My adventures in Desktop GUI App development-land
(spoiler: I hated it so far)
I am a web kind of guy.
I have been a web kind of guy since a computer technician told me it was too hard for a kid to make a website in the 1990s (yes I still remember you, piece of shit, look at me now!)
But I have also tried many other things through the years, one of them being creating Desktop Applications.
The main reason why I stopped was that I could just WebApp everything, why bother doing loads of crap, learning new languages to generate an exe file if a website would just do fine?
In the last 10 years, that approach seems to be taken by pretty much everyone, thanks to Electron.
The only cons of that are:
- Relatively Big App (~100 Mb) even for relatively small apps.
- Quite a lot of RAM is used even for relatively small apps.
In Modern Computers (fucking hate that word for how much is used) RAM and size of a binary should not be a problem, but I am not a Modern Computer, I am a guy with selective OCD, and the fact that I need to write HTML and ship my desktop app with Chrome bundled it really "grind my gears".
So since I am a sucker for learning new languages, I have been recently learning Dotnet again (on Mac and Linux) and I was curious to see if there were any framework that would allow me to go full Native Desktop app dev, but keeping a low impact on a system.
Which is nice to work with once you get used to XAML and you forget everything you know about reusable components.
I did a couple of side projects:
- A Calculator using their MVVM tutorial.
- A stinking TODO List App, following another tutorial but adding a persistency layer.
- Another f**ng** football manager game (it is in a private repo).
- A small Password Manager - Muscurd-I (because EpicGames and Ubi Launcher kept logging me off and I needed something local to store my passwords).
The Avalonia community is quite nice also, they have a discord server, but they are mostly active on Telegram.
They have been really helpful and I have also been contributing to their doc website.
I found only one small problem.
Guess how big is the binary for the app (if you make it self-contained and bundled up with all the DLLs and external deps)?
~100 Mb ... 😞
So yeah even though it will be dear to me and I might still work on some stuff with it again, I feel like I will be learning something else now.
The next adventure is called Vala. It is like a C#-like language that compiles down to C but it includes GLib (which is GNOME low level wrappers around C API). It looks like it was half abandoned but then gained again some contributors.
Let's see how it goes.