Tiny web-based mastodon client for your desktop
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Latest commit 9789c36 Aug 31, 2017


Web-based Desktop Client for Mastodon

npm version

Mstdn is a desktop application based on the mobile version of the Mastodon page and the Electron framework. It basically uses Mastodon's mobile page and provides various desktop application features (such as desktop notifications, keybindings, and multi-account support).

screen shot


  • Small window on your menubar (or isolated normal window)
  • Desktop notification
  • Customizable (and pluggable) shortcut keybinds
  • Multi-account (switching among accounts)
  • User CSS
  • Plugin architecture based on Node.js and Electron APIs

Mastodon is an open source project. So if you want to make a new UI, you can just fork the project, implement your favorite UI and host it on your place. Then you can participate Mastodon networks from it.

However, Mastodon is a web application. So we can't use it outside of a browser. This small tool provides the ability to use the Mastodon page in a desktop application window outside of a browser.


Via npm

$ npm install -g mstdn

Via yarn

$ yarn global add mstdn --prefix /usr/local

As an isolated app

Download a package archive from the Release page, put the unarchived app into the proper place, and open it.

Arch Linux (AUR)

Install the mstdn package from the AUR.


If you installed this app via npm or yarn, the following command is available to start app:

$ open-mstdn-app

At first, a dialog which recommends that you create a config is shown and JSON config file will be opened in your editor. You need to fill in the "name" and "host" keys in first element of "accounts". Please see the accounts section below for more information about how to configure the option.

Then please try to start app again. Usage is the same as web client on mobile devices. Some shortcuts are available by default (please see the 'Customization' section below).

Supported platforms are macOS (confirmed with 10.12), Linux (confirmed on Arch Linux kernel version 4.11) and Windows (confirmed with Windows 8.1).

There are two window modes in this app: 'menubar mode' and 'normal window mode'. You can switch them with "normal_window" option (please see below 'Customization' section for how to configure it).

  • menubar mode: Window is attached to the menubar. You can toggle the window by clicking the menubar icon or typing the hot key. The advantage of this mode is that the app does not fill any workspaces. You can see your timeline on demand anytime. Like as menus in menubar on macOS, menubar window is automatically hidden when it loses its focus. This mode is the default on macOS and Linux.
  • normal window mode: App starts with a normal window like a separated browser window. You can put/resize window wherever you would like in your workspace.

In both modes, the app remembers the size and location of its window. So you need to specify window size (or location in normal window mode) only once.

After starting the app, you would see the login page of your instance. Some instances allow to login with other web services. However, Mstdn.app cannot fully support it. If you encounter problems with a customized login feature, please try to login with normal flow instead.


Mstdn can be customized using the JSON config file at {app dir}/config.json

The {app dir} is:

  • ~/Library/Application\ Support/Mstdn for macOS
  • ~/.config/Mstdn for Linux
  • %APPDATA%\Mstdn for Windows.

The JSON file can contain the following key-values:


hot_key is a key sequence to toggle application window. The shortcut key is defined globally. The format is an Electron's accelerator. Please see the document to know how to configure this value. Default value is "CmdOrCtrl+Shift+Enter". If you want to disable, please set this value to an empty string or null.


The color of icon in menubar. "black" or "white" can be specified.


When this value is set to true, the window won't be hidden if it loses a focus. Default value is false.


When this value is set to true, application will be launched as a normal window application. If the menu bar behavior does not work for you, please set this value to true to avoid it. Default value is false on macOS or Linux, true on Windows because window position is broken in some versions of Windows.


When this value is set to true, the application will be launched with the menubar hidden, assuming normal_window is also true. When set to false, the menubar will be visible on launch. Default value is false.

On Windows, typing Alt key shows the hidden menubar.


Font zoom factor in application. It should be positive number. For example, 0.7 means 70% font zooming. Default font size is a bit bigger because the UI is originally for mobile devices. So default value is 0.9.


Array of your accounts. Each element should have "name", "host" and "default_page" keys.

  • "name" represents your screen name. If your name is @foo then please specify "foo" for it.

  • "host" represents a host part of URL of your mastodon instance. If you belong to https://mastodon.social, please specify mastodon.social. https:// is not necessary.

  • "default_page" is a path of the first shown page on app start. If /web/notifications is specified, https://{your host}/web/notifications will be opened when the app starts.

You need to write up this config at first.


If true is specified, Chromium's native sandbox is enabled (and default value is true). Sandbox provides some OS level security protection such as resource access control like tabs in Chromium. However, sandbox also blocks plugins for Electron application.

If false is specified, you can use some advanced features (user CSS and key shortcut plugin). Before setting false to this value, please read and understand sandbox documentation in Electron repo to know what you're doing.

Please note that this sandbox feature is different from Node.js integration in Electron. Node.js integration is always disabled.


Object whose key is a key sequence and whose value is an action name.

Action Name Description Default Key
scroll-down Scroll down window j
scroll-up Scroll up window k
scroll-top Scroll up to top of window i
scroll-bottom Scroll down to bottom of window m
next-account Switch to next account N/A
prev-account Switch to previous account N/A
open-in-browser Open current page in browser N/A

If an action name starts with /, it will navigate to the path. For example, if you set "/web/timelines/home" to some key shortcut and you input the key, browser will navigate page to https://{your host}/web/timelines/home.

Below is a default path actions. They are corresponding the position of tab items.

Path Description Default Key
/web/statuses/new Move to 'make a new toot' page 1
/web/timelines/home Move to 'home timeline' page 2
/web/notifications Move to 'notifications' page 3
/web/timelines/public/local Move to 'local timeline' page 4
/web/timelines/public Move to 'federated timeline' page 5
/web/getting-started Move to 'getting started' page 6

If an action name ends with .js, it will run key shortcut plugin (please see below 'Key Shortcut Plugin' section). This plugin feature requires "chromium_sandbox": true.

By default, some key shortcuts for tab items are set in addition to above table.

Example of configuration

  "hot_key": "F8",
  "icon_color": "black",
  "always_on_top": false,
  "normal_window": false,
  "zoom_factor": 0.9,
  "chromium_sandbox": true,
  "accounts": [
      "name": "Linda_pp",
      "host": "mstdn.jp",
      "default_page": "/web/timelines/home"
      "name": "inudog",
      "host": "mastodon.social",
      "default_page": "/web/timelines/home"
  "keymaps": {
    "1": "/web/statuses/new",
    "2": "/web/timelines/home",
    "3": "/web/notifications",
    "4": "/web/timelines/public/local",
    "5": "/web/timelines/public",
    "6": "/web/getting-started",
    "ctrl+1": "/web/statuses/new",
    "ctrl+2": "/web/timelines/home",
    "ctrl+3": "/web/notifications",
    "ctrl+4": "/web/timelines/public/local",
    "ctrl+5": "/web/timelines/public",
    "ctrl+6": "/web/getting-started",
    "j": "scroll-down",
    "k": "scroll-up",
    "i": "scroll-top",
    "m": "scroll-bottom",
    "n": "next-account",
    "p": "prev-account"

Multi account

If you add multiple accounts to the accounts array in config.json, an Accounts menu item will appear in the application menu.

multi account menu item

It will show the list of your accounts. The check mark indicates the current user. When you click menu item of non-current user, application window will be recreated and switch page to the account.

Key Shortcut Plugin

By specifying JavaScript file to action name in keymaps of config.json, you can write your favorite behavior with JavaScript directly. Please note that "chromium_sandbox" : true is also required (if you don't know what happens with "chromium_sandbox" : true, please read the above config section).


    "chromium_sandbox": false,


    "keymaps": {
        "r": "hello.js"

The script file path is a relative path from your Mstdn application directory. For example, Specifying hello.js will run /Users/You/Application Support/Mstdn/hello.js on Mac.

The plugin script MUST export one function. The function receives a configuration object and the current account object as its parameters. So the above hello.js would look like:

module.exports = function (config, account) {
    alert('Hello, ' + account.name);

With above example config, typing r will show 'Hello, {your name}' alert dialog. You can use any DOM APIs, Node.js's standard libraries and Electron APIs in a plugin script.

User CSS

When user.css is put in your Mstdn application directory, it will be loaded automatically. To enable this feature, "chromium_sandbox" : true is also required (if you don't know what happens with "chromium_sandbox" : true, please read the above config section).

For example, the below /Users/You/Application Support/Mstdn/user.css will change font color to red on Mac.

body {
  color: red !important;

Plugin (experimental)

You can make a Node.js package which is run inner mastodon page.

Plugin is enabled if chromium_sandbox option is set to false. Please read above configuration section before using any plugin.

How to make a plugin

Create a node_modules directory in your application directory at first. And then, please make mstdn-plugin-hello directory. It consists a node package.

The package name must start with mastdn-plugin-.

Make package.json manually or by $ npm init in the directory.

  "name": "mstdn-plugin-hello",
  "version": "0.0.0",
  "description": "Sample plugin of Mstdn.app",
  "main": "index.js",
  "author": "Your name",
  "license": "Some license"

And make index.js as below:

module.exports = {
    preload(config, account) {
        console.log('Hello from plugin!', config, account);

Each package must export one object. If the object has a function as a value of preload key, it will be called when the page is being loaded. The function receives two parameters config and account.

By defining keymaps key you can define plugin-defined key shortcut action.

module.exports = {
    preload(config, account) {
        console.log('Hello from plugin!', config, account);
    keymaps: {
        'alert-hello'(event, config, account) {
            alert('Hello, ' + account.name);

The keymaps object has keymap action name (key) and its handler (value). Here 'alert-hello' key shortcut action is defined. Key shortcut handler takes 3 arguments. config and account is the same as preload's. event is a KeyboardEvent browser event on the key shortcut being called. You can cancel default event behavior using the .preventDefault() method.

User can specify the key shortcut as plugin:{plugin name}:{action name}. In above example, plugin:hello:alert-hello is available in keymaps section in config.json.

Note that you can use below APIs in the script.

!!! Security Notice !!!

Do not leak Node.js stuff to global namespace like below.

// Never do things like this!
window.my_require = require;

How to use

If you didn't try above 'How to make' section, please install plugin package at first. Below will install 'hello' plugin to {app directory}/node_modules/mstdn-plugin-hello.

$ cd {Your application directory}
$ npm install mstdn-plugin-hello

And then write what plugin should be loaded to "plugins" section of your account in config.json. "hello" should be added to the list. If listed plugin defines some keymaps, you can specify it in keymaps section with plugin:{name}:{action} format.


    "accounts": [

            "plugins": [
    "keymaps": {

        "ctrl+h": "plugin:hello:alert-hello"


Note that you can enable different plugin for each your accounts.

Finally open Mstdn.app and open the DevTools via [Menu] -> [View] -> [Developper Tools] -> console. If window is too small to see DevTools, please make window size bigger.

In the developer console, the message 'Hello from plugin!', config information and account information should be output.

List of Plugins

To be made

How to Debug

By setting NODE_ENV environment variable to development, Mstdn will start in debug mode.

In debug mode, app outputs all logs to stdout and opens DevTools for a page rendered in a window automatically. You can also see logs in 'console' tab of DevTools for debugging renderer process.

# If you installed this app via npm or yarn
$ NODE_ENV=development open-mstdn-app

# Package on macOS
$ NODE_ENV=development /path/to/Mstdn.app/Contents/MacOS/Mstdn

# Package on Linux
$ NODE_ENV=development /path/to/Mstdn-linux-xxx-x.y.z/Mstdn

# Package on cmd.exe on Windows
$ set NODE_ENV=development
$ \path\to\Mstdn-win32-xxx-x.y.z\Mstdn.exe

Contact to the Author

Please feel free to create an issue on GitHub or mention me on Mastodon/Twitter.