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Gittip Dependency Status

Bootstrap a crossplatform Desktop Application using tools you probably never heard of.

If you're familiar with the node.js world, this sketch should get you informed, if not: an explanation is placed in the wiki.

How NWHS works


  • No this isn't a developer joke. It works.
  • brunch new MyApp to get you started.
  • npm run compiler assembles your application into /_public and watches file changes.
  • npm run app starts your application locally.
  • npm run deploy builds your app for windows, osx and linux. the binaries are placed in /dist after building.
  • bower install <frontend-module> for any frontend-related stuff. jQuery, Angular-plugins, and so on.
  • npm install my-module inside of app/assets to install node.js modules.
  • see the wiki for advanced stuff.

Workflow - detailed

0. Prerequisites

You need the following stuff installed on your machine:

  • Node.js & NPM (see the instructions for your operating system. Ensure that globally installed NPM modules are in your PATH!)
  • Windows Users: Use a Git Bash or the PowerShell instead of CMD.exe !
  • Linux Users: You may have to do a symlink.
  • Git. (Brunch and Bower depend on Git to work.) Windows users: try this, there is a good usable CLI included which should work with the workflow out-of-the-box. The primitive CMD.exe is currently NOT supported.
  • Brunch via a global npm installation: npm install -g brunch.
  • Bower via a global npm installation: npm install -g bower.

1. Bootstrap a new Desktop App!

brunch new MyApp

This may take a few minutes depending on your hardware and internet connection, since this git repo will be cloned, a bunch of npm modules will be installed, including the somewhat big node-webkit, and several bower modules afterwards.

Currently there is a bug within the nodewebkit package. You have to rename node_modules/nodewebkit/package.json to node_modules/nodewebkit/_package.json

2. Develop an AngularJS App on Steroids!

cd MyApp. Place your typical application code under /app. So:

  • /app/styles contains all your stylesheets as LESS files. You may look into /app/styles/app.less when fine-tuning your included CSS-related components.
  • /app/scripts is the folder for your coffeescript application logic, especially your AngularJS stuff. The mighty AngularJS main-module is defined in /app/ and includes the angular module loader and the url routing definitions.
  • /app/partials contains your Jade templates which are compiled and merged into an AngularJS template module. The main index file is located at /app/index.jade and will be compiled to an actual index.html file.
  • /app/assets is the catch-all directory for everything else, like images or fonts. The whole directory, including the folder-hierarchy, is copied as is into the final application folder. If you want to use npm modules inside your application, install them here, and NOT in the toplevel folder! Also, the /app/assets/package.json is used to describe and build your application, NOT the toplevel /package.json!

The App-level structure is basically the same as angular-brunch-seed.

All this assembling stuff is managed for you automatically when you run the following command:

npm run compiler

While this task is running, every change in your /app folder triggers an efficient partial rebuild of the relevant files. Any bower install <frontend-module> triggers this, too.

To run your app locally, just enter:

npm run app

3. Add more modules and plugins!

Gone are the days of drag'n'droppin' your jQuery plugins from diverse websites into your script folders. Just use Bower for anything "browser related". Think of it as a NPM for the frontend. Any components installed by bower are saved in bower_components and automatically inserted in the compilation process.

4. Test ALL the things!

Since your desktop application is basically just an AngularJS app, you can use Karma, which is especially written for testing AngularJS apps end-to-end. (ToDo: configure karma to fire up node-webkit instead of chromium.)

5. Deploy your App!

When you're done building your awesome app, just type

npm run deploy

and you'll have your final application folders located in /dist for each major operating system. When performing this task the first time, it'll take several minutes to download the necessary node-webkit binaries per target system.

So far only tested on OSX and Windows 7/8. The application icon and several minor features still require some work, have a look at grunt-node-webkit-builder if you want to give a helping hand.


MIT. You can assign any licence you want to your built apps, however you should pick the GPL if you are awesome (like lighttable did).


  • Just use the issues section to discuss features or report bugs.
  • There is a thread on HackerNews and one on Reddit.
  • If you have general questions not related to this project, you may tweet to @Hisako1337 (that's me.).


If you like what you see, feel free to tip me some DOGECOIN. Much App. Wow! D6M5ibT5CUe14yWRt8ZmVQkwzp8icio5Yc


Bootstrap a crossplatform Desktop Application using tools you probably never heard of.







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