Jump to content

Electron (software framework)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Electron
Original author(s)GitHub
Developer(s)OpenJS Foundation
Initial release15 July 2013; 10 years ago (2013-07-15)[1]
Stable release
30.0.1[2] Edit this on Wikidata / 18 April 2024; 57 days ago (18 April 2024)
Preview release
31.0.0-alpha.3[3] / May 1, 2024; 44 days ago (2024-05-01)
Repository
Written inC++, JavaScript, Objective-C++ and Objective-C
Operating systemLinux, FreeBSD, macOS, and Windows
PlatformIA-32, x86-64, ARM
LicenseMIT License[4]
Websitewww.electronjs.org Edit this at Wikidata

Electron (formerly known as Atom Shell[5]) is a free and open-source software framework developed and maintained by OpenJS Foundation.[6] The framework is designed to create desktop applications using web technologies (mainly HTML, CSS and JavaScript, although other technologies such as front-end frameworks and WebAssembly are possible) that are rendered using a version of the Chromium browser engine and a back end using the Node.js runtime environment.[7] It also uses various APIs to enable functionality such as native integration with Node.js services and an inter-process communication module.

Electron was originally built for Atom[5] and is the main GUI framework behind several other open-source projects including GitHub Desktop, Light Table,[8] Visual Studio Code, WordPress Desktop[9] and Eclipse Theia.[10]

Architecture[edit]

Electron applications include a "main" process and several "renderer" processes. The main process runs the logic for the application (e. g. menus, shell commands, lifecycle events), and can then launch multiple renderer processes by instantiating an instance of the BrowserWindow class, which loads a window that appears on the screen by rendering HTML and CSS.

Both the main and renderer processes can run with Node.js integration if the nodeIntegration field in the main process is set to true.

Most of Electron's APIs are written in C++ or Objective-C and are exposed directly to the application code through JavaScript bindings.[11]

History[edit]

In September 2021, Electron moved to an eight-week release cycle between major versions to match the release cycle of Chromium Extended Stable and to comply with a new requirement from the Microsoft Store that requires browser-based apps to be within two major versions of the latest release of the browser engine.[12]

Electron frequently releases new major versions along every other Chromium release. The latest three stable versions are supported by the Electron team.[13]

Version history
Release Status Release date End of life date Chromium version Node.js version Module version N-API version ICU version
Latest preview version of a future release: v31.x.y Latest preview version of a future release: Alpha[3] ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Current stable version: v30.x.y Current stable version: Current 16 April 2024 ? 124 20.11 ? ? ?
Older version, yet still maintained: v29.x.y Older version, yet still maintained: Active 20 February 2024 20 August 2024 122 20.9 ? ? ?
Older version, yet still maintained: v28.x.y Older version, yet still maintained: Active 5 December 2023[14] 11 June 2024 120 18.18 ? ? ?
Old version, no longer maintained: v27.x.y Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 10 October 2023[15] 16 April 2024 118 18.17 ? ? ?
Old version, no longer maintained: v26.x.y Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 15 August 2023[16] 20 February 2024 116 18.16 ? ? ?
Old version, no longer maintained: v25.x.y Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 30 May 2023[17] 5 December 2023 114 18.15 ? ? ?
Old version, no longer maintained: v24.x.y Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 4 April 2023[18] 10 October 2023 112 18.14 ? ? ?
Old version, no longer maintained: v23.x.y Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 30 November 2022[19] 15 August 2023 110 18.12 ? ? ?
Old version, no longer maintained: v22.x.y Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 30 November 2022[20] 10 October 2023 108 16.17 ? ? ?
Old version, no longer maintained: v21.x.y Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 26 September 2022[21] 4 April 2023 106 16.16 ? ? ?
Old version, no longer maintained: v20.x.y Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 2 August 2022[22] 7 February 2023 104 16.15 ? ? ?
Old version, no longer maintained: v19.x.y Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 24 May 2022[23] 29 November 2022[20] 102 16.14 106 ? ?
Old version, no longer maintained: v18.x.y Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 29 March 2022[24] 26 September 2022[21] 100 16.13 103 ? ?
Old version, no longer maintained: v17.x.y Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 1 February 2022[25] 2 August 2022 98 16.13 101 ? ?
Old version, no longer maintained: v16.x.y Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 15 November 2021[26] 24 May 2022[23] 96 16.9 99 ? ?
Old version, no longer maintained: v15.x.y Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 21 September 2021 24 May 2022[23] 94 16.5 98 ? ?
Old version, no longer maintained: v14.x.y Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 30 August 2021 29 March 2022[24] 92 14.17 89 8 69.1
Old version, no longer maintained: v13.x.y Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 25 May 2021 31 January 2022[25] 91 14.16 89 7 68.1
Old version, no longer maintained: v12.0.x Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 2 March 2021 15 November 2021[26] 89 14.16 87 7 68.1
Old version, no longer maintained: v11.4.x Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 16 November 2020 30 August 2021 87 12.18 85 5 65.1
Old version, no longer maintained: v10.4.x Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 25 August 2020 25 May 2021 85 12.16 82 5 65.1
Old version, no longer maintained: v9.4.x Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 18 May 2020 2 March 2021 83 12.14 80 5 65.1
Old version, no longer maintained: v8.3.x Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 4 February 2020 16 November 2020 80 12.13 76 5 65.1
Old version, no longer maintained: v7.3.x Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 22 October 2019 25 August 2020 78 12.8 75 4 64.2
Old version, no longer maintained: v6.1.x Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 29 July 2019 18 May 2020 76 12.4 73 4 64.2
Old version, no longer maintained: v5.1.x Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 24 April 2019 4 February 2020 73 12.0 70 4 63.1
Old version, no longer maintained: v4.2.x Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 20 December 2018 22 October 2019 69 10.11 69 3 62.2
Old version, no longer maintained: v3.1.x Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 18 September 2018 29 July 2019 66 10.2 64 3 ?
Old version, no longer maintained: v2.0.x Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 1 May 2018 24 April 2019 61 8.9 57 ? ?
Old version, no longer maintained: v1.8.x Old version, no longer maintained: End-of-Life 12 December 2017 20 December 2018 59 8.2 57 ? ?

Usage[edit]

Desktop applications built with Electron include Atom,[27] balenaEtcher,[28] Eclipse Theia,[10] Microsoft Teams,[29] Slack[30] and Visual Studio Code.[31][32] Brave Browser was based on Electron before it was rewritten to use Chromium directly.[33]

Reception[edit]

The most common criticism of Electron is that it necessitates software bloat when used for simple programs.[34] As a result, Michael Larabel has referred to the framework as "notorious among most Linux desktop users for being resource heavy, not integrating well with most desktops, and generally being despised."[35] Meanwhile, Joey Sneddon states that this tradeoff is sensible as Electron greatly lowers the cost of developing and maintaining cross-platform software.[36]

Researchers have shown that Electron's large feature set can be hijacked by bad actors with write access to the source JavaScript files. This requires root access on *nix systems and isn't considered to be a vulnerability by the Electron developers.[37] Those who are concerned that Electron is not always based on the newest version of Chromium have recommended progressive web applications as an alternative.[38]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "electron/electron". GitHub. Archived from the original on 2 August 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Release electron v30.0.1 · electron/electron". 18 April 2024. Retrieved 19 April 2024.
  3. ^ a b "Release electron v31.0.0-alpha.3 · electron/electron". GitHub. 1 May 2024. Retrieved 3 May 2024.
  4. ^ "electron/LICENSE at master". GitHub. Archived from the original on 12 May 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  5. ^ a b Sawicki, Kevin (23 April 2015). "Atom Shell is now Electron". Electron. Archived from the original on 9 November 2017. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  6. ^ "Build cross-platform desktop apps with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS | Electron". Archived from the original on 9 May 2022. Retrieved 1 February 2023.
  7. ^ "Electron Internals: Using Node as a Library". electronjs.org. 8 August 2016. Archived from the original on 9 November 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  8. ^ Horner, Gabriel (10 December 2015). "Light Table 0.8.0". lighttable.com. Archived from the original on 13 December 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  9. ^ "GitHub Repository". GitHub. Archived from the original on 19 February 2016. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Theia - Cloud and Desktop IDE Platform". theia-ide.org. Archived from the original on 20 April 2018. Retrieved 31 December 2021.
  11. ^ "From native to JavaScript in Electron | Electron Blog". electronjs.org. 19 March 2019. Archived from the original on 26 April 2019. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  12. ^ "New Electron Release Cadence | Electron". electronjs.org. 14 July 2021. Archived from the original on 14 July 2021. Retrieved 9 February 2022.
  13. ^ "Electron Releases | Electron". electronjs.org. Archived from the original on 16 December 2022. Retrieved 16 December 2022.
  14. ^ "Release electron v28.0.0 · electron/electron". GitHub. 4 December 2023. Archived from the original on 14 December 2023. Retrieved 14 December 2023.
  15. ^ "Release electron v27.0.0 · electron/electron". GitHub. 10 October 2023. Archived from the original on 11 October 2023. Retrieved 11 October 2023.
  16. ^ "Release electron v26.0.0 · electron/electron". GitHub. Archived from the original on 23 September 2023. Retrieved 23 September 2023.
  17. ^ "Release electron v25.0.0 · electron/electron". GitHub. Archived from the original on 23 September 2023. Retrieved 23 September 2023.
  18. ^ "Release electron v24.0.0 · electron/electron". GitHub. Archived from the original on 23 September 2023. Retrieved 23 September 2023.
  19. ^ "Release electron v23.0.0 · electron/electron". GitHub. Archived from the original on 23 September 2023. Retrieved 23 September 2023.
  20. ^ a b "Release electron v22.0.0 · electron/electron". GitHub. Archived from the original on 15 December 2022. Retrieved 16 December 2022.
  21. ^ a b "Release electron v21.0.0 · electron/electron". GitHub. Archived from the original on 16 December 2022. Retrieved 16 December 2022.
  22. ^ "Release electron v20.0.0 · electron/electron". GitHub. Archived from the original on 16 December 2022. Retrieved 16 December 2022.
  23. ^ a b c "Release electron v19.0.0 · electron/electron". GitHub. Archived from the original on 31 May 2022. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  24. ^ a b "Release electron v18.0.0 · electron/electron". GitHub. Archived from the original on 4 May 2022. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
  25. ^ a b "Release electron v17.0.0 · electron/electron". GitHub. Archived from the original on 12 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  26. ^ a b "Release electron v16.0.0 · electron/electron". GitHub. Archived from the original on 6 December 2021. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  27. ^ Sawicki, Kevin (23 April 2015). "Atom Shell is now Electron". Electron. Archived from the original on 16 October 2019. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  28. ^ "Etcher on GitHub". GitHub. Archived from the original on 16 November 2018. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  29. ^ msdmaguire. "How Microsoft Teams uses memory - Microsoft Teams". docs.microsoft.com. Archived from the original on 8 December 2020. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  30. ^ "Building hybrid applications with Electron". Several People Are Coding. 25 October 2016. Archived from the original on 16 October 2019. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  31. ^ Bright, Peter (29 April 2015). "Microsoft's new Code editor is built on Google's Chromium". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 7 May 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  32. ^ "Open Source project". GitHub. 29 March 2022. Archived from the original on 23 November 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  33. ^ Singh, Jagmeet (3 January 2017). "People are now even doing machine learning in JavaScript". Open Source For U. Archived from the original on 7 January 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2022.
  34. ^ Proven, Liam (19 November 2021). "Some FOSS gems: Franz, RamBox, Pidgin and more". The Register. Archived from the original on 19 November 2021. Retrieved 26 August 2022.
  35. ^ Larabel, Michael (9 February 2019). "Electron Apps Are Bad, So Now You Can Create Desktop Apps With HTML5 + Golang". Phoronix. Archived from the original on 26 August 2022. Retrieved 26 August 2022.
  36. ^ Sneddon, Joey (23 July 2017). "Seriously folks, Electron apps aren't that bad". OMG Ubuntu. Archived from the original on 16 May 2018. Retrieved 26 August 2022.
  37. ^ Gallagher, Sean (7 August 2019). "Skype, Slack, other Electron based apps can be easily backdoored". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 7 August 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2022.
  38. ^ Hoffman, Chris (15 August 2019). "That native app is probably just an old web browser". How To Geek. Archived from the original on 15 August 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2022.

External links[edit]