node package manager

electrify

Package your Meteor apps with Electron, and butter.

Electrify windows travis coverage join the chat at https://gitter.im/arboleya/electrify

Easily package your Meteor apps with Electron, and butter.

TL;DR

npm install -g electrify
cd /your/meteor/app
electrify

Compatibility

Works on all Meteor's supported platforms.

Help

$ electrify -h
 
  Usage: electrify [command] [options]
 
  Commands:
 
    run       (default) start meteor app within electrify context
    bundle    bundle meteor app at `.electrify` dir
    package   bundle and package app to `--output` dir
 
  Options:
 
    -h, --help             output usage information
    -V, --version          output the version number
    -i, --input    <path>  meteor app dir       | default = .
    -o, --output   <path>  output dir           | default = .electrify/.dist
    -s, --settings <path>  meteor settings file | default = null (optional)
 
  Examples:
 
    # cd into meteor dir first
    cd /your/meteor/app
 
    electrify
    electrify run
    electrify package
    electrify package -o /dist/dir
    electrify package -o /dist/dir -s file.json
    electrify package -i /app/dir -o /dist/dir -s dev.json
    electrify package -- <electron-packager-options>
 
    # more info about electron packager options:
    # ~> https://www.npmjs.com/package/electron-packager

Installation

npm install -g electrify

For invoking Electron methods from Meteor, you'll also need to install the arboleya:electrify meteor package. For more info check Meteor x Electron integration.

Running app

cd /your/meteor/app
electrify

Packaging

cd /your/meteor/app
electrify package

The packaging process is done under the hood using electron-packager npm package. The following variables are automatically set:

  • --out -- comes from cli option [-o, --out]
  • --arch -- comes from system [current arch]
  • --platform -- comes from system [current platform]
  • --version -- comes from .electrify/package.json [current app version]

You can overwrite these default values and also set others by passing custom arguments directly to electron-packager after --, i.e:

cd /your/meteor/app
electrify package -- --icon=/folder/x/img/icon.png --version=x.y.z

All the available options for electron-packager can be found here: https://www.npmjs.com/package/electron-packager

Notes

The output app will match your current operational system and arch type.

  • To get an OSX app, run it from a Osx machine.
  • To get an Linux 32bit app, run it from a 32bit Linux machine.
  • To get an Linux 64bit app, run it from a 64bit Linux machine.
  • To get an Windows 32bit app, run it from a 32bit Windows machine.
  • To get an Windows 64bit app, run it from a 64bit Windows machine.

Due to NodeJS native bindings of such libraries such as Fibers -- which are mandatory for Meteor, you'll need to have your Meteor app fully working on the desired platform before installing this plugin and packaging your app.

So, at this time, you cannot package your app in a cross-platform fashion from one single OS.

Perhaps you can live with it? :)

DO NOT use options to output for multiple arch/platforms at once, such as --arch=all. It won't work, Electrify can bundle Meteor apps only for the platform you're running on.

Options

  1. -i, --input - Meteor app folder, default is current directory (process.cwd()).
  2. -o, --output - Sets output folder for your packaged app, default is /your/meteor/app/.dist
  3. -s, --settings Sets path for Meteor settings file, this will be available inside your Meteor code both in development and after being packaged.

Structure

You'll notice a new folder called .electrify in your meteor app dir, its structure will be like this:

/your/meteor/app
├── .electrify
│   ├── .gitignore
│   ├── electrify.json
│   ├── index.js
│   └── package.json
├── .meteor
└── ...

This is a pure Electron project, so you can use the whole Electron API from JS files in this folder. Also, you can install electron dependencies and store them in the package.json file. Note that the electrify package is itself a dependency.

See this folder as the desktop layer for your Meteor app. Remember to check out the index.js file, it constains the electrify start/stop usage.

The electrify.json file will hold specific preferences for Electrify, such as plugins and so on. It's still a WIP, but you can get around it.

Config (electrify.json)

For now there's only one option here: preserve_db.

Set it to true to preserve database between installs. It works by saving the mongo data dir inside user's data folder, instead of being self contained within the app folder (which gets deleted when new version is installed).

Customizing

Let's see how one would be able to do a simple SplashScreen:

var app       = require('app');
var browser   = require('browser-window');
var electrify = require('electrify')(__dirname);
 
var window = null;
var splash = null; // splash variable 
 
app.on('ready', function() {
  splash = new browser({ // starts splash window 
    // >>> your configs here 
  });
  splash.loadUrl('./splash.html'); // create the ".electrify/splash.html" file 
  
  // then move along and start electrify 
  electrify.start(function(meteor_root_url) {
 
    // before opening a new window with your app, destroy the splash window 
    splash.close(); // >>> or .destroy(), check what works for you 
 
 
    // from here on, well, nothing changes.. 
 
 
    window = new browser({
      width: 1200, height: 900,
      'node-integration': false // node integration must to be off 
    });
    window.loadUrl(meteor_root_url);
  });
});
 
 
// .... 
 

Meteor x Electron integration

You can seamlessly call Electron methods from your Meteor's client/server code.

Define your Electron methods inside the .electrify folder:

// `.electrify/index.js` file 
electrify.methods({
  'hello.world': function(firstname, lastname, done) {
    // do things with electron api, and then call the `done` callback 
    // as ~> done(err, res); 
    done(null, 'Hello '+ firstname +' '+ lastname +'!');
   }
});

Then, in your Meteor code (client and server), you can call this method like:

// Electrify.call(method_name, args, done_callback); 
Electrify.call('hello.world', ['anderson', 'arboleya'], function(err, msg) {
  console.log(msg); // Hello anderson arboleya! 
});

IMPORTANT

You can only call methods after the connection is made between Meteor and Electron, to make sure it's ready you can wrap your code in a startup block:

Electrify.startup(function(){
  Electrify.call(...);
});

Upgrading

When upgrading to newer versions, it's important to know that:

~> templates

Once these files exists on disk, they will not be overwritten.

  • .electrify/index.js
  • .electrify/package.json
  • .electrify/electrify.json
  • .electrify/.gitignore.json

~> api

As these files above is never overwritten, in case of any API change that needs adjustments, these will have to be made manually.

~> version matching

Always keep the same electrify version in your Meteor, and inside the .electrify folder, as per specified in .electrify/package.json file.

Questions?

Do not open issues, use the chat channel instead.

Join the chat at https://gitter.im/arboleya/electrify

Problems?

This is very young and active software, so make sure your are always up to date before opening an issue. Follow the released fixes through the HISTORY.md file.

If you find any problem, please open a meaningful issue describing in detail how to reproduce the problem, which platform/os/arch type you're using, as well as the version of Meteor and Electrify, and any other info you may find usefull.

License

The MIT License (MIT)

Copyright (c) 2015 Anderson Arboleya