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Technical Differences of electron-compile

Electron supporting package to compile JS and CSS in Electron applications

electron-compile is a great package that offers a zero configuration setup without a predefine project structure. It surely has its place in the community, but just isn’t comparable to webpack in terms of flexibility, development experience, and community extensions. Below are a few topics on why electron-webpack can be considerably better.

Hot Module Replacement

electron-webpack provides HMR for virtually all code in both main and renderer processes. electron-compile is currently limited to live reloading, which is enough for certain enviroments, but works for only a handful of file types. If you’ve worked with HMR before, then you definitly know it is something you can not live without afterwards.

Runtime Dependencies

Since electron-compile “compiles JS and CSS on the fly”, it currently adds extra dependencies into the scope of your project. Sure, a small handful of modules isn’t a big deal, but keeping production size down in the end is always important when distributing electron applications.

Faster Build Times

Internally, electron-webpack takes advantage of happypack to create multiple worker threads. Combined with Dll support, build times can be significantly faster. It even has some additional optimizations for TypeScript users. And let’s be honest, especially for large-scale applications, who doesn’t want faster build times?

Webpack Community

When using electron-compile you are limited to a specific set of features. Sure you have most of the important ones covered, you just don’t get an amazing and large community that webpack can provide. There are countless loaders and plugins to cover just about everything you may ever need. Not only is the community constantly implementing new tools, electron is explicitly support by the webpack team.

In the end, electron-compile is still a fantastic tool when you need to quickly prototype a project together. It can even be enough for smaller scale applications that may not need all the fancy bells and whistles. But for those accustomed to HMR or developing larger scale applications, electron-webpack has you covered.