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.
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.
We recommend to use two package.json files (it is not required, you can build your project with any structure).
For development (
package.json resides in the root of your project. Here you declare the dependencies for your development environment and build scripts (
For your application (
package.json resides in the
app directory. 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).
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.
Specify the build configuration in the development
package.json as follows:
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
icns file (or you can put them into the
build/icons directory 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
devDependencies in your development
package.json and your
dependencies in 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 install within 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": true to the
build section 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). [array]--linux, -l Build for Linux, accepts target list (see) [array]--win, -w, --windows Build for Windows, accepts target list (see) [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.jsonPublishing:--publish, -p Publish artifacts (to GitHub Releases), see[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 Linuxbuild --linux deb tar.xz build deb and tar.xz for Linuxbuild --win --ia32 build for Windows ia32build --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.