node package manager

electron-builder

electron-builder npm version downloads per month donate

A complete solution to package and build a ready for distribution Electron app for macOS, Windows and Linux with “auto update” support out of the box.

  • NPM packages management:
  • Code Signing on a CI server or development machine.
  • Auto Update ready application packaging.
  • Numerous target formats:
    • All platforms: 7z, zip, tar.xz, tar.lz, tar.gz, tar.bz2, dir (unpacked directory).
    • macOS: dmg, pkg, mas.
    • Linux: AppImage, snap, debian package (deb), rpm, freebsd, pacman, p5p, apk.
    • Windows: nsis (Installer), nsis-web (Web installer), portable (portable app without installation), AppX (Windows Store), Squirrel.Windows.
  • Two package.json structure is supported, but you are not forced to use it even if you have native production dependencies.
  • Build version management.
  • Publishing artifacts to GitHub Releases, Amazon S3 and Bintray.
  • Pack in a distributable format already packaged app.
  • Separate build steps.
  • Build and publish in parallel, using hard links on CI server to reduce IO and disk space usage.
  • electron-compile support (compile for release-time on the fly on build).
Question Answer
“I want to configure electron-builder” See options
“I have a question” Open an issue or join the chat
“I found a bug” Open an issue
“I want to donate” Donate with Donorbox or Paypal

Real project example — onshape-desktop-shell.

Installation

Yarn is strongly recommended instead of npm.

yarn add electron-builder --dev

Platform specific 7zip-bin-* packages are optionalDependencies, which may require manual install if you have npm configured to not install optional deps by default.

Boilerplates

Quick Setup Guide

  1. Specify the standard fields in the application package.jsonname, description, version and author.

  2. Specify the build configuration in the package.json as follows:

    "build"{
      "appId": "your.id",
      "mac": {
        "category": "your.app.category.type"
      }
    }

    See all options.

  3. Add icons.

  4. Add the scripts key to the development package.json:

    "scripts"{
      "pack": "electron-builder --dir",
      "dist": "electron-builder"
    }

    Then you can run yarn dist (to package in a distributable format (e.g. dmg, windows installer, deb package)) or yarn pack (only generates the package directory without really packaging it. This is useful for testing purposes).

    To ensure your native dependencies are always matched electron version, simply add script "postinstall": "electron-builder install-app-deps" to your package.json.

  5. If you have native addons of your own that are part of the application (not as a dependency), add "nodeGypRebuild": true to the build section of your development package.json.
    💡 Don't use npm (neither .npmrc) for configuring electron headers. Use node-gyp-rebuild bin instead.

  6. Install the required system packages if you are not on macOS 10.12+.

Please note that everything is packaged into an asar archive by default.

For an app that will be shipped to production, you should sign your application. See Where to buy code signing certificates.

CLI Usage

Execute node_modules/.bin/electron-builder --help (node_modules/.bin/electron-builder build --help for `build subcommand) to get the actual CLI usage guide.

Building:
  --mac, -m, -o, --macos   Build for macOS, accepts target list (see
                           https://goo.gl/HAnnq8).                       [array]
  --linux, -l              Build for Linux, accepts target list (see
                           https://goo.gl/O80IL2)                        [array]
  --win, -w, --windows     Build for Windows, accepts target list (see
                           https://goo.gl/dL4i8i)                        [array]
  --x64                    Build for x64                               [boolean]
  --ia32                   Build for ia32                              [boolean]
  --armv7l                 Build for armv7l                            [boolean]
  --dir                    Build unpacked dir. Useful to test.         [boolean]
  --extraMetadata, --em    Deprecated. Use -c.extraMetadata.
  --prepackaged, --pd      The path to prepackaged app (to pack in a
                           distributable format)
  --projectDir, --project  The path to project directory. Defaults to current
                           working directory.
  --config, -c             The path to an electron-builder config. Defaults to
                           `electron-builder.yml` (or `json`, or `json5`), see
                           https://goo.gl/YFRJOM

Publishing:
  --publish, -p  Publish artifacts (to GitHub Releases), see
                 https://goo.gl/WMlr4n
                [choices: "onTag", "onTagOrDraft", "always", "never", undefined]
  --draft        Create a draft (unpublished) release                  [boolean]
  --prerelease   Identify the release as a prerelease                  [boolean]

Deprecated:
  --platform  The target platform (preferred to use --mac, --win or --linux)
           [choices: "mac", "win", "linux", "darwin", "win32", "all", undefined]
  --arch      The target arch (preferred to use --x64 or --ia32)
                                      [choices: "ia32", "x64", "all", undefined]

Other:
  --help     Show help                                                 [boolean]
  --version

Examples:
  electron-builder -mwl                     build for macOS, Windows and Linux
  electron-builder --linux deb tar.xz       build deb and tar.xz for Linux
  electron-builder --win --ia32             build for Windows ia32
  electron-builder --em.foo=bar             set package.json property `foo` to
                                            `bar`
  electron-builder                          configure unicode options for NSIS
  --config.nsis.unicode=false

Programmatic Usage

See node_modules/electron-builder/out/electron-builder.d.ts. Typings is supported.

"use strict"
 
const builder = require("electron-builder")
const Platform = builder.Platform
 
// Promise is returned 
builder.build({
  targets: Platform.MAC.createTarget(),
  config: {
   "//": "build options, see https://goo.gl/ZhRfla"
  }
})
  .then(() => {
    // handle result 
  })
  .catch((error) => {
    // handle error 
  })

Pack Only in a Distributable Format

You can use electron-builder only to pack your electron app in a AppImage, Snaps, Debian package, NSIS, macOS installer component package (pkg) and other distributable formats.

./node_modules/.bin/build --prepackaged <packed dir>

--projectDir (the path to project directory) option also can be useful.

Community

electron-builder on Slack (please use threads). Public archive without registration.

Further Reading

See the Wiki for more documentation.

Debug

Set the DEBUG environment variable to debug what electron-builder is doing:

DEBUG=electron-builder,electron-builder:*