TL;DR: You can download the beta app for macOS here. It is pretty neat.
2021 was a year filled with great news at Rows. We added Charts, the Function Wizard🧙♂️, new Integrations, Buttons, and a lot more. And today, we’re excited to kick off 2022 with big news: Our native desktop app is in beta.
The Rows app our the first user experience outside of the constraints imposed by a web browser, and the result of an entire year of research and development.
Why build a native desktop app?
Spreadsheets are the go-to productivity tool for millions of people. Users expect them to be blazingly fast, support millions of rows and handle all the edits, formats, charts, and spreadsheet wizardry at least, as well as James Bond, handles a gunfight while riding a motorbike inside the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
That type of performance is only possible with a native app.
Before embarking on this project, more than a year ago, we tried out another approach - wrapping the Rows web app with Electron. We loaded spreadsheets with thousands of cells, some with text, others with numbers and even JSON objects, and stress-tested how they performed when scrolling, loading, creating cells, and just about anything you can do in a spreadsheet.
In the end, it was clear that relying on a web browser runtime was not ideal if we wanted to achieve the best possible UI performance. And we (and you) want just that.
Taking advantage of the unmatchable performance of native rendering, the app is smooth and fast, which is ideal for big data tables. Without the technical constraints imposed by a web browser runtime, the user experience is way more fluid. As an anecdote, here’s what scrolling looks like in the app:
Another big reason to build the app was the convenience of access. A spreadsheet belongs to that small category of apps that are “dock worthy” - they should be ready to use anytime, and not buried under dozens of other browser tabs, living among your social media, news sites, and that blog article you’re totally gonna read this week.
With our app, you can make your spreadsheets and Rows front and center in your day. And what a sight it is.
The beta app is available for macOS at rows.com/download. (Update: Now the Windows version is also available!).
Please understand the web version includes a few features that are still missing in the beta app, but that’s going to end rapidly. We ship updates every week and will launch out-of-beta later this year. The iOS version is also on its way 🔜.
On the technical front, we are also eager to share with the community the technical details of the challenges that come with the development of a spreadsheet desktop app. A series of technical articles about these are coming to this blog, but here’s the first spoiler: We built the app on Flutter.
App or no app, Rows is building the spreadsheet with superpowers. Get started today for free at rows.com