Choosing the best framework for desktop application development isn’t the easiest thing to do. However, the good news is that it’s a tough choice because you have a diversity of options when it comes to the desktop application frameworks.
In this article, we will explain what is the desktop framework, what advantages each of them gives to the developers, and what types of frameworks are the best fit for different projects.
Types of Desktop Frameworks
As we move farther and farther into a society that is completely dependent and ingrained with the Internet, the need for web app development grows. Cloud computing is growing in popularity and web-based apps fall right into line with that. One reason for the growing popularity of web applications it that you can use the internet as your processor, rather than your computer. Lightweight photo editors, e-mail clients, word processing and spreadsheet applications and more are very popular as web-based applications.
They are also not as robust as what you would find through something like Word, Photoshop, or a Windows desktop application. For this reason, desktop applications continue to be extremely popular and extremely useful. Even those applications use some web-based aspects though.
Yet still, in 2018, most of the professional software like AutoCAD, Photoshop, or Final Cut Pro X for MacOS should be launched on your local machine. This is due to the fact, that these heavy applications require all the horsepower of your computer. This means the access to the low-level OS and hardware architecture, and the interface that requires speed, complexity, and precision impossible for the web-based applications launched in your internet browser. We believe that this will be true for the next 5-10 years at least.
When searching for the best framework for desktop application development a quite simple classification can be applicated depending on the tasks your future desktop application should perform.
Desktop Frameworks for Windows App Development
Microsoft provides a development community with an extensive toolkit for the creation of the powerful backend and shiny frontend for the Windows app development. The desktop app framework is accessible and advanced at the same time. It has various pricing models that will fit students who are learning how to design their first desktop application and for the professional desktop software development companies who create the most sophisticated enterprise software solutions. In the first look, the question what is the best framework for a desktop application that is supposed to run on Windows is simple. However, even there is a space for a wise choice even here. For example, depending on the distribution model, you can choose the set of tools for the Universal Windows Platform application development if you’re creating the desktop app for Windows Store or choose the set of tools provided for the development of the regular runtime desktop software distributed as the installation packages.
Desktop Framework for MacOS
Like Microsoft, Apple encourages developers to create beautiful versions of the software product that utilize all advantages of the precise architecture of Apple computers. For the few past years, Apple is moving towards unification of the OS architecture and development tools for all the platforms including iOS, MacOS, WatchOS, and even tvOS. The choice of development tools is not so diverse in this case, but looking at the apps like Logic Pro X which has become the default tool to work with sound for the majority of the sound recording studios and musicians, we can say for sure, that creating apps for MacOS has never been so easy and comfortable as now.
Cross-Platform Desktop Frameworks
Latest tendencies cannot be ignored. After all, nobody wants to write 5 different versions of the same app from scratch. Using the cross-platform desktop framework is the best choice to develop a desktop app that later can be easily transitioned to another desktop platform, mobile devices, and web-application. The key advantage of the working with any cross-platform desktop framework is that you’re creating the unified codebase that later can be reused for the SaaS version of the software product thus significantly increase the target audience. You’ll have a plenty of options if decide to use that type of desktop frameworks and in this article, we will mention the best cross-platform desktop frameworks, which, in our opinion, will be the best fit for wide range of the projects.
What Are the Use Cases for The Desktop Frameworks?
There are many different types of desktop applications that you can design. These are a few of your options:
- Standalone business application: This is your typical application, and is like applications like Word, Excel, Outlook and more. Anything that can be used by someone to make their work more efficient would fall into this category.
- Client-Server Application: This is an application that runs on the computer but accesses information from a remote server.
- Collaborative Application: This is an application that is designed to help people involved in a common task. This is a way for people to work together at once, using the same application on each of their computers.
- Utilities and Plug-Ins: Anything that can help a computer or browser run more efficiently would fall into this category.
- System Apps and Services: Anything that allows the computer to run various other applications would fall into this category.
- Multimedia Applications: This is an application that plays podcasts, movies, video, music and more. iTunes is a good example of this.
- Network Applications: Anything that runs over a network falls into this category.
Frameworks for The Native Windows Development
If you are going to be doing Windows desktop application development, then you are going to want to use Microsoft Visual Studio. The .NET framework used by Microsoft Visual Studio allows you to do many different things, but it also opens a world of frameworks for you to use including Python, C#, C++, Visual Basic and more. It is a subscription-based service but highly beneficial for anyone looking to dive into Windows 10 app development. It has several powerful desktop software development tools to use and is an excellent choice for its many windows app framework options.
The work environment in Microsoft Visual Studio.
When talking about Windows desktop software development – .NET suite of tools is the first that comes to everyone’s mind. Every technology mentioned further in the section about the frameworks for the desktop app development is a part of it designed to help software engineers to complete some particular tasks developing the backend or frontend of the native Windows applications. It is a software framework that was developed by Microsoft 16 years ago and has been a core part of its Windows desktop application development environment ever since. It provides a class library called Framework Class Library, which provides the ability to craft user interfaces, database connections, web-based application development, memory management, network communications and more. When it was initially released, it featured the common language runtime, Framework Class Library, WinForms, ASP.NET and ADO.NET. Visual Studio uses the .NET framework extensively and the two have been intertwined since 2005, with the second version release of .NET. Any question of how to develop Windows applications comes down to the beginning with the .NET desktop framework.
Within the .NET framework is the Windows Presentation Foundation library. This is a graphic subsystem that helps users create interfaces when they are involved in Windows app development. As an important part of the .NET Windows app framework, it has been a part of the framework since 2006 and the third version of .NET. Applications. Since Windows Vista, WPF runtime libraries have been included within the operating system. One of the key features of WPF within the desktop app framework of .NET is to unify user interface elements such as the rendering of 3D and 2D, adaptive documents, vector graphics, and pre-rendered media or runtime animations.
The Universal Windows Platform is one of the biggest changes to come to .NET and the ability to do custom desktop applications and cross-platform applications. The creation of UWP in Windows 10 is one of the best reasons that .NET is one of the best cross-platform desktop frameworks. Essentially, UWP will allow you as a developer to create an application and have that application spread across the many different Microsoft platforms. One entry in the Windows Store, but the ability to reach many devices essentially. This is done through a special Windows application development algorithm.
Want to know more about UWP? Check our article “Windows 10 apps development” dedicated to building software products using UWP.
This algorithm scales your application for the device the person is using. If you make it as a desktop application, then it will be scaled for a smartphone and for a tablet, as well as things like the Xbox if you are making a game. It is one of the biggest advantages of using Microsoft Visual Studio and .NET for Windows app development.
Windows Forms, also known as WinForms, is a class library that has been part of the .NET desktop framework since the very beginning. Originally, it was going to be a replacement for the Microsoft Foundation Class Library, but instead now acts as a user interface tier platform. A desktop application that has been created in .NET using WinForms is an event-driven application. This library essentially is waiting for the user to do something in the desktop application, like clicking a button. In the WinForms library, all visual elements come from the overlying control class. This provides functionality for location, size, color, text, and events such as clicking.
Native Macos Development
While there are millions upon millions of people who use Windows as their primary operating system, there are millions who use the MacOS operating system as well. Focusing only on Windows app development is good if that is what you are comfortable with, but one shouldn’t ignore that huge paying audience and look at desktop frameworks for Mac operating systems.
Cocoa software framework serves as the native object-oriented application programming interface for the MacOS. It has the ability to allow developers to work on application development for iOS, tvOS, and watchOS as well through the Cocoa Touch framework. That framework adds in functionality for animation, certain graphic control elements, and gesture recognition.
Screenshot of the working environment in Xcode 10 – developer tool for MacOS, iOS, WatchOS, and tvOS provided by Apple
To develop applications through the Cocoa framework developers will need to use development tools provided by Apple. These include Xcode but can also be other programming languages used in Windows desktop development including Python, Ruby, and Perl. There is also the AppleScript programming language. All these other languages will require bridges to allow Cocoa to use them, such as PyObjC, RubyCocoa, and PasCocoa.
The Cocoa programming framework helps to ensure that applications comply with the strict human interface guidelines of Apple through special automation included within the framework.
There are many operating systems out there, including the already mentioned Windows and Apple operating systems. If you want to really expand your reach beyond your desktop application, then you need to expand on your desktop software development tools. These tools will allow you to develop applications for iOS, Android and Linux.
If you are a web developer, this is a good framework to use. It uses web standards known to every web developer. This means that web developers can easily make desktop software. Electron also allows developers to work on the core functions of their application, as the harder parts of software development are already handled by the framework. If you are developing desktop applications, this software provides core functions that are incredibly important to an application’s success. These are the ability to auto-update, an install creator and crash reporter.
One of the biggest problems with this framework is the fact that it is not fully supported by Chrome.
As part of the Java framework, SWING graphical user interface toolkit is an excellent cross-platform application development language. With Swing, you can make excellent desktop applications that comply with the desktop app frameworks used by Windows. The entire reason that Swing was developed was to provide a better set of graphical user interface components. Since Swing emulates the look and style of many platforms, it is one of the best cross-platform desktop frameworks out there. It provides many different components that can be used in the Java environment including the typical buttons and checkboxes, but also scroll panes, tables, lists, and tabbed panels.
All swing applications and components are made with the Java programming language and are platform-independent. Some of the advantages of using Swing for a Windows desktop app is that it has a high degree of flexibility and a deep reliance on runtime mechanisms that allow it to respond to changes in its settings at run-time. This allows Swing applications to hot-swap its interface while it is running. Swing also provides component extras to better the user experience including decorative borders for components and component tooltips.
There are some disadvantages though, including the fact that Swing requires Java 2 to run, and if you don’t have the efficient code, it will be slow to run. In addition, components made in Swing that are designed to look like native components may not act as native components should.
When you want to develop desktop applications, you need to make sure you have the framework that is going to work for you. There are several options out there, as we have seen, and each has benefits and disadvantages. Looking at the best frameworks for desktop application development, always remember to look at the following:
- The Cost: If you have a low budget or no budget, then the free frameworks will work best for you. If you can spend more, do so because you get more features and more functionality that will make your applications even better.
- The Features: Some frameworks are full of features, some are bare-bones. There are developers who only want to make their own code, while others love being able to drag-and-drop.
- The Distribution Model: Making an application is one thing, getting it out there is another. Whether you want it out on the web, on desktops, tablets or anything else, you need a framework that handles the distribution for you. This includes good auto-updates, cross-platform integration, and security features.
We hope that this blog post shed some light on the diverse choice of desktop frameworks, desktop development tools and will help you find the best framework for desktop application development. It is hard to not admit, that in the past years purely desktop-oriented software products have partially lost the positions on the mass-market. However, the majority of enterprise and professional solutions are here to stay and won’t go anywhere in the foreseen future. If you’re planning to create and successfully launch the application for desktops you can always count on Existek. We are professional outsourcing company oriented on the desktop software development services with over 8 years of experience in desktop software solutions development for various business domains. Fill in the form on our contact us page or start the discussion in the website chat widget and get a professional consultation.
mobile app Desktop (word processor) Framework Software development Cross platform
- Xamarin. ...
- Qt. ...
- Native Script. ...
- Appcelerator. ...
- Ionic. ...
- Sencha. Sencha Ext JS is great to build desktop apps across platforms with the model-view-controller architecture (also MVVM) and modern UI. ...
- Electron. Electron. ...
- Node. js.
- Kivy. It is open source and supports multiple platforms, you can create Desktop applications for Windows, OS X, and Linux. ...
- PyQT. PyQT is available for Unix/Linux, Windows, Mac OS X and Sharp Zaurus. ...
- WxPython. ...
- Tkinter. ...
- PyGUI. ...
- Plotly Dash.
C# is considered a great choice for Windows desktop apps, enterprise solutions, and even game development, as Unity game engine is built on C#.Is Python good for desktop applications? ›
In my small experience, Python is something that you will want to use for desktop apps. Desktop apps are now classified as Web Apps or Desktop level local apps(that exe file which you already know). The main language that is dedicated for desktop apps is C#.Which framework is used to design and develop desktop applications? ›
Create a WinUI 3 app
The Windows UI Library (WinUI) 3 is the latest and recommended user interface (UI) framework for Windows desktop apps, including managed apps that use C# and . NET and native apps that use C++ with the Win32 API.
While being incredibly useful for the fields of data science and machine learning, Python is also great for developing graphical user interfaces! In fact, it has many frameworks that even beginners can use to easily get started with developing a GUI.Which language is best for GUI? ›
- Python. Python is a high-level programming language used as a general-purpose language. ...
- GUI library. The GUI library contains widgets. ...
- Python GUI. When you write an application using Python, you need to use the GUI for that.
Creating a simple graphical user interface (GUI) that works across multiple platforms can be complicated. But it doesn't have to be that way. You can use Python and the PySimpleGUI package to create nice-looking user interfaces that you and your users will enjoy!Is Electron better than WPF? ›
If you know you're going to be targeting Windows desktop machines, I would definitely recommend WPF over Electron.
JavaFX is a great UI toolkit to write Cross-platform desktop applications. With https://gluonhq.com/products/mobile/ support, it is even possible to write mobile applications.Is Electron js good for desktop apps? ›
Is C# worth learning in 2022? C# is being integrated into every platform, including desktop, online, future technologies, gaming, and services. So, absolutely, you should study C# right now since it will offer you the best chance of getting in and will keep you employed as you advance in your career.Which is better C++ or C#? ›
C++ code is much faster than C# code, which makes it a better solution for applications where performance is important. For instance, your network analysis software might need some C++ code, but performance is probably not a huge issue for a standard word processing application coded in C#.Should I learn C++ or C# first? ›
If performance is your top priority, then C++ is the way to go. If performance doesn't matter that much, you prefer not to get bogged down coding the details of everything, and you want the project done quickly, then you should go with C#.Can Django be used for desktop apps? ›
Django is a web framework, you can't use it to make desktop apps (except if you count those Electron and similar abominations as desktop apps, but, even then, they don't use Django).Is Python better than C#? ›
In short, C# and Python are both high-level, object-oriented, and easy-to-learn languages. They ensure fast development and good performance. However, C# is more clear and organized, and it's much faster at runtime. While Python is easier to learn and write than C# and has vast standard libraries.Can I use PHP for desktop applications? ›
Better performance: Tauri apps also outperform Electron apps in terms of performance, launch time, and memory consumption. Self-updater: Tauri includes a self-updater feature that you could quickly integrate into your application without relying on any third-party libraries.Is C++ good for desktop apps? ›
Being a low-level, object-oriented language, it provides a powerful control on the system resources and memory to the developers. A programmer can use C++ not only for the development of desktop applications but also for systems, browsers, games, and so much more.
C and C++
Both languages are widely used in computer science and programming. C and C++ developers can make use of compilers for a wide variety of platforms, making applications developed in these languages largely transportable. Both C and C++ are considered high-performance languages.
Java is the best for:
Desktop GUI apps.
- PyQt5. Developed by Riverbank Computing, PyQt5 is one of the most popular Python frameworks for GUI. ...
- Tkinter. Another top Python library for GUI is Tkinter, which is an open-source Python Graphic User Interface library. ...
- Kivy. ...
- wxPython. ...
- PySimpleGUI. ...
- Libavg. ...
- PyForms. ...
If you are asking about GUI libraries written in pure Python or C++ then C++ clearly has upper hand.Is GUI programming easy? ›
Creating “some GUI” is easy. Creating one that works well requires experience, effort and time. Main issue is that its very easy to draw a screen and consider the job done, but good GUI takes into account a lot more: You need understand the way people think and map their process to GUI.Is Java good for desktop applications? ›
As mentioned, Java can be used to create desktop applications. These applications can have attractive interfaces and designs, they can store and retrieve data from a database, and much more. For desktop application development, you can use Java Frameworks to build Graphical User Interfaces (GUI).Can I use Figma with Python? ›
PRO TIP: Figma is a vector graphics editor and prototyping tool – it is not possible to use Python with Figma. The Figma Python SDK is open source and available on GitHub. Developers who are familiar with Python can use the SDK to create programs that can automate tasks or create new features for Figma.Is Tkinter worth learning? ›
If your goal is to learn how to create GUIs, tkinter is arguably one of the best toolkits there is to reach that goal. It's simple and easy to learn, and can provide a fantastic introduction to concepts you must master in order to create graphical desktop applications.Which is better Tkinter or pyqt5? ›
Anyhow, in most situations, the best solution is using PyQt, considering the advantages and disadvantages of both PyQt and Tkinter. GUI programming with Qt is created around signals and slots for communication amongst objects. Thus, it allows flexibility, while it gets to the programmer access to a wide array of tools.What is the difference between WinForms and WPF? ›
Difference between WPF and WinForms.
|It can render fast as compared to WinForms, complexity, and support.||It renders slow as compared to WPF.|
Electron.NET is a wrapper around a "normal" Electron application with an embedded ASP.NET Core application. Via our Electron.NET IPC bridge we can invoke Electron APIs from . NET. The CLI extensions hosts our toolset to build and start Electron.NET applications.What is replacing JavaFX? ›
GWT, Vaadin, Qt, JSF, and Electron are the most popular alternatives and competitors to JavaFX.Which is better JavaFX or swing? ›
In short, Swing and JavaFX are both GUI toolkits for Java programs. Swing is the old standard toolkit that features a bigger library of GUI elements and mature IDE support. JavaFX is the newer standard with a smaller library, more consistent updates, and consistent MVC support.Is JavaFX used anymore? ›
Originally developed by Oracle and made an official part of the JRE with Java 8, JavaFX was removed again with Java 11 and continued as the open source project OpenJFX - still mainly maintained by Oracle, but in cooperation with Gluon and other active participants.What is better than electron JS? ›
The best alternative is Qt, which is both free and Open Source. Other great apps like Electron are Flutter, NeutralinoJS, NW. js and GTK+. Electron alternatives are mainly IDEs but may also be Android Development Tools or Game Development Tools.Is NW js better than Electron? ›
Naturally, we believe that Electron is the better platform for polished production applications built with web technologies (like Visual Studio Code, Slack, or Facebook Messenger); however, we want to be fair to our web technology friends. If you have feature needs that Electron does not meet, you might want to try NW.Is flutter better than Electron? ›
Flutter is able to achieve much better space efficiency due to how apps are built and linked together. For an Electron app, users receive a light instance of Chromium as well as dependencies for the app itself.Is C# losing popularity? ›
It depends on what you are doing. If you write low level drivers, kernel modules, artificial intelligence, gaming engines or anything where you need modern programming language and speed and be in full control, then yes, you need C++. I would never say because C# is available.Which is the toughest computer language? ›
C++ C++ is considered to be one of the most powerful, fastest, and toughest programming languages.Why is C++ so hard? ›
C++ is hard to learn because of its multi-paradigm nature and more advanced syntax. While it's known to be especially difficult for beginners to learn, it's also difficult for programmers with no experience with low-level languages.Why do game developers use C#? ›
C# is a simple, modern, object-oriented, and type-safe programming language, and it's the most popular programming language in game development.Why is C++ harder than C#? ›
Difficulty. Many professionals believe that C++ is very complex, whereas C# is easy because of its well-defined class hierarchy. Because C# is a high-level programming language , its code is easy to read. This is key for beginning developers, as they might enjoy the language's simple hierarchy.Which is harder C or C#? ›
If you're only going to learn either C++ or C#, then you should probably go with C# because it's easier and faster to learn and widely applicable. There's nothing wrong with only learning C# and you can write any type of software with the language.Is C# closer to Java or C++? ›
Despite the name, C# is much, much, much closer to Java than to C++.Which software is used for desktop application? ›
- Electron Js.
The Windows API (also known as the Win32 API, Windows Desktop API, and Windows Classic API) is a C-language-based framework for creating Windows applications. It has been in existence since the 1980s and has been used to create Windows applications for decades.
- Get ready for development. Get Started. Install tools for the Windows App SDK. ...
- Start building apps. Overview. Get started with desktop apps. ...
- Design and UI. Overview. Design and code your app UI. ...
- Develop. Overview. ...
- Deploy. Overview. ...
- Community and support. Overview.
- Embedded Systems.
- Windows applications (also called 'Desktop applications')
- Web Applications.
- Web Services.
- Console applications.
If you know you're going to be targeting Windows desktop machines, I would definitely recommend WPF over Electron.Which language is best for GUI development? ›
- Python. Python is a high-level programming language used as a general-purpose language. ...
- GUI library. The GUI library contains widgets. ...
- Python GUI. When you write an application using Python, you need to use the GUI for that.
It's easier than you think
Developing an application is not easy, but it has many benefits. The whole developing process before the launch can take from 4 to 6 months, depending on the app's complexity. Many companies spend up to 10 months on the developing process as they spend more time researching.Which desktop application is created using Python? ›
Answer: You tube, drop box, bit torrent, bazaar, and cinema 4D are the desktop applications which are developed using python. Python is the programming language which is used to develop web applications, software, and for mathematics.Do people still make desktop apps? ›
No, desktop software is not dead and will probably never die. I develop web applications for a living but I rely very heavily on desktop apps (like VS Code and Photoshop) to do it. Web applications run in the browser and browsers, for security reasons, restrict what local resources can be accessed by the app.
Most people ask that can you use HTML to make an app. Well, the simple answer to this is yes. Creating an application using coding is usually a different task. Whenever people plan to start their app development journey, they usually quit their plan because of the hassle they have to go through due to coding.