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    2.6.0 • Public • Published


    The Orbit CLI is used to develop and deploy apps with Orbit. The apps can run in a couple ways:

    1. Individually on their own, in their own window.
    2. Together in a workspace.


    Developing the cli

    To work on cli, run orbit in dev mode as usual with run orbit, then use bin/orbit dev /path/to/custom-app — it should fork a new instance with a running custom app.

    Step 1: Developing Individual Apps

    Orbit App Format

    Orbit app is a git repository (it's recommended to name it with -orbit suffix) which adheres to a set of conventions:

    1. It is a valid npm package (has package.json file with valid npm metadata).

    2. Its package.json has "orbit" section which has the following format:

    • "id" optional, lets you reserve a name in orbit app registry

    • "title" specifies application title

    • "require" specifies runtime requirements for the app, the following is optional:

      • "orbit" specifies the version of Orbit runtime required for this app (1 is the only valid option for now)

    The example package.json for an app could look like:

      "name": "my-app",
      "orbit": {
        "id": "my-app",
        "title": "My App",
        "require": {
          "orbit": 1

    Installing Orbit Runtime

    The CLI lives in app/orbit as orbit. Eventually it will be bundled together with the app-kit under one name, the npm package orbit.

    Orbit runtime is distributed through npm:

    % npm install --global orbit

    After it's installed the orbit command is available on $PATH, try it with:

    % orbit --version

    Running an Orbit App

    You can start an app with the following invocation:

    % orbit run GIT_REPO_URL[#REFSPEC]


    • GIT_REPO_URL is an URL to a git repository with the app source code, this can be a local git repository.
    • REFSPEC is an optional part which specifies git reference to use (commit, branch, tag), it's default to master if not specified.

    Orbit will checkout the app's source code into a cache, install all dependencies and start an application window and configured processes.

    Note that orbit run won't install the app - all app's data can be removed any time. If you want to continue using the app - you should install it, either using "Install App" button or using orbit install command.

    Installing an Orbit App

    You can start an install an app with following invocation:

    % orbit install [OPTIONS] GIT_REPO_URL[#REFSPEC]

    This will install it into your current workspace, which if you are working with a team will install it for your entire team to use.

    By default, Orbit creates your apps inside ~/orbit-[workspacename]/[package-name]. Where package-name is the unique name in the package.json. You can configure this location in the orbit configuration, at ~/.orbit.json.

    Listing Orbit Apps

    List installed orbit apps:

    % orbit ls

    List all orbit apps available (this will lists also apps which were run but not installed, can be used to install apps which you want to continue to use):

    % orbit ls --all


    Workspaces are where Orbit apps live together. They let teams collaborate on their apps.

    Workspaces live in ~/.orbit/[workspace]. Your apps for each workspace are then in ~/.orbit/[workspace]/[app]. Configuration for your workspace lives in ~/.orbit/[workspace]/workspace.json.

    To view your current workspace use:

    % orbit ws

    You can view information on a specific workspace:

    % orbit ws apps

    And view members of your current workspace:

    % orbit ws members

    To switch a workspace:

    % orbit ws switch [name]

    And to create a new workspace:

    % orbit ws create [name]

    Editing apps

    You can edit apps through the GUI by hitting the Edit option in the menu of any app. You can also just work on it through the command line.

    You can run orbit dev inside any app folder to edit it. As a helper, you can type orbit dev [package-name] to edit any app within your current workspace.

    Publishing is as simple as pushing to your git repo. Other members of your workspace will be prompted to update the app with a notification that shows the message you include in your commit message.

    Searching for apps

    Orbit hosts an app store that helps you find new apps. To search them just use:

    % orbit search [query]

    That will return a list of apps that you can install by their unique github repo. Apps that are published in the main orbit repo will reserve their package.json name for easier usage. So you can install search and install:

    % orbit search slack
      - slack  (
    % orbit install slack
    % orbit run slack




    npm i orbit

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