Challenges in Developing Desktop Web Apps: a Study of Stack Overflow and GitHub
Software companies have an interest in reaching the maximum amount of potential customers while, at the same time, providing a frictionless experience. Desktop web app frameworks are promising in this respect, allowing developers and companies to reuse existing code and knowledge of web applications to create of cross-platform apps integrated with native APIs. Despite their growing popularity, existing challenges in adopting these technologies have not been documented and it is hard for individuals and companies to weigh their pros and cons.
In this paper, we address this issue by investigating the challenges that developers frequently experience when employing these technologies. To achieve this goal, we mine and apply topic modeling techniques to a dataset of 10,822 Stack Overflow posts related to desktop web application development. Analyzing the resulting topics, we found that: i) despite frameworks’ efforts, developers often experience issues regarding the build and deployment processes for multiple platforms; ii) reuse of existing libraries and development tools in the context of desktop applications is cumbersome; iii) hard to solve issues frequently arise when interacting with native APIs. Furthermore, we confirm our finding by providing evidence that identified issues are present in issue reports of 453 open-source applications publicly hosted on GitHub.