HTML5 and Javascript Everywhere

There is an ongoing and absurd trend from that ever-increasing group of developers collectively known as “Web Developers” to spill their infestations into our desktops, of which Electron is the main vector. I get the web is an easy target for the hurried, the lazy javascripters or the single-tool developers who think hammering out a cross-platform app is only possible with the HTML+CSS+JS triplet. What an apathetic group they must be, I can only imagine, when they pack an entire web browser with their web apps.

Electron Apps are Inefficient

I’m not naming names, but seriously, open any of these apps and marvel at the 150MB+ of memory usage of those helpers, plus the memory usage of the app itself. What in the hell is going on? You might say 150MB is nothing for modern computers, and that is true. But that doesn’t mean we should be wasting resources because we have plenty available; in fact, we can’t take for granted how many resources are actually available. Most people don’t run just one application, and memory usage quickly adds up. Memory prices have never been lower than they are now, but most laptops or desktops sold have between 4GB and 8GB of RAM as standard configuration. Often people will start complaining about their computers being slow. I can guarantee that most of the time, it’s either malware/antivirus or their browser being hogged by some misbehaving javascript.

But it’s not only about memory usage. Another important factor, specially for mobile users is energy efficiency. These monstrosities are comparatively less energy-efficient than their native counterparts. I don’t know what are they really doing in the background, but they sport lots of active threads. I suspect there is some Node.js crap involved.

Stay in the Web Side of Computers

Please, Web Developers, you like the web side? Fine. Stay there. I like some web apps. But I like them in my browser. I open my browser, go to the app’s website and use it. When I’m done, I close the tab. If I wanted an app open all the time, I would expect a native desktop application that stays out of my way and doesn’t steal my CPU, RAM or power doing nothing.

Think of your users!

Update: also this, and this.

Both Ammon and Gruber are correct: a native application is a platform differentiator. A Mac is not just the hardware; in fact, it’s not anymore about hardware since Apple migrated to Intel. The software is running the show; all value a computer provides to its users comes in form of software. From the Operating System to individual applications, those are the reasons people choose to use a Mac (macOS), or a PC (Windows or Linux).

But if all apps were to be web apps, then why own a Mac at all. Why not a PC or a Chromebook if all platforms eventually run web applications? I think a lot (most?) users don’t really care what runs what, as long as it runs. But then most users care about Facebook or Youtube. Those are the consumers. The Prosumers and Pros will be more picky where to put their money. If you bought a Mac for the experience, why pay for some piece of software that doesn’t deliver the same experience, given there are native alternatives?

It’s really a shame that so many self-called native Mac apps are being released that are no more than web app wrappers. Just watch and see how many new apps are posted monthly only to discover they are Electron-based disguised as Mac applications.

Electron Based HTML5 Apps Suck
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