming service, and several more desktop applications. Oftentimes, these have a web application equivalent, but the convenience and integration of a desktop application can provide several user experience benefits. However, for years the ability to create these applications felt out of reach. Thankfully, today we are able to use web technologies to build fully featured desktop applications with a small learning curve.

What We’re Building

Over the next few chapters we’ll build a desktop client for our social note application, Notedly. Our goal is to use JavaScript and web technologies to develop a desktop application that a user can download and install on their computer. For now, this application will be a simple implementation that wraps our web application within a desktop application shell. Developing our app ...

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