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electron
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Description

Customize and package your Electron app with OS-specific bundles (.app, .exe, etc.) via JS or CLI

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Electron Packager

Package your Electron app into OS-specific bundles (

.app
,
.exe
, etc.) via JavaScript or the command line.

CircleCI Build Status Coverage Status NPM Dependabot Status

Supported Platforms | Installation | Usage | API | Contributing | Support | Related Apps/Libraries | FAQ | Release Notes


About

Electron Packager is a command line tool and Node.js library that bundles Electron-based application source code with a renamed Electron executable and supporting files into folders ready for distribution.

For creating distributables like installers and Linux packages, consider using either Electron Forge (which uses Electron Packager internally), or one of the related Electron tools, which utilizes Electron Packager-created folders as a basis.

Note that packaged Electron applications can be relatively large. A zipped, minimal Electron application is approximately the same size as the zipped prebuilt binary for a given target platform, target arch, and Electron version (files named

electron-v${version}-${platform}-${arch}.zip
).

Supported Platforms

Electron Packager is known to run on the following host platforms:

  • Windows (32/64 bit)
  • macOS (formerly known as OS X)
  • Linux (x86/x86_64)

It generates executables/bundles for the following target platforms:

  • Windows (also known as
    win32
    , for x86, x86_64, and arm64 architectures)
  • macOS (also known as
    darwin
    ) / Mac App Store (also known as
    mas
    )* (for x86_64 and arm64 architectures)
  • Linux (for x86, x86_64, armv7l, arm64, and mips64el architectures)

*Note for macOS / Mac App Store target bundles: the

.app
bundle can only be signed when building on a host macOS platform.

Installation

This module requires Node.js 10.0 or higher to run.

# For use in npm scripts (recommended)
npm install electron-packager --save-dev

For use from the CLI

npm install electron-packager -g

Building Windows apps from non-Windows platforms

Building an Electron app for the Windows target platform requires editing the

Electron.exe
file. Currently, Electron Packager uses node-rcedit to accomplish this. A Windows executable is bundled in that Node package and needs to be run in order for this functionality to work, so on non-Windows host platforms, Wine 1.6 or later needs to be installed. On macOS, it is installable via Homebrew.

Usage

JavaScript API usage can be found in the API documentation.

From the Command Line

Running electron-packager from the command line has this basic form:

electron-packager   --platform= --arch= [optional flags...]

This will:

  • Find or download the correct release of Electron
  • Use that version of Electron to create a app in
    /--
    (this can be customized via an optional flag)

--platform
and
--arch
can be omitted, in two cases:
  • If you specify
    --all
    instead, bundles for all valid combinations of target platforms/architectures will be created.
  • Otherwise, a single bundle for the host platform/architecture will be created.

For an overview of the other optional flags, run

electron-packager --help
or see usage.txt. For detailed descriptions, see the API documentation.

If

appname
is omitted, this will use the name specified by "productName" or "name" in the nearest package.json.

Characters in the Electron app name which are not allowed in all target platforms' filenames (e.g.,

/
), will be replaced by hyphens (
-
).

You should be able to launch the app on the platform you built for. If not, check your settings and try again.

Be careful not to include

node_modules
you don't want into your final app. If you put them in the
devDependencies
section of
package.json
, by default none of the modules related to those dependencies will be copied in the app bundles. (This behavior can be turned off with the
prune: false
API option or
--no-prune
CLI flag.) In addition, folders like
.git
and
node_modules/.bin
will be ignored by default. You can use
--ignore
to ignore files and folders via a regular expression (not a glob pattern). Examples include
--ignore=\.gitignore
or
--ignore="\.git(ignore|modules)"
.

Example

Let's assume that you have made an app based on the electron-quick-start repository on a macOS host platform with the following file structure:

foobar
├── package.json
├── index.html
├── […other files, like the app's LICENSE…]
└── script.js

…and that the following is true:

  • electron-packager
    is installed globally
  • productName
    in
    package.json
    has been set to
    Foo Bar
  • The
    electron
    module is in the
    devDependencies
    section of
    package.json
    , and set to the exact version of
    1.4.15
    .
  • npm install
    for the
    Foo Bar
    app has been run at least once

When one runs the following command for the first time in the

foobar
directory:
electron-packager .

electron-packager
will do the following:
  • Use the current directory for the
    sourcedir
  • Infer the
    appname
    from the
    productName
    in
    package.json
  • Infer the
    appVersion
    from the
    version
    in
    package.json
  • Infer the
    platform
    and
    arch
    from the host, in this example,
    darwin
    platform and
    x64
    arch.
  • Download the darwin x64 build of Electron 1.4.15 (and cache the downloads in
    ~/.electron
    )
  • Build the macOS
    Foo Bar.app
  • Place
    Foo Bar.app
    in
    foobar/Foo Bar-darwin-x64/
    (since an
    out
    directory was not specified, it used the current working directory)

The file structure now looks like:

foobar
├── Foo Bar-darwin-x64
│   ├── Foo Bar.app
│   │   └── […Mac app contents…]
│   ├── LICENSE [the Electron license]
│   └── version
├── […other application bundles, like "Foo Bar-win32-x64" (sans quotes)…]
├── package.json
├── index.html
├── […other files, like the app's LICENSE…]
└── script.js

The

Foo Bar.app
folder generated can be executed by a system running macOS, which will start the packaged Electron app. This is also true of the Windows x64 build on a system running a new enough version of Windows for a 64-bit system (via
Foo Bar-win32-x64/Foo Bar.exe
), and so on.

Related

Distributable Creators

Windows:

macOS:

Linux:

Plugins

These Node modules utilize Electron Packager API hooks:

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