Saying goodbye to the Electron version of Dot Browser
Saturday, August 8, 2020 ()
Starting 22nd August 2020, all previous versions of Electron will become deprecated and we will no longer provide support for them. We won't be removing the downloads, but we will be moving those old versions to an archive page.
The reason why we've decided to make this bold change is because Electron isn't very great. Electron was never designed to make web browsers or large applications, it was designed for people and companies to convert their existing web apps into full-on applications for use on the desktop.
We realised it was time to move on from Electron and start a new chapter; the C++ chapter.
We started learning C++ because we knew our users enjoyed the Chromium experience, so we forked it and started working on it. Don't worry, the story doesn't end here though.
Chromium is a massive project, and massive projects take hours to compile. On my machine it took 8 and a half hours to build the whole project which isn't ideal.
So we looked into other options, and immediately turned to Firefox. Firefox is brilliant, they have a life-saving feature called "Artifact builds". Artifact builds fetch a premade Firefox binary from Mozilla and then just link up the frontend of the browser with the binary.
For normal people: Mozilla would send us a Firefox application already build and then we would link up the user interface with the browser application. You could think about it like this: Mozilla send us some delicious ham, and we add the cheese and bread.
Firefox also has a "full-fat" build mode, which means we would build the whole project ourselves without Mozilla sending us their delicious ham, meaning we would make the whole sandwich on our machines. We were surprised that the build only took 3 hours which is a massive improvement compared to Chromium's abysmal 8 hour build time.
We had a few hiccups with the build, but thanks to Trevor and Curly's Rust knowledge, we managed to resolve those issues pretty quickly.
We still have a long way to go with our version of Firefox and we're going to be making a whole bunch of changes to the code in the coming weeks, notably redesigning the UI, and moving the bookmarks and history to a separate web page instead of using that dated sidebar.
We're excited for the future of Dot Browser, and we hope you are too!
Written by EnderDev (@EnderDev_)