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Build cross platform desktop apps with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS (without Electron)
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cmake init 🎉 Jun 6, 2018
.style.cfg init 🎉 Jun 6, 2018
LICENSE.txt Update Jun 15, 2018


Tau uses Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF3) as "webview" and Node.js as main process runtime. It is meant to be a safer Electron alternative.

Quick Links


First install some necessary tools and download the project source code.

1. Install CMake, a cross-platform open-source build system. Version or newer is required.

2. Install Python. Version 2.x is required. If Python is not installed to the default location you can set the PYTHON_EXECUTABLE environment variable before running CMake (watch for errors during the CMake generation step below).

3. Install platform-specific build tools.

  • Linux: Currently supported distributions include Debian Wheezy, Ubuntu Precise, and related. Ubuntu 14.04 64-bit is recommended. Newer versions will likely also work but may not have been tested. Required packages include: build-essential, libgtk2.0-dev, libgtkglext1-dev.
  • macOS: Xcode 6 or newer building on macOS 10.9 (Mavericks) or newer is required. Xcode 8.3 and macOS 10.12 (Sierra) are recommended. The Xcode command-line tools must also be installed. Only 64-bit builds are supported on macOS.
  • Windows: Visual Studio 2013 or newer building on Windows 7 or newer is required. Visual Studio 2017 and Windows 10 64-bit are recommended.

4. Download the tau source code by using Git command-line tools:

git clone


Now run CMake which will download the CEF binary distribution from the Spotify automated builder and generate build files for your platform. Then build using platform build tools. For example, using the most recent tool versions on each platform:

cd tau

# Create and enter the build directory.
mkdir build
cd build

# To perform a Linux build using a 32-bit CEF binary distribution on a 32-bit
# Linux platform or a 64-bit CEF binary distribution on a 64-bit Linux platform:
cmake -G "Unix Makefiles" -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release ..
make -j4 tau tau

# To perform a macOS build using a 64-bit CEF binary distribution:
cmake -G "Xcode" ..
# Then, open build\tau.xcodeproj in Xcode and select Product > Build.

# To perform a Windows build using a 32-bit CEF binary distribution:
cmake -G "Visual Studio 15" ..
# Then, open build\tau.sln in Visual Studio 2017 and select Build > Build Solution.

# To perform a Windows build using a 64-bit CEF binary distribution:
cmake -G "Visual Studio 15 Win64" ..
# Then, open build\tau.sln in Visual Studio 2017 and select Build > Build Solution.

CMake supports different generators on each platform. Run cmake --help to list all supported generators. Generators that have been tested include:

  • Linux: Ninja, Unix Makefiles
  • macOS: Ninja, Xcode 6+
  • Windows: Ninja, Visual Studio 2013+

Ninja is a cross-platform open-source tool for running fast builds using pre-installed platform toolchains (GNU, clang, Xcode or MSVC). See comments in the "third_party/cef/cef_binary_*/CMakeLists.txt" file for Ninja usage instructions.

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