I've been planning how we might approach the effective retirement of the desktop builds. With this plan, we won't actually really fully retire them: instead we will stop distributing builds ourselves (allowing direct downloads from nwjs.io instead), and gradually unify the codebase with the browser version.
Currently the plan is:
- Instead of providing our own desktop downloads, we will just provide the package.json file which you can add to any NW.js download.
- Replace most NW.js code with the same code as is currently used in Chrome. For example this means deleting all the NW.js-specific saving code, and replacing it with the local file & folder saves as used in Chrome (but ideally without permission prompts).
- The Windows Store download will be fully retired. Users will be advised to switch to either the Chrome or NW.js version.
- We no longer have to manage NW.js releases ourselves, freeing up our time.
- You can download any NW.js version yourself, without having to wait for us to release it. This also includes using NW.js on other OSs that we didn't previously provide builds for (e.g. macOS, Linux).
- We can delete the vast majority of NW.js-specific code and stop having to maintain it with bug fixes and such.
- You can still preview and debug with NW.js features using the editor in NW.js.
- It's largely backwards-compatible: everyone who has already downloaded the NW.js desktop download can keep using the editor with that.
Basically this turns the NW.js version of the editor in to the same thing as you get in Chrome, but with NW.js features still enabled in preview mode. I think this covers everything we want, which is basically eliminating the NW.js maintenance overhead, while keeping all existing features that users rely on (like debugging with NW.js). We'll also provide the NW.js version of Remote Preview on a similar basis, so you can Remote Preview your project with NW.js features active somewhere else without having to send your full project.
Let me know if you have any feedback or if there's anything I missed. I think the next step is to formally notify users of the Windows Store app that it will be retired, so I will do that in the near feature if there are no objections.