Hydraulic Blog

Why desktop apps matter

I’ve been meaning to write this essay for a while, but the recent kerfuffle over Chrome killing off JPEG XL pushed me to finally do it. This will be an argument in three parts: firstly that desktops are more important than they’re given credit for, secondly that browsers are poorly serving us on those desktops, and finally a sketch of what can concretely be done about it (which is why we built Conveyor).

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October Updates

For the October release we’ve focused on polishing, bug fixes and community awareness. On Windows we improved the appearance of icons in the task bar. We upgraded certificate handling, made it easier to customize the generated download page, fixed some bugs, refreshed the AtlantaFX sampler and integrated Conveyor with the docs for Jetpack Compose. Read on for details.

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September Updates

We’ve updated Conveyor with some new features, and in particular better support for Kotlin/Jetpack Compose. With the improved support we’re laying the groundwork for one possible post-web future.

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Case study: AtlantaFX

AtlantaFX is a new CSS theme for JavaFX that implements a modern design language using the GitHub Primer color system. JavaFX is an advanced and mature desktop UI toolkit that can be used from any language with a JVM implementation, not just Java. You can of course use JVM-first languages like Kotlin, Scala and for Lispers Clojure (via the cljfx functional/reactive UI library). But in addition, thanks to GraalVM, you can also use languages like Python 3, JavaScript, Ruby, R, and even binary languages like WebAssembly or LLVM bitcode (i.e. any language that can compile to these targets can also access JVM libraries).

You can now download the AtlantaFX sampler app packaged with Conveyor and it’ll keep itself up to date as the project evolves from the current early development stage to full production maturity.

In this article we’ll show how the packages were made and along the way, see how to package JavaFX apps that don’t use Gradle. The packaging was contributed upstream and is now a part of the AtlantaFX project itself.

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First update release

Conveyor 2 is out with a huge number of fixes, usability improvements and even a few new features.

It’s been just over a month since we launched Conveyor to the world. Since then we’ve been hard at work fixing bugs, improving the documentation and adding features in response to feedback from the initial wave of users. Before turning to what’s new we’d like to offer a big thanks to our early adopters for their high quality bug reports and suggestions.

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Introducing Conveyor

Hello world! Conveyor is a new tool that makes distributing desktop and command line apps as easy as shipping a web app. It generates self-upgrading packages for Windows, macOS and Linux using each platform’s native package formats, you don’t need to have those operating systems to build them, and it looks like this:

It can do all this from whatever operating system you like because it implements all the packaging, signing and Apple notarization logic itself. Drop it into any continuous build system or run it from your laptop. The results will be the same: a simple config file goes in one end, an incremental and parallel build system processes it and out the other end comes a fully fledged repository ready for publishing. Try installing a sample app and see for yourself.

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