Nativefier — Turn Any Website Into an App

Nativefier is a command-line tool to easily create a desktop application for any web site with succinct and minimal configuration. Apps are wrapped by Electron in an OS executable (.app, .exe, etc.) for use on Windows, macOS and Linux.

Walkthrough

Features

  • Automatically retrieves the correct icon and app name.
  • JavaScript and CSS injection.
  • Flash Support.
  • Many more, see the API docs or nativefier --help

Installation

Requirements

  • macOS 10.9+ / Windows / Linux

  • Node.js >=6 (4.x may work but is no longer tested, please upgrade)

npm install nativefier -g

Alternatively you can install nativefier on the macOs using brew

brew install nativefier

Usage

Creating a native desktop app for bible.com:

nativefier "http://bible.com"

Nativefier will intelligently attempt to determine the app name, your OS and processor architecture, among other options. If desired, the app name or other options can be overwritten by specifying the --name "Medium" as part of the command line options:

nativefier --name "Some Awesome App" "http://bible.com"

Read the API documentation (or nativefier --help) for other command line flags and options that can be used to configure the packaged app.

If you would like high resolution icons to be used, please contribute to the icon repository!

Windows Users: Take note that the application menu is automatically hidden by default, you can press alt on your keyboard to access it.

Linux Users: Do not put spaces if you define the app name yourself with --name, as this will cause problems when pinning a packaged app to the launcher.

Optional dependencies

Icons for Windows apps packaged under non-Windows platforms

You need Wine installed; make sure that wine is in your $PATH.

Icon conversion for macOS

To support conversion of a .png or .ico into a .icns for a packaged macOS app icon (currently only supported on macOS), you need the following dependencies.

  • iconutil (comes with Xcode).
  • imagemagick. Make sure convert and identify are in your $PATH.
  • If the tools are not found, then Nativefier will fall back to the built-in macOS tool sips to perform the conversion, which is more limited.

Flash

Google Chrome is required for flash to be supported; you should pass the path to its embedded Flash plugin to the --flash flag.

API Full Documentation

Command Line

nativefier options <targetUrl> dest

Command line options are listed below.

Target Url

The url to point the application at.

dest

Specifies the destination directory to build the app to, defaults to the current working directory.

Help

-h, --help

Prints the usage information.

Version

-V, --version

Prints the version of your nativefier install.

name

-n, --name <value>

The name of the application, which will affect strings in titles and the icon.

For Linux Users: Do not put spaces if you define the app name yourself with --name, as this will cause problems (tested on Ubuntu 14.04) when pinning a packaged app to the launcher.

platform

-p, --platform <value>

Automatically determined based on the current OS. Can be overwritten by specifying either linux, windows, osx or mas for a Mac App Store specific build.

The alternative values win32 (for Windows) or darwin, mac (for macOS) can also be used.

arch

-a, --arch <value>

Processor architecture, automatically determined based on the current OS. Can be overwritten by specifying either ia32, x64 or armv7l.

app-copyright

--app-copyright <value>

The human-readable copyright line for the app. Maps to the LegalCopyright metadata property on Windows, and NSHumanReadableCopyright on OS X.

app-version

--app-version <value>

The release version of the application. By default the version property in the package.json is used but it can be overridden with this argument. If neither are provided, the version of Electron will be used. Maps to the ProductVersion metadata property on Windows, and CFBundleShortVersionString on OS X.

build-version

--build-version <value>

The build version of the application. Maps to the FileVersion metadata property on Windows, and CFBundleVersion on OS X.

electron-version

-e, --electron-version <value>

Electron version without the v, see https://github.com/atom/electron/releases.

no-overwrite

--no-overwrite

Specifies if the destination directory should be not overwritten, defaults to false.

conceal

-c, --conceal

Specifies if the source code within the nativefied app should be packaged into an archive, defaults to false, read more.

icon

-i, --icon <path>
Packaging for Windows

The icon parameter should be a path to a .ico file.

Packaging for Linux

The icon parameter should be a path to a .png file.

Packaging for macOS

The icon parameter can either be a .icns or a .png file if the optional dependencies are installed.

If you have the optional dependencies iconutil, Imagemagick convert, and Imagemagick identify in your PATH, Nativefier will automatically convert the .png to a .icns for you.

Manually Converting .icns

iConvertIcons can be used to convert .pngs, though it can be quite cumbersome.

To retrieve the .icns file from the downloaded file, extract it first and press File > Get Info. Then select the icon in the top left corner of the info window and press ⌘-C. Open Preview and press File > New from clipboard and save the .icns file. It took me a while to figure out how to do that and question why a .icns file was not simply provided in the downloaded archive.

counter

--counter

Use a counter that persists even with window focus for the application badge for sites that use an "(X)" format counter in the page title (i.e. Gmail).

bounce

--bounce

(macOS only) When the the counter increases, the dock icon will bounce for one second. This only works if the --counter option is active.

width

--width <value>

Width of the packaged application, defaults to 1280px.

height

--height <value>

Height of the packaged application, defaults to 800px.

min-width

--min-width <value>

Minimum width of the packaged application, defaults to 0.

min-height

--min-height <value>

Minimum height of the packaged application, defaults to v0**.

max-width

--max-width <value>

Maximum width of the packaged application, default is no limit.

max-height

--max-height <value>

Maximum height of the packaged application, default is no limit.

x

--x <value>

X location of the packaged application window.

y

--y <value>

Y location of the packaged application window.

show-menu-bar

-m, --show-menu-bar

Specifies if the menu bar should be shown.

fast-quit

-f, --fast-quit

(macOS only) Specifies to quit the app after closing all windows, defaults to false.

user-agent

-u, --user-agent <value>

Set the user agent to run the created app with.

honest

--honest

By default, Nativefier uses a preset user agent string for your OS and masquerades as a regular Google Chrome browser, so that sites like WhatsApp Web will not say that the current browser is unsupported.

If this flag is passed, it will not override the user agent.

ignore-certificate

--ignore-certificate

Forces the packaged app to ignore certificate errors.

disable-gpu

--disable-gpu

Disable hardware acceleration for the packaged application.

ignore-gpu-blacklist

--ignore-gpu-blacklist

Passes the ignore-gpu-blacklist flag to the Chrome engine, to allow for WebGl apps to work on non supported graphics cards.

enable-es3-apis

--enable-es3-apis

Passes the enable-es3-apis flag to the Chrome engine, to force the activation of WebGl 2.0.

insecure

--insecure

Forces the packaged app to ignore web security errors, such as Mixed Content errors when receiving HTTP content on a HTTPS site.

internal-urls

--internal-urls <regex>

Regular expression of URLs to consider "internal"; all other URLs will be opened in an external browser. Defaults to URLs on same second-level domain as app.

Example:

nativefier https://google.com --internal-urls ".*?\.google\.*?"

flash

--flash

If --flash is specified, Nativefier will automatically try to determine the location of your Google Chrome flash binary. Take note that the version of Chrome on your computer should be the same as the version used by the version of Electron for the Nativefied package.

Take note that if this flag is specified, the --insecure flag will be added automatically, to prevent the Mixed Content errors on sites.

flash-path

--flash-path <value>

You can also specify the path to the Chrome flash plugin directly with this flag. The path can be found at chrome://plugins, under Adobe Flash Player > Location. This flag automatically enables the --flash flag as well.

disk-cache-size

--disk-cache-size <value>

Forces the maximum disk space to be used by the disk cache. Value is given in bytes.

inject

--inject <value>

Allows you to inject a javascript or css file. This command can be run multiple times to inject the files.

Note: The javascript file is loaded after DOMContentLoaded, so you can assume the DOM is complete & available.

Example:

nativefier http://google.com --inject ./some-js-injection.js --inject ./some-css-injection.css ~/Desktop

full-screen

--full-screen

Makes the packaged app start in full screen.

maximize

--maximize

Makes the packaged app start maximized.

hide-window-frame

--hide-window-frame

Disable window frame and controls.

title-bar-style

--title-bar-style <value>

(macOS only) Sets the style for the app's title bar. See more details at electron's Frameless Window documentation.

Consider injecting a custom CSS (via --inject) for better integration. Specifically, the CSS should specify a draggable region. For instance, if the target website has a header element, you can make it draggable like so.

/* site.css */

/* header is draggable... */
header {
  -webkit-app-region: drag;
}

/* but any buttons inside the header shouldn't be draggable */
header button {
  -webkit-app-region: no-drag;
}

/* perhaps move some items out of way for the traffic light */
header div:first-child {
  margin-left: 100px;
  margin-top: 25px;
}


nativefier http://google.com --inject site.css --title-bar-style 'hiddenInset'

verbose

--verbose

Shows detailed logs in the console.

disable-context-menu

--disable-context-menu

Disable the context menu

disable-dev-tools

--disable-dev-tools

Disable the Chrome developer tools

crash-reporter

--crash-reporter <value>

Enables crash reporting and set the URL to submit crash reports to

Example:

nativefier http://google.com --crash-reporter https://electron-crash-reporter.appspot.com/PROJECT_ID/create/

zoom

--zoom <value>

Sets a default zoom factor to be used when the app is opened, defaults to 1.0.

single-instance

--single-instance

Prevents application from being run multiple times. If such an attempt occurs the already running instance is brought to front.

clear-cache

--clear-cache

Prevents the application from preserving cache between launches.

tray

--tray start-in-tray

Application will stay as an icon in the system tray. Prevents application from being closed from clicking the window close button.

When the optional argument start-in-tray is provided, i.e. the application is started using --tray start-in-tray, the main window will not be shown on first start.

basic-auth-username

--basic-auth-username <value> --basic-auth-password <value>

Set basic http(s) auth via the command line to have the app automatically log you in to a protected site. Both fields are required if one is set.

processEnvs

--processEnvs <json-string>

a JSON string of key/value pairs to be set as environment variables before any browser windows are opened.

Example:

nativefier <your-geolocation-enabled-website> --processEnvs '{"GOOGLE_API_KEY": "<your-google-api-key>"}'

file-download-options

--file-download-options <json-string>

a JSON string of key/value pairs to be set as file download options. See electron-dl for available options.

Example:

nativefier <your-website> --file-download-options '{"saveAs": true}'

always-on-top

--always-on-top

Enable always on top for the packaged application.

global-shortcuts

--global-shortcuts shortcuts.json

Register global shortcuts which will trigger input events like key presses or pointer events in the application.

You may define multiple global shortcuts which can trigger a series of input events. It has the following structure:

Programmatic API

You can use the Nativefier programmatic API as well.

npm install --save nativefier

In your .js file:

var nativefier = require('nativefier').default;

// possible options, defaults unless specified otherwise
var options = {
    name: 'Web WhatsApp', // will be inferred if not specified
    targetUrl: 'http://web.whatsapp.com', // required
    platform: 'darwin', // defaults to the current system
    arch: 'x64', // defaults to the current system
    version: '0.36.4',
    out: '.',
    overwrite: false,
    asar: false, // see conceal
    icon: '~/Desktop/icon.png',
    counter: false,
    bounce: false,
    width: 1280,
    height: 800,
    showMenuBar: false,
    fastQuit: false,
    userAgent: 'Mozilla ...', // will infer a default for your current system
    ignoreCertificate: false,
    ignoreGpuBlacklist: false,
    enableEs3Apis: false,
    insecure: false,
    honest: false,
    zoom: 1.0,
    singleInstance: false,
    clearCache: false,
    fileDownloadOptions: {
      saveAs: true // always show "Save As" dialog
    },
    processEnvs: {
      "GOOGLE_API_KEY": "<your-google-api-key>"
    }
};

nativefier(options, function(error, appPath) {
    if (error) {
        console.error(error);
        return;
    }
    console.log('App has been nativefied to', appPath);
});

Addition packaging options for Windows

version-string

Object (deprecated as removed in electron-packager 9.0.0, please use the win32metadata parameter instead)

win32metadata

--win32metadata <json-string>

a JSON string of key/value pairs of application metadata (ProductName, InternalName, FileDescription) to embed into the executable (Windows only).

Example:

nativefier <your-geolocation-enabled-website> --win32metadata '{"ProductName": "Your Product Name", "InternalName", "Your Internal Name", "FileDescription": "Your File Description"}'
[
  {
    // Key is passed as first argument to globalShortcut.register
    "key": "CommandOrControl+Shift+Z",
    // The input events exactly match the event config in Electron for contents.sendInputEvent(event)
    "inputEvents": [
      {
        // Available event types: mouseDown, mouseUp, mouseEnter, mouseLeave, contextMenu, mouseWheel, mouseMove, keyDown, keyUp or char
        "type": "keyDown",
        // Further config depends on your event type. See docs at: https://github.com/electron/electron/blob/master/docs/api/web-contents.md#contentssendinputeventevent
        "keyCode": "Space"
      }
    ]
  }
]

Important note for using modifier keys:

If you want to trigger key events which include a modifier (Ctrl, Shift,...), you need to keyDown the modifier key first, then keyDown the actual key including the modifier key as modifier property and then keyUp both keys again. No idea what this means? See the example for MediaPreviousTrack below!

For more details, please see the Electron documentation:

  • List of available keys: https://github.com/electron/electron/blob/master/docs/api/accelerator.md
  • Details about how to create input event objects: https://github.com/electron/electron/blob/master/docs/api/web-contents.md#contentssendinputeventevent

Example shortcuts.json for https://deezer.com & https://soundcloud.com to get your play/pause/previous/next media keys working:

[
  {
    "key": "MediaPlayPause",
    "inputEvents": [
      {
        "type": "keyDown",
        "keyCode": "Space"
      }
    ]
  },
  {
    "key": "MediaPreviousTrack",
    "inputEvents": [
      {
        "type": "keyDown",
        "keyCode": "Shift"
      },
      {
        "type": "keyDown",
        "keyCode": "Left",
        "modifiers": [
          "shift"
        ]
      },
      {
        "type": "keyUp",
        "keyCode": "Left",
        "modifiers": [
          "shift"
        ]
      },
      {
        "type": "keyUp",
        "keyCode": "Shift"
      }
    ]
  },
  {
    "key": "MediaNextTrack",
    "inputEvents": [
      {
        "type": "keyDown",
        "keyCode": "Shift"
      },
      {
        "type": "keyDown",
        "keyCode": "Right",
        "modifiers": [
          "shift"
        ]
      },
      {
        "type": "keyUp",
        "keyCode": "Right",
        "modifiers": [
          "shift"
        ]
      },
      {
        "type": "keyUp",
        "keyCode": "Shift"
      }
    ]
  }
]
Programmatic API

Object

Object (also known as a "hash") of application metadata to embed into the executable:

  • CompanyName
  • FileDescription
  • OriginalFilename
  • ProductName
  • InternalName

(Note that win32metadata was added to electron-packager in version 8.0.0)

In your .js file:

var options = {
    ...
    win32metadata: {
      CompanyName: 'Your Company Name',
      FileDescription: 'Your File Description',
      OriginalFilename: 'Your Original Filename',
      ProductName: 'Your Product Name',
      InternalName: 'Your Internal Name'
    }
};
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