Efficient, feature-rich frameworks and toolkits are helpful for building desktop applications. These tools can significantly reduce errors, optimize costs, and promote the productivity of your teams.
In today’s technology-driven world, people are surrounded by various applications that serve specific purposes.
You can find applications on your handheld device to perform quick actions like ordering food online, shaping, booking a cab, checking emails, and so on.
At the same time, you need applications on your desktop or laptop to perform various tasks, such as developing code, analyzing application performance, and more.
Depending on varying needs and challenges, enterprises may need customized desktop applications to handle various business tasks. For this, they typically approach professional application developers in their team or contractors to create custom desktop applications.
Nevertheless, developing a desktop application requires skills, and a professional developer uses various tools and frameworks for handling such projects.
In this article, I’ll discuss these tools, their benefits, and some of the best frameworks and toolkits for developing desktop applications.
What Are Desktop Applications?
Desktop applications are tools developed to serve specific purposes for computer users. The demand for desktop applications is rising due to the introduction of technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, etc.
An ML-integrated desktop application can automate a business process. Also, the application keeps learning while performing the tasks and optimizes its efficiency with the advent of time. Therefore, a desktop application can limit human intervention in a business process and reduce business expenses and improve efficiency.
Types of Desktop Application Frameworks
The desktop application development frameworks depend on the desktop operating system software. A few frameworks have compatibility with Windows, while others are compatible with macOS. The following section will provide detailed information on different desktop application development frameworks.
- Frameworks for Windows applications: Microsoft encourages the development community with various toolkits that you can use for developing the frontend and backend of desktop applications for the Windows operating system. Besides Microsoft, developers can find many other frameworks and toolkits for developing Windows desktop applications.
- Framework for macOS apps: While Windows is the most popular desktop operating system, macOS is not lagging by miles. Therefore, there is also a high demand for desktop applications for Mac OS computers. You will find some dedicated frameworks for developing Mac OS apps, while many offer developers both Windows and macOS development provisions.
- Cross-platform: Cross-platform frameworks are suitable for those who want to build cross-platform applications. A cross-platform application features compatibility with both desktop and handheld devices. However, it should also have compatibility with multiple operating systems.
Why Do You Need Frameworks and Toolkits to Build Desktop Applications?
Building an application without a suitable framework makes the development process extensive and financially challenging. Therefore, developers need frameworks and toolkits for their application development projects to increase efficiency, reduce hurdles, and save time.
Every developer aims to complete projects within the shortest period to achieve maximum profitability and revenue. And these tools help them achieve that. To understand this in detail, let’s discuss some benefits of frameworks and toolkits for desktop app development.
- Error-free Development: Using toolkits and frameworks reduces extensive coding hassles. As a result, coding errors can be eliminated easily.
- Cost-effective: The developers can create complex desktop applications in a short period using the frameworks and toolkits. As a result, the profit margin increases for the developers.
- Feature-rich: Frameworks and toolkits will make your application feature-rich, which enhances client satisfaction.
- Customization: Developers can easily customize an app on the development frameworks. The reason is, customized, tailored applications help improve client satisfaction.
Let’s discuss some of the best frameworks and toolkits to build excellent desktop applications.
Tauri is a perfect choice for developers seeking a framework to create desktop applications for all major operating systems. You can integrate any frontend framework with Tauri for building your desktop application’s user interface.
Some notable features of this framework are:
- Smaller and faster applications: Tauri users can use the operating system’s native renderer for developing apps that are less than 600 KB in size. Hence, you can build lightweight apps that are also faster.
- Rust programming language: Tauri 1.0 uses the Rust programming language, which has become rapidly popular as a language for building next-generation applications.
- Security: Tauri has a dedicated team that works on security patches regularly to make the platform capable of resisting sophisticated cyber threats. Thus, your application would be more secure with lower risks of threats and data theft incidents.
- Relicensing: Tauri makes relicensing a hassle-free affair for the MIT or Apache 2.0 licensing feature. Besides relicensing, it makes application redistribution easier.
Overall, Tauri is suitable for developing small-sized desktop applications that can precisely render fast performance.
Here are some features of this tool:
- Open Source: Electronjs is an open-source platform with a thriving community. Developers continuously add various components and features to the framework to make it more useful.
- Cross Platform: Developers can use the framework for creating cross-platform desktop applications.
Electronjs is a good option for experienced developers who want to experiment using their skills or build complex, heavy-duty applications.
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Neutralinojs is a popular desktop application development framework for beginners. With basic web development knowledge, you can develop lightweight and cross-platform desktop applications on this framework.
- Rich library: Neutralinojs comes with a lightweight and portable SDK, which does not require Node.js installation. A seamless library protects your application from becoming bloated.
- Backend and frontend development: Developers can easily use this platform with any frontend or backend framework, and this allows excellent flexibility to the developers.
If you are looking for an alternative to the Electronjs desktop application development framework, Neutralinojs is a viable option. A few applications may become bulky with Electron, but Neutralinojs can help avoid such problems.
If you are looking for a beginner-friendly framework, Xojo can be a good option. It is a cross-platform application development framework with a simple drag-and-drop user interface. Developers with basic web development skills can easily use this platform to build desktop applications.
The framework has advanced database support, internet protocol compatibility, and graphics assistance. Its notable features are:
- Native controls: Xojo has more than 40 user interface controls that have been created to provide an effortless experience for developers.
- Advanced features: Although Xojo is beginner-friendly, it offers many advanced features. You will get graphics assistance from the platform to create visually attractive desktop apps.
- Active community: Beginners can join the Xojo community and seek assistance from fellow developers. The active community is a significant advantage of this application framework as you might require help at any time, especially at the beginning of your development career.
- Various resources: A pool of resources makes application development on this platform easier. Developers will get access to sample projects, video libraries, tutorials, and many more.
Overall, Xojo is a rapidly growing cross-platform application development framework that’s best for beginners.
Furthermore, the framework offers a GUI toolkit, application APIs, filesystem abstractions, etc. The main features of OS.js include:
- Webpack: The framework comes with a webpack, which consists of various packages and modules. Developers can use the webpack to add features to their apps easily.
- Packages: You can find many resources under packages. For example, packages contain themes, which you can use for developing an eye-catching user interface.
- Modules: Developers can improve and add various application functionalities using the modules.
As the name suggests, the WPF Toolkit by Xceed Software comes with WPF components, controls, and utilities for developing next-generation Windows applications. Professional developers use the toolkit for creating high-performing WPF applications for Windows desktops.
The toolkit is popular among developers, as it has been downloaded more than one million times on NuGet and Codeplex. Its key features are:
- Extensive Resources: The toolkit offers a comprehensive resource library to the developers. You will find multiple controls to speed up the development process.
- Plus Edition: The WPF Tool from Xceed Software offers the Basic and Plus editions. You will get access to additional controls if you are a plus member.
- Licensed: The toolkit comes with a license; thus, developers will not face legal hassles if they use the platform.
WPF Toolkit’s advanced desktop application development is suitable for developers who want to build robust applications for Windows desktop computers.
If you are looking for an advanced and robust desktop application development framework that is also beginner-friendly, try 8th Dev. You can develop an effortless and advanced desktop application using this framework with minimal coding knowledge.
The best thing is that 8th Dev offers compatibility with Windows, Mac OS, Android, Linux, and many other operating systems.
- Awesome built-in features: The availability of useful built-in features makes the application development platform suitable for beginners. Users will get cross-platform GUI support, robust security encryption, REST access, database support, hardware access, etc.
- Unmatched Security: While everyone seeks powerful, multi-tasking, and user-friendly applications, security has become a neglected feature. And 8th Dev considers security as one of the most crucial aspects; and hence, offers strong security control features.
- Cost-effective: 8th Dev comes in multiple versions with different package costs. The basic version is FREE, and beginners can use this version to develop simple desktop applications.
Looking at its offerings, it can be concluded that 8th Dev is a robust and effortless framework for advanced desktop application development. The framework is excellent for beginners, and the FREE version helps beginners to run their test projects.
Flutter on Desktop
Flutter is a popular application development framework. Developers use the platform commonly for developing mobile applications. However, it also provides a framework for desktop application development.
Flutter on a desktop consists of many notable features, making it a desirable tool among developers. Some of them are:
- Native functionality: This framework helps you develop applications with native functionalities. Such desktop apps are more secure, while developers will find access to the underlying Cocoa and Win32 APIs.
- Support for Multiple Platforms: Developers can use the framework to develop robust desktop apps for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. Support for multiple operating systems can also increase the reach of your applications.
- No browser engine dependency: The applications developed on this framework have native features. As a result, the applications do not depend on the browser engine.
The platform is ideal for developers who want a professional desktop application development framework.
Haxe is a cross-platform desktop application development framework, so it can work on both desktop and handheld devices. If you know Java, C#, Python, PHP, and other advanced web programming languages, working with this framework will not be a hassle.
The framework is commonly used for developing business, gaming, and entertainment applications. Its key features are:
- Open-source: Haxe is a reliable open-source framework with a thriving community with many contributors who work on expanding its features. You will also find assistance from your fellow developers.
- Multiple libraries: Developers can find numerous libraries, which simplifies the development process. This will improve the development speed and accuracy.
- Cost-effective: Haxe is a cost-effective platform developed for handling professional application development projects. You can use the framework to create applications with advanced graphics and complex architecture.
Overall, the framework is suitable for developing business and entertainment applications for multiple platforms.
Enact is a suitable application development framework for developers with expertise in React JS. Using this framework, you can easily develop simple, feature-rich, and customizable desktop applications. Enact comes with a simple command-line tool, which makes installation simpler.
Moreover, it has a thriving community with many veteran contributors who can help novice developers. The active contributors also keep adding new features to the framework. Its features are:
- User-friendly: Enact is a beginner-friendly platform for developing desktop applications. The rich React library makes the framework suitable for daily use.
- High-performance apps: Besides the initial setup, the framework offers many benefits to developers. to build a high-performing app.
- Customization: Developers search for flexible frameworks that can offer customizable features. This platform has customizable widgets that you can use in your app and make it cater to your needs.
- Adaptable: React-based applications possess native application-like features. So, you can use Enact to develop native applications for various embedded web platforms.
UWP is an efficient way of building desktop applications for the Windows operating system. The applications developed using the UWP framework use WinRT APIs for their user interface. Its notable features include:
- Security: You can use the UWP toolkits to develop an application with robust security that seeks user authorization for data access. Therefore, the application becomes transparent and trustworthy for the users.
- Availability: The UWP toolkits are easily available on the Microsoft Store for all devices that are operated using the Windows 10 or 11 operating systems. Developers can find multiple ways of earning revenue through their apps.
- Engaging: You can develop an exciting application with push notifications, live titles, user activities, and many other interactive features. The UWP toolkits for developing Windows desktop apps will help you add these features to your app.
Using the UWP toolkit is simple. You need to start an application development project on Windows Apps and check the menu for installing the tools for your project. The platform is ideal for developing applications that seek secure internet connectivity on the device.
Xamarin.Forms is an open-source framework for developing applications for different operating systems such as Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, etc.
You will get a responsive user interface that adapts to desktop and mobile screen sizes and resolutions.
- MVVM Model: The MVVM model stands for a design pattern that decouples the data, user interface, and application logic. Xamarin developers must follow design patterns to build powerful and visually attractive apps.
- Native Features: Xamarin gives access to the native features. As a result, developers can build applications with robust security and seamless performance.
Xamarin.Forms is suitable for building cross-platform applications.
Using the right framework and toolkit for building applications can bring convenience, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency. The developers can save more time and use minimal resources to produce high-quality and tailor-made applications that can meet your client’s requirements.
So, choose the best frameworks or toolkit listed above based on your preference and the project’s requirements to build amazing desktop applications.