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beaker browser was cloned from electron-boilerplate.


There are two package.json files:

1. For development

Sits on path: beaker-browser/package.json. Here you declare dependencies for the development environment and build scripts. This file is not distributed with real application!

2. For the application

Sits on path: beaker-browser/app/package.json. This is real manifest of the application. Declare the app dependencies here.

OMG, but seriously why there are two package.json?

  1. Native npm modules (those written in C, not JavaScript) need to be compiled, and here we have two different compilation targets for them. Those used in application need to be compiled against electron runtime, and all devDependencies need to be compiled against your locally installed node.js. Thanks to having two files this is trivial.
  2. When you package the app for distribution there is no need to add up to size of the app with your devDependencies. Here those are always not included (because reside outside the app directory).

Project's folders

  • app - application code.
  • app/background-process - main electron process.
  • app/builtin-pages - start page, config page, etc.
  • app/lib - shared lib code for code that's not in the background process (builtin-pages, shell-window, webview-preload).
  • app/shell-window - the ui controls code (tabs, addressbar, etc).
  • app/stylesheets - styles shared across the app.
  • app/webview-preload - scripts injected into web pages.
  • dist - in this folder lands built, runnable application.
  • build - resources needed for building the app.
  • tasks - build and development environment scripts.



npm install

It will also download Electron runtime, and install dependencies for second package.json file inside app folder.

Starting the app

npm start

Adding npm modules to your app

Remember to add your dependency to app/package.json file, so do:

cd app
npm install name_of_npm_module --save

Native npm modules

Want to use native modules? This objective needs some extra work (rebuilding module for Electron). In this boilerplate it's fully automated, just use special command instead of standard npm install something when want to install native module.

npm run install-native -- name_of_native_module

This script when run first time will add electron-rebuild to your project. After that everything is wired and no further maintenance is necessary.

Working with modules

How about being future proof and using ES6 modules all the time in your app? Thanks to rollup you can do that. It will transpile the imports to proper require() statements, so even though ES6 modules aren't natively supported yet you can start using them today.

You can use it on those kinds of modules:

// Modules authored by you
import { myStuff } from './my_lib/my_stuff';
// Node.js native
import fs from 'fs';
// Electron native
import { app } from 'electron';
// Loaded from npm
import moment from 'moment';

Including files to your project

The build script copies files from app to build directory and the application is started from build. Therefore if you want to use any special file/folder in your app make sure it will be copied via some of glob patterns in tasks/build/build.js:

var paths = {
    copyFromAppDir: [

Unit tests

electron-boilerplate has preconfigured mocha test runner with the chai assertion library. To run the tests go with standard:

npm test

You don't have to declare paths to spec files in any particular place. The runner will search through the project for all *.spec.js files and include them automatically.

Those tests can be plugged into continuous integration system.

Making a release

Note: There are various icon and bitmap files in resources directory. Those are used in installers and are intended to be replaced by your own graphics.

To make ready for distribution installer use command:

npm run release

It will start the packaging process for operating system you are running this command on. Ready for distribution file will be outputted to releases directory.

You can create Windows installer only when running on Windows, the same is true for Linux and OSX. So to generate all three installers you need all three operating systems.

Mac only

App signing

The Mac release supports code signing. To sign the .app in the release image, include the certificate ID in the command as so,

npm run release -- --sign A123456789

Mac App Store

CAUTION: until atom/electron/issues#3871 isn't resolved, the signing procedure probably will make your application crash right after run.

You should install the Electron build for MAS

export npm_config_platform=mas
rm -rf node_modules
npm install

To sign your app for Mac App Store

npm run release -- --mas --mas-sign "3rd Party Mac Developer Application: Company Name (APPIDENTITY)" --mas-installer-sign "3rd Party Mac Developer Installer: Company Name (APPIDENTITY)"

Or edit the app/package.json, remove the // from //codeSignIdentitiy and update the values with your sign indentities

  "//codeSignIdentitiy": {
    "dmg": "Developer ID Application: Company Name (APPIDENTITY)",
    "MAS": "3rd Party Mac Developer Application: Company Name (APPIDENTITY)",
    "MASInstaller": "3rd Party Mac Developer Installer: Company Name (APPIDENTITY)"

You can change the application category too

  "LSApplicationCategoryType": ""

If you insert your indentities in the package.json you can compile for MAS like

npm run release -- --mas

Windows only


The installer is built using NSIS. You have to install NSIS version 3.0, and add its folder to PATH in Environment Variables, so it is reachable to scripts in this project. For example, C:\Program Files (x86)\NSIS.

32-bit build on 64-bit Windows

There are still a lot of 32-bit Windows installations in use. If you want to support those systems and have 64-bit OS make sure you've installed 32-bit (instead of 64-bit) Node version. There are versions managers if you feel the need for both architectures on the same machine.