RT Cunningham


Electron Apps and AppImage Files - Easy Software Solutions

Electron Apps I’ve been vaguely aware of both Electron apps and AppImage files for some time. Today was the first time working with either one.

In the past, if I was offered the choice of a package in an AppImage format and something else, I always chose something else. I didn’t understand AppImage files and I didn’t want to understand them. I was way busier with other things than I am today.

Electron Apps are Easy to Use

Extremely easy. The first step is to download one from a page that links to the Electron apps page. Every app I’ve downloaded so far has been packaged as an AppImage file, except for one. The next step is to right-click on it, select properties, click on permissions and tick the box for “Allow executing file as a program”. I’m not a command line commando.

Electron combines Chromium and Node.js into a single runtime and Electron apps can be packaged for Windows, Mac and Linux. An AppImage is a format for distributing portable software on Linux or software that doesn’t need to be installed to work.

I discovered Electron apps when I messed around with the Windows 95 project and became reacquainted with AppImage files at the same time. Windows 95 is far more horrible than I remember.

The Electron Apps I Like So Far

I’m not going to mention more than one, and that one is ODrive. It’s an unofficial Google Drive client and it’s two years old. I bought overGrive, another unofficial Google Drive client, sometime in 2016. It wasn’t expensive at $4.99 and I don’t regret it. ODrive works just as well, even if it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles.

I’ll continue to use overGrive simply because I’m used to it, but it’s nice to have a backup solution if it stops working for some reason. Anyway…

There are a lot of Electron apps available and I intend to test more than a few of them. The next time I’m given a choice between an AppImage file and something else, I think I’ll choose the AppImage file. AppImage files are only for Linux but Electron apps can be created for any platform.

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By RT Cunningham
February 10, 2019

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