Electron Fiddle Helps You, Well, Fiddle with Code

Electron, the cross-platform desktop app-building platform that thinks your CPU is free real estate, now has its own playground: Electron Fiddle.

Writing that he’s “seen how empowering ‘code playgrounds’ like JSFiddle, Glitch, or CodePen can be for both newcomers and longtime veterans,” Slack staff engineer (and member of the Electron Maintainer’s Community) Felix Risseberg also points out that Electron Fiddle is an attempt to bring the same “playfulness” to the desktop.

Electron Fiddle isn’t an IDE, but it does utilize the same Microsoft Monaco Editor used in Visual Studio Code, an environment many Electron developers are likely familiar with. Fiddle does offer many IDE-esque features; it highlights code, has basic JavaScript error checking, refactoring, and even auto-completion.

One of the core concepts behind Electron Fiddle: code sharing. After you tinker with code, Risseberg suggests using GitHug Gist to share it with anyone (sound familiar?). “That way,” he wrote, “other users don’t even need Electron Fiddle to see the code.” You can also export Fiddle-y code to your IDE of choice with Electron Forge.

It’s reminiscent of Xcode Playgrounds, Apple’s sandboxed environment for iOS and macOS developers who want to explore code before weaving it into their projects. Playgrounds has moved beyond desktop, though; it’s also an iPad app for learning Swift.

Electron Fiddle may also help Electron itself gain momentum. As the Mac App Store morphs into something more robust this Fall, reaching the Mac user audience will be a major focus of many developers. The Mac App Store accepts Electron apps such as Slack, though many developers still choose to distribute their apps outside of the Mac App Store entirely. Fiddle doesn’t uniquely address distribution, but if it helps increase Electron adoption, it might bolster the new Mac App Store, as well.

We should caution that Electron Fiddle is very nascent. “We’ve given it the version number 0.1 on purpose,” Risseberg wrote. It’s also heavily dependent on third-party tools such as Monaco, Forge, and Electron itself, so expect bumps on the road ahead.