Searching for literature and papers about electron and atom


#1

Hi,

currently I’m doing some research about electron and atom for my master thesis. Unfortunately I can’t find any books and/or papers regarding those topics. I already searched the common databases like acm, ieeexplore, etc. without luck.
Would be great, if someone of you could point me in the right direction (provide links to papers and book titles) :slight_smile:
Thanks.


#2

The only book that I know of about Atom or Electron off the top of my head is Electron In Action. I haven’t heard about any academic papers about Atom or Electron either.

What kind of information are you looking for?


#3

If you do a thesis on this, virtually all of the information available is going to be original field-work via investigating practical applications and performing interviews. If your adviser accepts the subject, there’s actually a rich field of potential assets.

  • After doing their own thing for years, Wordpress decided to make their dashboard into a JS-driven web app, Calypso. They decided to use Electron for a desktop app, and their setup allows them to easily drop in the latest stable Calypso on build time. If anyone has data backing the decision and a clear idea of what impact it has made on their product, it’s Automattic. If you can get an interview with someone there, that could be huge.
  • The folks behind the Brave browser are really committed to their vision of a better Internet, where ads can exist and support web sites without being intrusive or collecting information about viewers. I’m sure they have strong opinions about how and why they built their browser on Electron over making yet another standard desktop app with Webkit.
  • Slack, Discord, Curse, and Rocket.Chat are all basically the same thing: live chat web apps bundled for the desktop. I’m sure they have insights about the benefits or challenges of interacting with hardware using web technologies while maintaining a good-quality data stream (they all cater to programmers and/or gamers, who are some of the most demanding consumers when it comes to quality of data).
  • Cozy is a VM distribution designed to offer users their own personal cloud with community-supplied apps that emulate much of the behavior of apps provided by big, privately-held companies with Terms of Service that allow them to share user data with third parties. Like the Brave devs, these people are idealistic about giving the user complete control over their data. Apparently they’ve just gotten a big infusion of capital.
  • Another company that looks to be on the way up is Nylas, who seek to bring that same idealism to email, with an open-sourced email client, a subscription plan for professionals who want to harness the company’s know-how and server infrastructure to manage their mail, and future enterprise support for businesses who want the power provided by something like Outlook without the limitations.
  • Speaking of Microsoft, I haven’t the foggiest why Visual Studio Code is Electron-based. Actually, they probably just wanted a cross-platform solution that they could support by writing code once. It still seems very novel that one of the original tech monsters is on board.
  • And I’m sure you’re familiar with how some guys from Facebook, Particle, and some electronics hobbyists have built completely customized Atom setups.

And that’s just skimming the published list of Electron apps for ones that stand out as obviously interesting.

Edit: I may have spent more time digging through Electron apps than is normal, and I’m now using a number of them, so this is something of personal interest to me. I’d be very keen to see what sort of data the nerds at Automattic and Microsoft have collected about their choice to use Electron instead of building something in-house.


#4

Thank you @leedohm for the book recommendation and thank you @DamnedScholar for the detailed background information.
I have to discuss that with my adviser, because normally we should use books and papers instead of online sources. But if he gives his ok, I’ll investigate the sources you provided and hopefully get interviews with some of the developer teams.
I’ll give an update once I discussed it with my adviser.
And thanks again guys.


#5

Let me know and I can see if anyone on the dev teams is interested in an interview.


#6

I get that you aren’t expected to have a wealth of primary sources at this point in your career. Masters theses generally can be entirely based on second-hand research, but I sincerely doubt that most advisers would take issue with their students overachieving, provided you practice the diligence due to primary research (keeping interview transcripts and raw data in a form where a person reviewing your work can easily compare them to your delivered paper). Then, if you decide to pursue a PhD, you can point out that your thesis was already high-quality original research, so they’d be stupid to not accept you. That’s how I’d do it.

In this day and age, and especially when the subject is computer science, “online” by itself is not a good reason to exclude sources. That prohibition is a defense against novice researchers who might not know or care how easy it is to put up a web page anonymously with whatever information you desire. But the documentation of a framework like Electron is more akin to a journal produced by the subject of a biography than it is to a poorly-sourced Wikipedia page. If you cite the Brave blog*, that’s like citing a letter from a famous person. Sure, there could be deceit in the text, and it’s guaranteed to be subjective, but it’s useful because it’s the testimony of one of the people working on the subject that you are researching. And unlike historical figures, this is an area where you can verify that anything supposedly written by an interview subject actually was, because you can ask them.

* I picked that one not because you’re necessarily going to have any use for it, but because it’s a very idealistic series of messages that present an argument for the author’s (or authors’) point of view, not unlike the Federalist Papers.


#7

I totally agree with everything you wrote, really. I think the same. I had the same problem in my Bachelor thesis. My adviser insisted, that I must not cite online sources. But in my opinion, it’s hard to find ‘second-hand’ information, when the topic is quite new. I mean how long does it take until a book is published and available for sale? One year? So the information in the book could be outdated. It’s like you said, when the subject is computer science, “online” or first hand information should be the primary source, because everything is changing so fast.