API Changes Coming in Electron 1.0

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Since the beginning of Electron, starting way back when it used to be called Atom-Shell, we have been experimenting with providing a nice cross-platform JavaScript API for Chromium’s content module and native GUI components. The APIs started very organically, and over time we have made several changes to improve the initial designs.

Now with Electron gearing up for a 1.0 release, we’d like to take the opportunity for change by addressing the last niggling API details. The changes described below are included in 0.35.x, with the old APIs reporting deprecation warnings so you can get up to date for the future 1.0 release. An Electron 1.0 won’t be out for a few months so you have some time before these changes become breaking.

Deprecation warnings

By default, warnings will show if you are using deprecated APIs. To turn them off you can set process.noDeprecation to true. To track the sources of deprecated API usages, you can set process.throwDeprecation to true to throw exceptions instead of printing warnings, or set process.traceDeprecation to true to print the traces of the deprecations.

New way of using built-in modules

Built-in modules are now grouped into one module, instead of being separated into independent modules, so you can use them without conflicts with other modules:

var app = require('electron').app
var BrowserWindow = require('electron').BrowserWindow

The old way of require('app') is still supported for backward compatibility, but you can also turn if off:

require('app')  // throws error.

An easier way to use the remote module

Because of the way using built-in modules has changed, we have made it easier to use main-process-side modules in renderer process. You can now just access remote’s attributes to use them:

// New way.
var app = require('electron').remote.app
var BrowserWindow = require('electron').remote.BrowserWindow

Instead of using a long require chain:

// Old way.
var app = require('electron').remote.require('app')
var BrowserWindow = require('electron').remote.require('BrowserWindow')

Splitting the ipc module

The ipc module existed on both the main process and renderer process and the API was different on each side, which is quite confusing for new users. We have renamed the module to ipcMain in the main process, and ipcRenderer in the renderer process to avoid confusion:

// In main process.
var ipcMain = require('electron').ipcMain
// In renderer process.
var ipcRenderer = require('electron').ipcRenderer

And for the ipcRenderer module, an extra event object has been added when receiving messages, to match how messages are handled in ipcMain modules:

ipcRenderer.on('message', function (event) {

Standardizing BrowserWindow options

The BrowserWindow options had different styles based on the options of other APIs, and were a bit hard to use in JavaScript because of the - in the names. They are now standardized to the traditional JavaScript names:

new BrowserWindow({ minWidth: 800, minHeight: 600 })

Following DOM’s conventions for API names

The API names in Electron used to prefer camelCase for all API names, like Url to URL, but the DOM has its own conventions, and they prefer URL to Url, while using Id instead of ID. We have done the following API renames to match the DOM’s styles:

You will notice lots of deprecations when using Electron v0.35.0 for your app because of these changes. An easy way to fix them is to replace all instances of Url with URL.

Changes to Tray’s event names

The style of Tray event names was a bit different from other modules so a rename has been done to make it match the others.

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