Electron is one of the technologies that I’m most excited about right now. That excitement is something that I hope you catch on to as you read Electron in Action. As I’ll explain ad nauseam throughout this book, Electron allows web developers the ability to create desktop applications with capabilities that are not available in the browser. It allows you to create graphical user interfaces for our command-line tools, opening our creations to a wider audience that may not be familiar with the terminal. Electron enables you to build applications with web technologies that you couldn’t build otherwise.
Electron hits a sweet spot that’s rare in open source. It’s low-level enough that you will quickly wrap your head around the basics, and powerful enough to allow you to build incredibly sophisticated applications. It abstracts over some of the more tedious things you’d need to do to build a desktop application, while not falling into the trap of relying on too much black magic. The platform is supported by an enthusiastic community that has provided libraries that will help you accomplish a wide range of features with ease.
You might have heard of Electron through Atom, Slack, Visual Studio Code, or any of the other big-name applications that use it. But I wrote this book for the hobbyist or indie developer who wants to build something original and new. Electron is popular among larger teams, but it’s also great for the single developer who wants to build an application that only they might use, or for the small team that needs to build tools for internal use.
It’s a tool that, as you become familiar with it, opens up new avenues that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. When you’re becoming comfortable with Electron, it immediately seems cool, but it might be hard to come up with a use case at first. Let it sink in, and you’ll soon catch yourself walking down the street coming up with ideas for applications you can build.