Photino vs. Electron

This documentation is in still being developed and we think these sections should be added. Feel free to contribute.

Electron Documentation

Browser Control Used in Native Window

Electron calls this the Renderer process and uses Chromium in a native window. Chromium is downloaded with each app.

Photino tries to use whatever is normally included in the OS:

Host Application

Electron calls this the Main process and uses Node.js which is downloaded with each app.

Photino.Native can be wrapped for any back end (C++, Rust, etc.).

Photino.NET uses .NET 5.

Host Application / Browser Control Communication

Electron uses custom inter-process communication (IPC). The ipcMain and ipcRenderer libraries use ‘channels’- strings that identify which listener to use on the other end. ipcRenderer – can call all Node.js APIs e.g. const root = fs.readdirSync(‘/’) because everything is JavaScript in Electron applications and JavaScript code can be marshalled between processes as strings.

Photino.NET uses memory streams to communicate with the Photino.Native process and ‘schemes’; which are outlet points in the HTML. The standard is to transfer a JSON payload which includes a unique message id, the name of the method to call, any parameters to pass and to receive a JSON payload containing the unique message id of the original call and any response data.

In addition, it's common for Photino.NET projects to host REST services which can be called from the browser control using standard JavaScript in a commonly used communication pattern.

Distribution

Tools

Electron uses electron-forge, or electron-builder, or electron-packager. Photino uses standard .NET distribution methods. Manual Distribution

Code Signing

Mac App Store

Windows App Store

Snapcraft


Automatic Updates

Electron maintains update.electron.js, free open-source webservice for self-updating. Developers can use the update-electron-app module package to initiate updates from the application. Alternately, deploy your own update server (3 to choose from).

Photino

OS Integration

Notifications

Electron Supports a JavaScript notification API for the Renderer process and a Notification module for the main process.

Recent Documents (Windows, Mac)

Electron supports the recent document functionality built into Windows and Mac.

Taskbar Progress (Windows, Mac, Unity)

Electron supports icon with progress indicators on Windows, Mac & Unity.

Mac Doc

Electron supports the Mac Doc.

Windows Taskbar

Electron supports the Windows task bar.

Linux Desktop Launcher

Local and Global Keyboard Shortcuts

Online/Offline Event Detection

Represented File (Mac)

Electron supports Represented Files on Mac OS Browser Windows

OS Native Drag & Drop

Offscreen Rendering

Dark Mode for OS Dialogs, etc.

Web Embeds

Electron supports iFrame, WebView (deprecated), BrowserView (overlaid on top of DOM)

Project Templates

Electron supports BoilerPlate-CLI and there are various tools to help users create new projects. Photino.NET supports project templates in Visual Studio as well as the dotnet CLI

Native Node Modules (native to OS)

Must be built specifically for Electron.

Performance

Security

Accessibility Features

Debugging


Native Menus

Menu | Electron (electronjs.org) MenuItem | Electron (electronjs.org)

Native Dialogs

dialog | Electron (electronjs.org)

Crash Reporting

crashReporter crashReporter | Electron (electronjs.org)

Shell Access

Electron supports Shell shell | Electron (electronjs.org) **Photino.NET supports anything you can do in .NET, including shelling out to the operating system.

Custom Window Title Bar

Both Electron and Photino support hiding the native window's title bar and creating a custom title bar in HTML.