Run code inside a hidden Electron window
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Run code inside a hidden Electron window

electron-eval gives you a way to access a headless browser (Chromium) from Node.js. This can be useful for testing browser-specific code, or using web APIs that are in browsers but not yet in Node (such as WebRTC).

Running on Headless Machines

This module runs without any prior setup on non-headless machines.

To run on a headless Linux server, you'll need the xvfb package:

$ sudo apt-get install xvfb

To run in Travis CI, see the .travis.yml file for this repo as an example of how to install the necessary packages.


npm install electron-eval

var electronEval = require('electron-eval')

// create new electron instance
var daemon = electronEval()

daemon.eval('JSON.stringify(window.location.href)', function (err, res) {
  console.log(err, res)
  // prints 'null file:///Users/mappum/Projects/electron-eval/index.html'

// use es6 multiline strings for longer pieces of code
  var i = 0
  i += 10
  i -= 2
`, (err, res) => console.log(err, res))
// prints 'null 8'

// close the window when you are done with it
// note that this happens automatically after the node process ends


var daemon = electronEval([opts])

Creates a new hidden Electron instance. This may be called many times to create many windows, but beware that Electron uses a lot of resources.

opts may be an object containing the following keys:

  headless: Boolean // default: false
  // whether or not we should run in headless mode (using Xvfb)
  xvfb: Object // default: {}
  // configures specific xvfb options (see:
  timeout: Number // default: 10000
  // how often to check if the parent node process is still
  // alive (in milliseconds). If the node process is killed,
  // Electron will close

daemon.eval(code, [callback])

Evaluates the code string in the Electron window, and calls callback(error, result). If callback is not provided and the eval causes an error, the daemon will emit an error event.

Note that you may need to stringify the result value with JSON.stringify() so it will be sent properly across processes.

If daemon.eval() is called before the daemon has emitted its ready event, the code will be put in a queue and evaluated once the daemon is ready.


Closes the Electron process and releases its resources.

Note that the Electron process will automatically terminate when the node process exits, so this may not be necessary.

window.send(event, message)

This method is implemented inside the Electron window, so it may be called from code evaluated by the daemon. It sends a message to the node process, which causes an event named event to be emitted on the daemon object.

This is useful when you need the browser window to send async messages to the node process.


daemon.on('test', function (arg) {
  console.log('got message: ' + arg)
daemon.eval('window.send("test", 123)')

// the node process will print "got message: 123"



A handle to the Electron daemon's process (of type child_process.ChildProcess).


- ready

Emitted by daemon when the Electron window has been set up and is ready to eval code.

- error

Emitted by daemon when daemon.eval() evaluates code that throws an error, but no callback is provided.

Environment Variables


Setting this variable to true also allows the module to go into headless mode.