1.3.1 • Public • Published


There's probably an easier way to do this so if so please tell me but here's a solution just in case.

I needed/wanted to be able to pass messages between Electron windows.

So, this module.


There are IPChannels and IPCSteams. You can think of an IPCChannel just like an http listener on a port except instead of numbers we use strings.

Any window can have multiple IPCChannels. An IPCChannels sole purpose is to listen for connections. Connections are IPCStreams

In browser process

const otherWindowIPC = require('other-window-ipc');

Note you must have this even if you don't use it in the browser process.

In renderer or browser process

  • For a process that just wants to listen for other processes

    const otherWindowIPC = require('other-window-ipc');
    const channelName = "blarg";
    const ipcChannel = otherWindowIPC.createChannel(channelName);
    ipcChannel.on('connect', (stream) => {
        // listen for events on stream
        steam.on('moo', (someArg, someOtherArg) => {
          console.log("got moo:", someArg, someOtherArg);
        // send something to other side
        stream.send('foobar', "foo", "bar");
  • For a process that wants to open a stream on a channel

    const otherWindowIPC = require('other-window-ipc');
    const channelName = "blarg";
    .then(stream => {
        // listen for events on stream
        steam.on('foobar', (someArg, someOtherArg) => {
          console.log("got foobar:", someArg, someOtherArg);
        // send something to other side
        stream.send('moo', "said", "the cow");
    .catch(err => {

Note send works the same as the standard EventEmitter.emit in that you can pass muliple arguments, etc..

stream.send(type, arg2, arg3, ...);

And listeners will receive those arguments


To close a stream call stream.close. The corresponding stream on the other side will receive disconnect event. This is the only hardcoded event. In other words

stream.on('disconnect', () => {
   // stream.close was called on the other side

API / Usage

const otherWindowIPC = require('./other-window-ipc');

There are only 2 functions on otherWindowIPC


returns an IPCChannel and registers the channel.


returns a Promise that resolves to an IPCStream once it has connected to the channel. Rejects if there is no such channel


This is returned by createChannel. It is an EventEmitter that emits just one event connect that gets passed an IPCStream.


Unregisters the channel. Note: Streams created for that channel will still be open and functioning. Closing the channel basically just frees the channelId to be used to create a new channel


This is created by calling createChannelStream or is emitted in the connect event on an IPCChannel.

It is an EventEmitter. Any arguments passed to send will arrive at the corresponding IPCStream on the other side. Arguments must be JSON.stringifyable.

Otherwise see EventEmitter for docs on adding and removing listeners.

ipcStream.send(type, ...args)

This is just like the standard EventEmitter.emit except the event will appear on the corresponding IPCStream on the other side.


Closes the stream. The corresponding IPCStream on the other side will receive a disconnect event.


npm install other-window-ipc --save


You can see a working example in the example folder

git clone https://github.com/greggman/other-window-ipc.git
npm install
./node_electron/.bin/electron example/main.js


  • 1.3.0

    • make it so by defalt createChannelStream waits for the channel. You can pass a timeout if you want it to reject if the channel does not exist
  • 1.2.0

    • Allow main/browser process to also create channels and streams
  • 1.1.0

    • Keep channel to target mapping in main process

      This means you no longer need a to know the id of the window. Just call createChannel and pass a name. Then use that name in createChannelStream

  • 1.0.1

    • Bug fixes
  • 1.0.0

    • Change to use channels and streams so you can easily have multiple streams per channel
  • 0.0.1

    Initial release

To Do

  • Make IPCChannel.close close all streams?

    Currently all channel.close does is unregister the channel. All streams are still open and will continue to funciton.

    Maybe that's fine. The channel itself is just a way to accept streams. If you want to close all your streams then keep your own list of streams. Probably much easier than having channel keep track of streams.

  • Should it not make instances?

    Currently require('other-window-ipc') makes an instance of IPCManager and returns that instance. It's now ready to use. Because IPCManager needs to use global services like electron.ipcMain and electron.ipcRenderer there doesn't seem to be much point in having multiple instances.

    On the other hand you could pass in some kind of prefix that would allow multiple IPCManagers to function. Not really sure what the point would be. Could also pass in an implemention of ipcMain or ipcRenderer.

    If someone really needs this we file an issue and explain. It would be a breaking change.

  • Abstract to the point where you can run channels on top of channels.

    You never know when you're going to need to run streams over a stream. I probably won't try to do this until I run into the use case.


npm i other-window-ipc

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  • greggman