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electron-connect Build Status npm version dependency

Utility tool to develop applications with Electron.

Using this in your Node.js scripts (e.g. gulpfile.js), you can livereload your Electron app.

It provides the following features:

  • start (and restart) Electron application.
  • reload renderer processes.
  • stop Electron application.


Use npm:

npm install electron
npm install electron-connect --save-dev


electron-connect has server and client components. They communicate with each other using WebSocket. The server component manages Electron process and broadcasts reload event to client, and client components reload renderer's resources.


Here is an example creating a server in gulpfile.

'use strict';

var gulp = require('gulp');
var electron = require('electron-connect').server.create();

gulp.task('serve', function () {

  // Start browser process

  // Restart browser process'app.js', electron.restart);

  // Reload renderer process['index.js', 'index.html'], electron.reload);


A client can be created in either browser process or renderer process. Note: Please make sure it is not done in both.

  • RendererProcess
<!-- build:remove -->
<!-- Connect to server process -->
<!-- end:build -->

Do you want to use this tool for only develop environment ? You can remove the <script> block in your gulpfile using gulp-useref.

  • BrowserProcess
'use strict';

var app = require('app');
var BrowserWindow = require('browser-window');
var client = require('electron-connect').client;

app.on('ready', function () {
  var mainWindow = new BrowserWindow({
    width: 400,
    height: 300
  mainWindow.loadUrl('file://' + __dirname + '/index.html');

  // Connect to server process

If you want details, see example/simple.

API References


  • options Object
  • electron Object. An electron module. Set it If you want to use your forked Electron.
  • useGlobalElectron Boolean. If set, electron-connect uses electron module installed globally (default: false).
  • path String. A path to your package.json file (default: process.cwd()).
  • port Number. WebSocket server port (default: 30080).
  • spawnOpt Object. Options for spawn.
  • logLevel Number. The granularity of the electron-connect logging in your prompt. 0 - warning only, 1 - warning and info only, 2 - all logs (default: 1).
  • stopOnClose Boolean. If set, closing last remaining window stops the electron application.

Returns a new ProcessManager object.

If neither electron nor useGlobalElectron option is set, electron-connect searches for electron module automatically.

  1. First, electron-connect searches electron installed locally.
  2. If not hit, electron-connect uses electron installed globally.

New in version 0.5.x and onwards : Now, ProcessManager's start(), restart() and stop() methods invoke callback with an argument that indicates the state of the electron process, which could be one of the following string values -

  • started
  • restarting
  • restarted
  • stopped

See example/stop-on-close, where you can find sample code that uses stopOnClose option and stopped state to shutdown gulp process gracefully.

Class: ProcessManager

start([args], [callback])

  • args String or Array. Additional arguments used when create a process.
  • callback Function

Starts a server and Electron application process.

restart([args], [callback])

  • args String or Array. Additional arguments used when create a process.
  • callback Function

Kills Electron process if it exsists, and starts new one.

This method is useful for callback of your browserProcess sourcecodes' change event.


  • ids String or Array. A list of id of target client.

Emit reload event to target clients. Broadcasts reload event to all connected Client object if ids not set. This method does not kill any Electron processes.

This method is useful for callback of your rendererProcess sourcecodes' change event.


  • callback Function

Kills Electron process and stops server.

on(eventName, callback)

  • eventName String
  • callback Function

Registers an eventhandler that gets invoked when an event is emitted by Client.sendMessage.

broadcast(eventName, [data])

  • eventName String. A message type.
  • data Object. A message data.

Broadcasts an event to all clients.

client.create([browserWindow], [options], [callback])

  • browserWindow Object. Optional, in rendererProcess only. Required, when client is created in browserProcess.
  • options Object
  • port Number. WebSocket server port (default: 30080) that client should connect to.
  • sendBounds Boolean
  • logLevel Number. See server.create([options]).logLevel.
  • callback Function

Creates a new Client object associated with browserWindow and connects to ProcessManager.

The browserWindow should be an Electron browser-window instance. Once a client is created and connected to the server, client can receive events (e.g. reload).

If sendBounds is set (default true), client sends a bounds object when browserWindow moves or resizes. And when ProcessManager.restart() is called, client recovers the bounds stored at server.

Class: Client


An identifier of this client. It is a same value

on(eventName, callback)

  • eventName String
  • callback Function

Registers an eventhandler that gets invoked, when an event is emitted by ProcessManager.broadcast.

sendMessage(eventName, [data])

  • eventName String. A message type.
  • data Object. A message data.

Emits an event to ProcessManager.