[Suggestion] Include Electron app on Downloads page

Hi there, and thanks for creating an awesome service!

As most of us, I’m hoping to convince friends and relatives to switch to safer, privacy-respecting alternatives - and Jitsi slots in neatly. Especially having the Electron app is great, as itreally feels like a slot-in replacement for Skype or Zoom.

Being somewhat tech-savvy, installing the Electron app is easy for me with brew, but not so for relatives. The executables and app images are available on Github, but installing from there seems sketchy, again, if you have never coded before.

So my small suggestion would be to include the Electron images to the Downloads page in the same way as the mobile applications so grandpa can easily install Jitsi. :slight_smile:

What are the benefits you see running the electron app instead of using the browser?

What is the benefit of running anything as an app rather than in the browser? I might be cheeky and counter-ask: Why have you developed an electron app if you don’t want people to use it?

My 2 cents would be that 1) it’s convenient; you can have the application docked, rather than having to go to a website 2) it feels safer (two cents of my family) - and although I know that it’s not, and that it really doesn’t matter, it makes adoption of secure services, such as Jitsi, lighter and easier.

Electron started as an example how meeting experience can be embedded in other apps, and electron is mostly used in such scenarios. That is just browser wrapped as app and loading the web, with very few additions.

In terms of security and productivity, using the browsers which auto update and has the latest features is better than waiting for those versions and changes to go into electron and we update the electron version in the app and then the user to not forget to update…

Sure, I get that. But it’s (from my point of view) a better user experience. And if you take “privacy for all” somewhat serious, then it’s worth taking into account what people have come to expect from a video conferencing software, to make immediate advances over Skype and Zoom. Look at Element as an example, they do just this. ProtonMail have a desktop app on their roadmap for 2022.

If the stance is that you don’t want to include it - which it sounds like - that’s fair, then I won’t take more of your time. Maybe make sure to close the github issue, where it’s been stated that it was on the to-do-list for the past 2 years. And if the stance is browser-only, then it might be worth considering doing something about Jitsi Desktop pages, which still is the first thing people come across trying to download Jitsi.

I’m just worried it gives false impression to users, as one of the most important things about jitsi-meet is you don’t need extra software to install, you just open a link in the browser you use. And this brings down the friction with on boarding new users a lot.

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Where is that? If for some reason you land there there is a warning that not to be confused with jitsi-meet.

Here, but you’re right, there is a small header - but also a big green button saying download. :wink: If e.g. you search for “jitsi meet desktop”, this is the top result.

Also, just to be clear - I’m not here to create friction! I’m loving the service, and just trying to think about what prevents people like my parents from adopting it.

(I’m the one who created the GitHub issue.)

Yes, this is an improvement but I don’t think it solves the fundamental issue mentioned on GirHub. In particular, it won’t help non-technical users. The warning is “If you are looking for Jitsi Meet, the WebRTC compatible video conferencing product click here.” When I tell people that there’s a desktop app for “Jitsi”, they’ll find this one and don’t understand the warning. I think most of the users are not aware that Jitsi and Jitsi Meet are different things, or know what WebRTC is.

I don’t know what the status of the legacy Jitsi is but maybe it’s time to overhaul the website to make it much clearer that this is an old thing? Or take it down even?

If the idea is to “just use it in the browser”, then maybe offering an app is the wrong approach in the first place. I feel that if there’s an actively maintained electron app, then it should be featured.

Maybe it is just a change of mindset that’s needed. We’ve been used to applications/programs for so many years. Maybe considering a Downloads page like that of Element which highlights their web instance first, only on subsequently their desktop-based alternative entrypoints?

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Right, and my experience is that the current desktop.jitsi.org also gives wrong impression to users.

Same here, just trying to be helpful by offering my perspective. :slight_smile:

That is history we cannot erase, and without it we wouldn’t be here. We still use parts of it and for jitsi-meet env, there are people using it and there are people working around it in their free time.
We had taken care to add all sorts of warnings and to make sure nothing from jitsi-meet leads you there.
And I’m not sure, but I don’t think anywhere we recommend using apps other than the mobile apps.

And the download page is organized around the self-hosting install and pointing to the free service. And the later is the one for the regular users.

As I am one of the maintainers of the electron app (which is currently a community effort): To help the more non-technical users, you can point them to this releases page of the Jitsi Meet Handbook (which is not linked anywhere else and not discovered via search engine): Releases | Jitsi Meet

And yes, I also observed that the Electron app helps users in two ways:

  1. Its a controlled environment, so Jitsi Meet does not break in case Chrome or Firefox botches an upgrade (like recently happened with Chrome on Mac https://twitter.com/JaaSOfficial/status/1504501785205125120).
  2. Users who like “rare browser XYZ with locked down settings and broken WebRTC” still don’t need to download another browser, but just download the app specifically for that purpose. I found it a lot easier for them to download and use the app (ie Chromium only for Jitsi) instead of them downloading Chrome which then wants to become their default browser…

But I also understand that the Jitsi team don’t want to give the impression that the Electron app is on the same support level as the web and mobile apps, as its currently just a community effort.

Yeah, I will take notes and will discuss it with @saghul. I agree with all of you that updates are needed.
And thanks @csett86 for pointing that releases page … which I find confusing and wrong, it should not point to the debian repos, but to the quick install guide :slight_smile:

Thanks all for pitching in and @damencho for the patience and listening. :slight_smile:
Just a last comment now we were talking UX of the website: The Download tab on the main jitsi.org homepage is so dominant that it feels quite natural to assume that download is needed. So maybe the Downloads page could also contain a direct pointer to meet.jit.si?

Perhaps there should just be a page titled “Accessing Jitsi Meetings” or “Joining Jitsi Meetings”… something like that. And on that page, the predominant message can remain (highlighted) that you do not need to download any additional software to host/join a Jitsi meeting (you can just click a link and join through your preferred browser). However, for those who prefer apps, the following apps are available:

Mobile

Desktop

I think something like this will help bring all the relevant information together and minimize the confusion? :thinking:

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That sounds like a reasonable solution to me. :slight_smile: