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Electron vs Meteor: What are the differences?

Key Differences between Electron and Meteor

Introduction

Electron and Meteor are two popular frameworks used for developing web applications. While both frameworks have several similarities, they also have distinct differences that set them apart. This article aims to highlight six key differences between Electron and Meteor.

  1. Architecture: Electron is a framework specifically designed for creating desktop applications using web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It allows developers to build cross-platform desktop applications by combining Chromium and Node.js. On the other hand, Meteor is a full-stack JavaScript platform that enables developers to build both web and mobile apps. It provides a unified codebase for client-side and server-side development, making it easier to create real-time applications with seamless data synchronization.

  2. Platform Compatibility: Electron is compatible with multiple operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux. With Electron, developers can create a single application that runs on different platforms without any major changes. In contrast, Meteor primarily focuses on web applications and supports browsers as the target platform. While Meteor does offer some support for mobile apps through Cordova, it may not provide the same level of native functionality as a truly native app.

  3. Development Approach: Electron follows a traditional desktop application development approach. Developers can leverage their existing web development skills, but they need to build the user interface and business logic separately. Electron applications are packaged as standalone executables, similar to traditional desktop apps. In contrast, Meteor follows a slightly different approach by allowing both front-end and back-end development in a single codebase. It uses a reactive programming model, which means that changes in the data on the server are automatically propagated to the client, providing real-time updates.

  4. Community and Ecosystem: Electron has a large and active community due to its popularity and extensive use in various desktop applications. It has a wide range of third-party libraries, plugins, and tools available, making it easier for developers to add new features or customize their applications. On the other hand, Meteor also has a vibrant community, but it is relatively smaller compared to Electron. Meteor's ecosystem primarily consists of packages and extensions that enhance the development experience, providing features like user authentication, real-time updates, and database integration.

  5. Deployment and Packaging: Electron simplifies the deployment process by packaging the application as a single executable file that can be distributed across different platforms. The packaged Electron app includes its own embedded Chromium browser and Node.js runtime, eliminating the need for users to install these dependencies separately. In contrast, Meteor applications are typically deployed to a web server using the Meteor deployment tools. Meteor apps can be hosted on various platforms such as Meteor's own Galaxy hosting or other popular cloud providers.

  6. Scalability and Performance: Electron applications can potentially suffer from higher memory usage and slower performance compared to native desktop applications. This is because Electron relies on a separate Chromium instance for rendering the user interface, which requires additional memory usage. On the other hand, Meteor's performance largely depends on the server's capabilities and the efficiency of the implemented code. It can handle high scalability requirements and real-time updates efficiently through its built-in pub-sub mechanism.

In summary, Electron and Meteor are both powerful frameworks for web application development, but they have fundamental differences in terms of architecture, platform compatibility, development approach, community, deployment process, and performance. Developers should choose the framework that best suits their project requirements and preferred development style.

Decisions about Electron and Meteor
Lucas Litton
Founder & CEO at Macombey · | 13 upvotes · 553.2K views

Next.js is probably the most enjoyable React framework our team could have picked. The development is an extremely smooth process, the file structure is beautiful and organized, and the speed is no joke. Our work with Next.js comes out much faster than if it was built on pure React or frameworks alike. We were previously developing all of our projects in Meteor before making the switch. We left Meteor due to the slow compiler and website speed. We deploy all of our Next.js projects on Vercel.

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This basically came down to two things: performance on compute-heavy tasks and a need for good tooling. We used to have a Meteor based Node.js application which worked great for RAD and getting a working prototype in a short time, but we felt pains trying to scale it, especially when doing anything involving crunching data, which Node sucks at. We also had bad experience with tooling support for doing large scale refactorings in Javascript compared to the best-in-class tools available for Java (IntelliJ). Given the heavy domain and very involved logic we wanted good tooling support to be able to do great refactorings that are just not possible in Javascript. Java is an old warhorse, but it performs fantastically and we have not regretted going down this route, avoiding "enterprise" smells and going as lightweight as we can, using Jdbi instead of Persistence API, a homegrown Actor Model library for massive concurrency, etc ...

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Shared insights

The problem I have is I know the differences between Electron and Meteor but I don't know how Gatsbyjs fits with that or if its completely different and if Gatsby can be used with Meteor or Electron.

I am creating a web application using HTML, CSS, and react-redux and I want to have it built across all platforms desktop (Mac, Linux, Windows) and iOS/iPadOS. Also I am using Netlify to upload my webite which I already have a domain for.

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Pros of Electron
Pros of Meteor
  • 69
    Easy to make rich cross platform desktop applications
  • 53
    Open source
  • 14
    Great looking apps such as Slack and Visual Studio Code
  • 8
    Because it's cross platform
  • 4
    Use Node.js in the Main Process
  • 252
    Real-time
  • 200
    Full stack, one language
  • 183
    Best app dev platform available today
  • 155
    Data synchronization
  • 152
    Javascript
  • 118
    Focus on your product not the plumbing
  • 107
    Hot code pushes
  • 106
    Open source
  • 102
    Live page updates
  • 92
    Latency compensation
  • 39
    Ultra-simple development environment
  • 29
    Real time awesome
  • 29
    Smart Packages
  • 23
    Great for beginners
  • 22
    Direct Cordova integration
  • 16
    Better than Rails
  • 15
    Less moving parts
  • 13
    It's just amazing
  • 10
    Blaze
  • 8
    Great community support
  • 8
    Plugins for everything
  • 6
    One command spits out android and ios ready apps.
  • 5
    It just works
  • 5
    0 to Production in no time
  • 4
    Coding Speed
  • 4
    Easy deployment
  • 4
    Is Agile in development hybrid(mobile/web)
  • 4
    You can grok it in a day. No ng nonsense
  • 2
    Easy yet powerful
  • 2
    AngularJS Integration
  • 2
    One Code => 3 Platforms: Web, Android and IOS
  • 2
    Community
  • 1
    Easy Setup
  • 1
    Free
  • 1
    Nosql
  • 1
    Hookie friendly
  • 1
    High quality, very few bugs
  • 1
    Stack available on Codeanywhere
  • 1
    Real time
  • 1
    Friendly to use

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Cons of Electron
Cons of Meteor
  • 18
    Uses a lot of memory
  • 8
    User experience never as good as a native app
  • 4
    No proper documentation
  • 4
    Does not native
  • 1
    Each app needs to install a new chromium + nodejs
  • 1
    Wrong reference for dom inspection
  • 5
    Does not scale well
  • 4
    Hard to debug issues on the server-side
  • 4
    Heavily CPU bound

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- No public GitHub repository available -

What is Electron?

With Electron, creating a desktop application for your company or idea is easy. Initially developed for GitHub's Atom editor, Electron has since been used to create applications by companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Slack, and Docker. The Electron framework lets you write cross-platform desktop applications using JavaScript, HTML and CSS. It is based on io.js and Chromium and is used in the Atom editor.

What is Meteor?

A Meteor application is a mix of JavaScript that runs inside a client web browser, JavaScript that runs on the Meteor server inside a Node.js container, and all the supporting HTML fragments, CSS rules, and static assets.

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What are some alternatives to Electron and Meteor?
Photon
The fastest way to build beautiful Electron apps using simple HTML and CSS. Underneath it all is Electron. Originally built for GitHub's Atom text editor, Electron is the easiest way to build cross-platform desktop applications.
React Native Desktop
Build OS X desktop apps using React Native.
React Native
React Native enables you to build world-class application experiences on native platforms using a consistent developer experience based on JavaScript and React. The focus of React Native is on developer efficiency across all the platforms you care about - learn once, write anywhere. Facebook uses React Native in multiple production apps and will continue investing in React Native.
React
Lots of people use React as the V in MVC. Since React makes no assumptions about the rest of your technology stack, it's easy to try it out on a small feature in an existing project.
JavaScript
JavaScript is most known as the scripting language for Web pages, but used in many non-browser environments as well such as node.js or Apache CouchDB. It is a prototype-based, multi-paradigm scripting language that is dynamic,and supports object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles.
See all alternatives