Electron Documentation1.6.11

Docs / Tutorial / Application Distribution

Application Distribution

To distribute your app with Electron, you need to download Electron’s prebuilt binaries. Next, the folder containing your app should be named app and placed in Electron’s resources directory as shown in the following examples. Note that the location of Electron’s prebuilt binaries is indicated with electron/ in the examples below.

On macOS:

electron/Electron.app/Contents/Resources/app/
├── package.json
├── main.js
└── index.html

On Windows and Linux:

electron/resources/app
├── package.json
├── main.js
└── index.html

Then execute Electron.app (or electron on Linux, electron.exe on Windows), and Electron will start as your app. The electron directory will then be your distribution to deliver to final users.

Packaging Your App into a File

Apart from shipping your app by copying all of its source files, you can also package your app into an asar archive to avoid exposing your app’s source code to users.

To use an asar archive to replace the app folder, you need to rename the archive to app.asar, and put it under Electron’s resources directory like below, and Electron will then try to read the archive and start from it.

On macOS:

electron/Electron.app/Contents/Resources/
└── app.asar

On Windows and Linux:

electron/resources/
└── app.asar

More details can be found in Application packaging.

Rebranding with Downloaded Binaries

After bundling your app into Electron, you will want to rebrand Electron before distributing it to users.

Windows

You can rename electron.exe to any name you like, and edit its icon and other information with tools like rcedit.

macOS

You can rename Electron.app to any name you want, and you also have to rename the CFBundleDisplayName, CFBundleIdentifier and CFBundleName fields in the following files:

You can also rename the helper app to avoid showing Electron Helper in the Activity Monitor, but make sure you have renamed the helper app’s executable file’s name.

The structure of a renamed app would be like:

MyApp.app/Contents
├── Info.plist
├── MacOS/
│   └── MyApp
└── Frameworks/
    ├── MyApp Helper EH.app
    |   ├── Info.plist
    |   └── MacOS/
    |       └── MyApp Helper EH
    ├── MyApp Helper NP.app
    |   ├── Info.plist
    |   └── MacOS/
    |       └── MyApp Helper NP
    └── MyApp Helper.app
        ├── Info.plist
        └── MacOS/
            └── MyApp Helper

Linux

You can rename the electron executable to any name you like.

Packaging Tools

Apart from packaging your app manually, you can also choose to use third party packaging tools to do the work for you:

Rebranding by Rebuilding Electron from Source

It is also possible to rebrand Electron by changing the product name and building it from source. To do this you need to modify the atom.gyp file and have a clean rebuild.

grunt-build-atom-shell

Manually checking out Electron’s code and rebuilding could be complicated, so a Grunt task has been created that will handle this automatically: grunt-build-atom-shell.

This task will automatically handle editing the .gyp file, building from source, then rebuilding your app’s native Node modules to match the new executable name.

Creating a Custom Electron Fork

Creating a custom fork of Electron is almost certainly not something you will need to do in order to build your app, even for “Production Level” applications. Using a tool such as electron-packager or electron-builder will allow you to “Rebrand” Electron without having to do these steps.

You need to fork Electron when you have custom C++ code that you have patched directly into Electron, that either cannot be upstreamed, or has been rejected from the official version. As maintainers of Electron, we very much would like to make your scenario work, so please try as hard as you can to get your changes into the official version of Electron, it will be much much easier on you, and we appreciate your help.

Creating a Custom Release with surf-build

  1. Install Surf, via npm: npm install -g surf-build@latest

  2. Create a new S3 bucket and create the following empty directory structure:

    - atom-shell/
      - symbols/
      - dist/
    
    
  3. Set the following Environment Variables:

  1. In script/upload.py, you must set ELECTRON_REPO to your fork (MYORG/electron), especially if you are a contributor to Electron proper.

  2. surf-build -r https://github.com/MYORG/electron -s YOUR_COMMIT -n 'surf-PLATFORM-ARCH'

  3. Wait a very, very long time for the build to complete.


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