I recently read Electron is flash for the desktop. The author takes a negative perspective on the comparison and I’d like to offer an alternate one.
Here’s the thing: Flash wasn’t bad for the web at all – it did amazing things. It democratized access to publishing creative works and designing media-rich websites on the internet. How is that a bad thing? I spent a lot of time on Newgrounds when I was younger creating and consuming content. Without Flash, sites like Newgrounds couldn’t have existed.
Sure, the internet outgrew the Flash platform; still, that doesn’t mean it didn’t do great things for the web while it was in its prime. Yes, it was clunky, It drained battery on mobile devices, and it had security issues which led Apple famously leave out Flash support on its mobile devices. Flash had its fair share of problems but these issues are a small price to pay in exchange for the progress that made on the web.
With Electron, we’re seeing a similar explosion of new desktop software. The lower barrier to entry into creating cross platform desktop software far outweighs the detriment of computer resource usage. A good friend of mine is able to launch and grow a business solo in part because of this low barrier.
Yes, Electron has some bloat and is not well suited for many cases. Is that an issue compared to the creative flood of great new software? Just as Flash carved a path for modern open web technologies, Electron will clear a path for more accessible desktop software development.
I’m all for comparing Electron with Flash but let’s compare them for what they are: great.