Real Icons and Native Apps

In the time since my last post, I learned how to make a real icon file. I’m not saying the image is nice artistically. I’m saying I learned how to make the file so it looks right at different sizes and such. Basically I drew it in Inkscape and exported it as like 6 different square png files at different pixel-widths. Then I used GIMP to combine them and make a .ico file. In GIMP, all you have to do is load all of the different png files as layers and then export to a .ico format. The layers become the different sizes/resolutions of the icon. Making something that looks good artistically is, well, a different challenge.

That leads into my next thoughts. Using Electron definitely does not produce a “native” app. That may or may not matter, but it reminds me of using Java-based desktop apps from 10 years ago. They looked like a foreign element on the screen. Nowadays I’m slightly less aware when looking at an app that wasn’t written directly to the OS at hand.

Electron doesn’t look foreign exactly. Chromium itself is definitely a native app (meaning each version of it was designed and compiled for the OS at hand). But an app built using Electron looks like exactly what it is: a browser on a web page with the menus stripped away so you can’t browse anywhere else.

That is still very cool. I use VS Code all the time, and unless I am ill-informed, that program is also built using Chromium. If I wanted to, I could probably redesign the app’s styles so that it looks more like a desktop app instead of a web page. Do I want to? I might split the difference.

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