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Electron is dead, long live Electron


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Apple Silicon is coming and the apps will use Electron. Better hardware and slower software. It may seem a strange choice. 

In the modern world teams and distribution channels are more important than local data. 

"software-based companies are focused on serving as large of a market as possible, the better to leverage their investments in creating the software in the first place. "

Here is an article of interest.

Apple’s Shifting Differentiation by Ben Thompson - 11 November 2020

https://stratechery.com/2020/apples-shifting-differentiation/

Highlights below: 

Meanwhile, it is the cloud that is the real problem facing Sketch: Figma, which is built from the ground-up as a collaborative web app, is taking the design world by storm, because rock-solid collaboration with good enough web apps is more important for teams than tacked-on collaboration with native software built for the platform. 

Apple’s performance trajectory and unquestioned execution over these years is what has made Apple Silicon a reality today. Anybody looking at the absurdness of that graph will realise that there simply was no other choice but for Apple to ditch Intel and x86 in favour of their own in-house microarchitecture – staying par for the course would have meant stagnation and worse consumer products. 

The fly in Sketch’s celebratory ointment is that phrase “even macOS itself has evolved”; the truth is that most of the macOS changes over Sketch’s lifetime — which started with Snow Leopard, regarded by many (including yours truly) as the best version of OS X — have been at best cosmetic, 

Instead, the future is web apps, with all of the performance hurdles they entail, which is why, from Apple’s perspective, the A-series is arriving just in time. Figma in Electron may destroy your battery, but that destruction will take twice as long, if not more, with an A-series chip inside! 

The vast majority of these apps, though, are made by 3rd-party developers, which means, by extension, 3rd-party developers are even more important to the success of the iPad than Apple is: Apple provides the glass, developers provide the experience. 

I remain convinced that the lack of a thriving productivity software market that treated the iPad like the unique device Jobs thought it was, instead of a laptop replacement, is the biggest reason why. 

the commoditization of software inherent in web apps will work to Apple’s favor, 

This is why many software-based companies are focused on serving as large of a market as possible, the better to leverage their investments in creating the software in the first place. 

Sixteen years on from the PowerPC-to-Intel transition, and Apple’s software differentiation is the smallest it has been since the dawn of OS X. 

Meanwhile, most customers use web apps on their computers, PC or Mac. There has been an explosion in creativity, but that explosion has occurred on smartphones, and is centered around distribution channels, 

Android is more flexible and well-suited to power users, and much better integrated with Google’s superior web services; there are strong arguments to be made for both ecosystems. 

Google’s photo-processing software is generally thought to be superior. What makes the iPhone a better camera, though, is its chip. 

It is difficult to overstate just how far ahead Apple’s A-series of smartphone chips is relative to the competition; AnandTech found that the A14 delivered nearly double the performance of its closest competitors for the same amount of power — indeed, the A14’s only true competitor was last year’s A13. 

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3 minutes ago, Tamagotchi said:

Thanks. Yes, I have read a bit about Chromium but did not appreciate this connection. Makes sense.

Yeah. it basically is a derivative of Chrome apps...and the Atom editor.  I believe it was originally called Atom shell.

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13 hours ago, tony10000 said:

Yeah. it basically is a derivative of Chrome apps...and the Atom editor.  I believe it was originally called Atom shell.

It is interesting to know that EN V6, which is perceived sufficiently responsive, was already written in javascript and based on Chromium as well (CF3).

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4 hours ago, eric99 said:

It is interesting to know that EN V6, which is perceived sufficiently responsive, was already written in javascript and based on Chromium as well (CF3).

I don't think responsiveness is the issue as much as the feature set.  And version 6 uses several technologies including Chromium, SQL Lite, HTML Tiny, libxml, Open BSD, libwebsockets, etc.   Evernote 10 and Notion are a different beast entirely.  Just look at the file structure.  

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3 minutes ago, tony10000 said:

I don't think responsiveness is the issue as much as the feature set.  And version 6 uses several technologies including Chromium, SQL Lite, HTML Tiny, libxml, Open BSD, libwebsockets, etc.   Evernote 10 and Notion are a different beast entirely.  Just look at the file structure.  

Talking about SQL Lite, do you know that it is still used in V10 or is there another technology  to cache the data locally?

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14 minutes ago, tony10000 said:

I don't think responsiveness is the issue as much as the feature set.

Most access is through the servers now so responsiveness is an issue.

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1 minute ago, CalS said:

Most access is through the servers now so responsiveness is an issue.

Yeah, and even with disconnected network, notes are processed at 1 note per second (adding tags, move etc) !  So, the servers are not the only problem. This is an extremely slow (first) implementation, it must be possible to optimize this for sure...

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8 minutes ago, CalS said:

Most access is through the servers now so responsiveness is an issue.

That is because it is now running directly from a web browser (Chromium) rather than downloading the data and accessing it on your computer.   So, you are totally dependent on their servers and your Internet connection.

 

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3 minutes ago, eric99 said:

Yeah, and even with disconnected network, notes are processed at 1 note per second (adding tags, move etc) !  So, the servers are not the only problem. This is an extremely slow (first) implementation, it must be possible to optimize this for sure...

Electron (and the Atom editor) are not known for blazing speed since the are running  Node.js on Chromium.   They will never be as fast as compiled code.

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9 minutes ago, tony10000 said:

That is because it is now running directly from a web browser (Chromium) rather than downloading the data and accessing it on your computer.   So, you are totally dependent on their servers and your Internet connection.

 

Yup, so responsiveness is an issue with V10, hence I am sticking with 6.25.1 for now.  Speed and the myriad of missing function hopefully to be replaced.

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4 minutes ago, CalS said:

Yup, so responsiveness is an issue with V10, hence I am sticking with 6.25.1 for now.  Speed and the myriad of missing function hopefully to be replaced.

There is some optimization that can be done, but you will still be limited by the Internet and their servers on the Electron platform:

https://www.electronjs.org/docs/tutorial/performance

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1 minute ago, tony10000 said:

There is some optimization that can be done, but you will still be limited by the Internet and their servers on the Electron platform:

https://www.electronjs.org/docs/tutorial/performance

Yup.  EN and the rest of us are dealing with the consequences of their development platform decision. 

Maybe the device of choice in this new world order should be a Chromebook or equivalent.  ;)  Maybe x years out when we have 10G and ultrafast servers.  But today, not so much.

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3 minutes ago, CalS said:

Yup.  EN and the rest of us are dealing with the consequences of their development platform decision. 

Maybe the device of choice in this new world order should be a Chromebook or equivalent.  ;)  Maybe x years out when we have 10G and ultrafast servers.  But today, not so much.

That is why I am using Scrivener as an alternate app for stuff I need to have available locally.  It syncs to Dropbox and it is blazingly fast.

 

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1 minute ago, tony10000 said:

That is why I am using Scrivener as an alternate app for stuff I need to have available locally.  It syncs to Dropbox and it is blazingly fast.

Okay.  Point of all this chaos on the forums the last couple of months is that old EN did not have these issues which has generated a WTF response from some not oft seen premium users.  For some of us EN was a one stop shop as a personal data, task, whatever hub. 

Saying Electron is slow is not new news.  Any web server based product is slow relative to a local app.  If they can somehow make the client side dominant in search there is hope for speed.  Function, well that's fully in their hands.

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18 minutes ago, CalS said:

Okay.  Point of all this chaos on the forums the last couple of months is that old EN did not have these issues which has generated a WTF response from some not oft seen premium users.  For some of us EN was a one stop shop as a personal data, task, whatever hub. 

Saying Electron is slow is not new news.  Any web server based product is slow relative to a local app.  If they can somehow make the client side dominant in search there is hope for speed.  Function, well that's fully in their hands.

They obviously made that decision for economic reasons.  They could not afford teams of devs to support Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and the web.  Electron runs everywhere with a uniform code base.  Welcome to the world of SaaS web apps!

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I get the why.  Just not sure of the method.  

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.... I worked for a company where we tried a similar thing with commercial application software, same apps running on different devices.  It was a cluster which was abandoned.  Since then tech has definitely improved.  The core issues haven't changed much though.  🤷‍♂️

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12 minutes ago, CalS said:

I get the why.  Just not sure of the method.  

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.... I worked for a company where we tried a similar thing with commercial application software, same apps running on different devices.  It was a cluster which was abandoned.  Since then tech has definitely improved.  The core issues haven't changed much though.  🤷‍♂️

Electron seems to be a dominant platform for SaaS web apps.  Visual Studio Code, Slack, Skype, Discord, WhatsApp, Pexels, Notion, Wordpress, and now Evernote all use the platform.

 

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3 hours ago, eric99 said:

Yeah, and even with disconnected network, notes are processed at 1 note per second (adding tags, move etc) !  So, the servers are not the only problem. This is an extremely slow (first) implementation, it must be possible to optimize this for sure...

In the mean time, I installed  EN V10.4.3 . 

I did some new measurements and the processing speed per note is improved with a factor 3 to 5, depending on the specific action (note: I did some additional tests and timing is not very predictable) 

The top list is back and the import folder and extra export options are announced for the near future, two of my prio features !

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