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.
- Build version management.
- Numerous target formats:
- Publishing artifacts to GitHub Releases and Bintray.
appdmg are used under the hood.
appdmg (and the platform specific
7zip-bin-* packages) are
optionalDependencies, which may require manual install if you have npm configured to not install optional deps by default.
Real project example — onshape-desktop-shell.
Two package.json structure
We recommend to use two package.json files (it is not required, you can build your project with any structure).
For development (
package.jsonresides in the root of your project. Here you declare the dependencies for your development environment and build scripts (
For your application (
package.jsonresides in the
appdirectory. Declare your application dependencies (
depencencies) here. Only this directory is distributed with the final, packaged application.
devDependenciesneed to be compiled against your local node.js environment. Thanks to the two
package.jsonstructure, this is trivial (see #39).
- No need to specify which files to include in the app (because development files reside outside the
See options for a full reference but consider following the simple guide outlined below first.
For an app that will be shipped to production, you should sign your application. See Where to buy code signing certificates.
Quick Setup Guide
Specify the build configuration in the development
See all options.
Create a directory build in the root of the project and save a
background.png(macOS DMG background),
icon.icns(macOS app icon) and
icon.ico(Windows app icon) into it.
The Linux icon set will be generated automatically based on the macOS
icnsfile (or you can put them into the
build/iconsdirectory if you want to specify them yourself. The filename must contain the size (e.g.
32x32.png) of the icon).
Add the scripts key to the development
Then you can run
npm run dist(to package in a distributable format (e.g. dmg, windows installer, deb package)) or
npm run pack(only generates the package directory without really packaging it. This is useful for testing purposes).
If you use the two-package.json project structure, you'll only have your
devDependenciesin your development
dependenciesin your app
package.json. To ensure your dependencies are always updated based on both files, simply add
"postinstall": "install-app-deps"to your development
package.json. This will basically automatically trigger an
npm installwithin your app directory so you don't have to do this work everytime you install/update your dependencies.
If you have native addons of your own that are part of the application (not as a dependency), add
"nodeGypRebuild": trueto the
buildsection of your development
💡 Don't use npm (neither
.npmrc) for configuring electron headers. Use node-gyp-rebuild bin instead.
Installing the required system packages.
Please note that everything is packaged into an asar archive by default.
electron-builder produces all required artifacts:
.dmg: macOS installer, required for the initial installation process on macOS.
-mac.zip: required for Squirrel.Mac.
-ia32.exe: Windows installer, required for the initial installation process on Windows. Please note that your app must handle Squirrel.Windows events. See real world example.
.full-nupkg: required for Squirrel.Windows.
To benefit from auto updates, you have to implement and configure Electron's
autoUpdater module (example).
You also need to deploy your releases to a server.
Consider using Nuts (uses GitHub as a backend to store the assets), Electron Release Server or Squirrel Updates Server.
See the Publishing Artifacts section of the Wiki for more information on how to configure your CI environment for automated deployments.
For Windows consider only distributing 64-bit versions. Or use NSIS.
node_modules/.bin/build --help to get the actual CLI usage guide.
Building: --mac, -m, -o, --osx, --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] --dir Build unpacked dir. Useful to test. [boolean] --extraMetadata, --em Inject properties to application package.json Publishing: --publish, -p Publish artifacts (to GitHub Releases), see https://goo.gl/WMlr4n [choices: "onTag", "onTagOrDraft", "always", "never"] --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", "osx", "win", "linux", "darwin", "win32", "all"] --arch The target arch (preferred to use --x64 or --ia32) [choices: "ia32", "x64", "all"] Other: --help Show help [boolean] --version Show version number [boolean] Examples: build -mwl build for MacOS, Windows and Linux build --linux deb tar.xz build deb and tar.xz for Linux build --win --ia32 build for Windows ia32 build --em.foo=bar set application package.json property `foo` to `bar`
node_modules/electron-builder/out/electron-builder.d.ts. Typings is supported.
"use strict"const builder =const Platform = builderPlatform// Promise is returnedbuilder
See the Wiki for more documentation.