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· 3 min read

🎉 Electron is moving to release a new major stable version every 12 weeks! 🎉


⚡️ Wow that's quick! But why?#

Simply put, Chromium doesn't stop shipping so Electron is not going to slow down either.

Chromium releases on a consistent 6-week schedule. To deliver the most up-to-date versions of Chromium in Electron, our schedule needs to track theirs. More information around Chromium's release cycle can be found here.

🚀 Why every 12 weeks?#

Every 6 weeks, a new Chromium release comes out with new features, bug fixes / security fixes, and V8 improvements. Electron's users have been loud and clear about wanting these changes in a timely manner, so we've adjusted our stable release dates to match every other Chromium stable release. Up first, Electron v6.0.0 will include M76 and is scheduled for stable release on July 30, 2019, the same release day as Chromium M76.

🚧 What does this mean for me and my Electron app?#

You'll have access to new Chromium and V8 features and fixes sooner than before. Importantly, you'll also know when those new changes are coming, so you'll be able to plan with better information than before.

The Electron team will continue to support the latest three major versions. For example, when v6.0.0 goes stable on July 30, 2019, we will support v6.x, v5.x, and v4.x, while v3.x will reach End-Of-Life.

💬 App Feedback Program#

Please consider joining our App Feedback Program to help us with testing our beta releases and stabilization. Projects who participate in this program test Electron betas on their apps; and in return, the new bugs they find are prioritized for the stable release.

📝 A brief history of Electron releases#

The decisions around stable releases before v3.0.0 did not follow a schedule. We added internal schedules to the project with v3.0.0 and v4.0.0. Earlier this year, we decided to publicize our stable release date for the first time for Electron v5.0.0. Announcing our stable release dates was positively received overall and we're excited to continue doing that for future releases.

In order to better streamline these upgrade-related efforts, our Upgrades and Releases Working Groups were created within our Governance system. They have allowed us to better prioritize and delegate this work, which we hope will become more apparent with each subsequent release.

Here is where our new cadence will put us in comparison to Chromium's cadence:

line graph comparing Electron versus Chromium versions

📨 If you have questions, please mail us at info@electronjs.org.

· 4 min read

The Electron team is excited to announce the release of Electron 5.0.0! You can install it with npm via npm install electron@latest or download the tarballs from our releases page. The release is packed with upgrades, fixes, and new features. We can't wait to see what you build with them! Continue reading for details about this release, and please share any feedback you have!


What's New?#

Much of Electron's functionality is provided by the core components of Chromium, Node.js, and V8. Electron keeps up-to-date with these projects to provide our users with new JavaScript features, performance improvements, and security fixes. Each of these packages has a major version bump in Electron 5:

Electron 5 also includes improvements to Electron-specific APIs. A summary of the major changes is below; for the full list of changes, check out the Electron v5.0.0 release notes.

Promisification#

Electron 5 continues Promisification initiative initiative to convert Electron's callback-based API to use Promises. These APIs were converted for Electron 5:

  • app.getFileIcon
  • contentTracing.getCategories
  • contentTracing.startRecording
  • contentTracing.stopRecording
  • debugger.sendCommand
  • Cookies API
  • shell.openExternal
  • webContents.loadFile
  • webContents.loadURL
  • webContents.zoomLevel
  • webContents.zoomFactor
  • win.capturePage

System colors access for macOS#

These functions were changed or added to systemPreferences to access macOS systems' colors:

  • systemPreferences.getAccentColor
  • systemPreferences.getColor
  • systemPreferences.getSystemColor

Process memory information#

The function process.getProcessMemoryInfo has been added to get memory usage statistics about the current process.

Additional filtering for remote APIs#

To improve security in the remote API, new remote events have been added so that remote.getBuiltin, remote.getCurrentWindow, remote.getCurrentWebContents and <webview>.getWebContents can be filtered.

Multiple BrowserViews on BrowserWindow#

BrowserWindow now supports managing multiple BrowserViews within the same BrowserWindow.

Breaking Changes#

Defaults for packaged apps#

Packaged apps will now behave the same as the default app: a default application menu will be created unless the app has one and the window-all-closed event will be automatically handled unless the app handles the event.

Mixed sandbox#

Mixed sandbox mode is now enabled by default. Renderers launched with sandbox: true will now be actually sandboxed, where previously they would only be sandboxed if mixed-sandbox mode was also enabled.

Security improvements#

The default values of nodeIntegration and webviewTag are now false to improve security.

Spellchecker now asynchronous#

The SpellCheck API has been changed to provide asynchronous results.

Deprecations#

The following APIs are newly deprecated in Electron 5.0.0 and planned for removal in 6.0.0:

Mksnapshot binaries for arm and arm64#

Native binaries of mksnapshot for arm and arm64 are deprecated and will be removed in 6.0.0. Snapshots can be created for arm and arm64 using the x64 binaries.

ServiceWorker APIs on WebContents#

Deprecated ServiceWorker APIs on WebContents in preparation for their removal.

  • webContents.hasServiceWorker
  • webContents.unregisterServiceWorker

Automatic modules with sandboxed webContents#

In order to improve security, the following modules are being deprecated for use directly via require and will instead need to be included via remote.require in a sandboxed webcontents:

  • electron.screen
  • child_process
  • fs
  • os
  • path

webFrame Isolated World APIs#

webFrame.setIsolatedWorldContentSecurityPolicy,webFrame.setIsolatedWorldHumanReadableName, webFrame.setIsolatedWorldSecurityOrigin have been deprecated in favor of webFrame.setIsolatedWorldInfo.

Mixed sandbox#

enableMixedSandbox and the --enable-mixed-sandbox command-line switch still exist for compatibility, but are deprecated and have no effect.

End of support for 2.0.x#

Per our supported versions policy, 2.0.x has reached end of life.

App Feedback Program#

We continue to use our App Feedback Program for testing. Projects who participate in this program test Electron betas on their apps; and in return, the new bugs they find are prioritized for the stable release. If you'd like to participate or learn more, check out our blog post about the program.

What's Next#

In the short term, you can expect the team to continue to focus on keeping up with the development of the major components that make up Electron, including Chromium, Node, and V8. Although we are careful not to make promises about release dates, our plan is release new major versions of Electron with new versions of those components approximately quarterly. The tentative 6.0.0 schedule maps out key dates in the Electron 6 development life cycle. Also, see our versioning document for more detailed information about versioning in Electron.

For information on planned breaking changes in upcoming versions of Electron, see our Planned Breaking Changes doc.

· 4 min read

How do Electron's features written in C++ or Objective-C get to JavaScript so they're available to an end-user?


Background#

Electron is a JavaScript platform whose primary purpose is to lower the barrier to entry for developers to build robust desktop apps without worrying about platform-specific implementations. However, at its core, Electron itself still needs platform-specific functionality to be written in a given system language.

In reality, Electron handles the native code for you so that you can focus on a single JavaScript API.

How does that work, though? How do Electron's features written in C++ or Objective-C get to JavaScript so they're available to an end-user?

To trace this pathway, let's start with the app module.

By opening the app.ts file inside our lib/ directory, you'll find the following line of code towards the top:

const binding = process.electronBinding('app')

This line points directly to Electron's mechanism for binding its C++/Objective-C modules to JavaScript for use by developers. This function is created by the header and implementation file for the ElectronBindings class.

process.electronBinding#

These files add the process.electronBinding function, which behaves like Node.js’ process.binding. process.binding is a lower-level implementation of Node.js' require() method, except it allows users to require native code instead of other code written in JS. This custom process.electronBinding function confers the ability to load native code from Electron.

When a top-level JavaScript module (like app) requires this native code, how is the state of that native code determined and set? Where are the methods exposed up to JavaScript? What about the properties?

native_mate#

At present, answers to this question can be found in native_mate: a fork of Chromium's gin library that makes it easier to marshal types between C++ and JavaScript.

Inside native_mate/native_mate there's a header and implementation file for object_template_builder. This is what allow us to form modules in native code whose shape conforms to what JavaScript developers would expect.

mate::ObjectTemplateBuilder#

If we look at every Electron module as an object, it becomes easier to see why we would want to use object_template_builder to construct them. This class is built on top of a class exposed by V8, which is Google’s open source high-performance JavaScript and WebAssembly engine, written in C++. V8 implements the JavaScript (ECMAScript) specification, so its native functionality implementations can be directly correlated to implementations in JavaScript. For example, v8::ObjectTemplate gives us JavaScript objects without a dedicated constructor function and prototype. It uses Object[.prototype], and in JavaScript would be equivalent to Object.create().

To see this in action, look to the implementation file for the app module, atom_api_app.cc. At the bottom is the following:

mate::ObjectTemplateBuilder(isolate, prototype->PrototypeTemplate())    .SetMethod("getGPUInfo", &App::GetGPUInfo)

In the above line, .SetMethod is called on mate::ObjectTemplateBuilder. .SetMethod can be called on any instance of the ObjectTemplateBuilder class to set methods on the Object prototype in JavaScript, with the following syntax:

.SetMethod("method_name", &function_to_bind)

This is the JavaScript equivalent of:

function App{}App.prototype.getGPUInfo = function () {  // implementation here}

This class also contains functions to set properties on a module:

.SetProperty("property_name", &getter_function_to_bind)

or

.SetProperty("property_name", &getter_function_to_bind, &setter_function_to_bind)

These would in turn be the JavaScript implementations of Object.defineProperty:

function App {}Object.defineProperty(App.prototype, 'myProperty', {  get() {    return _myProperty  }})

and

function App {}Object.defineProperty(App.prototype, 'myProperty', {  get() {    return _myProperty  }  set(newPropertyValue) {    _myProperty = newPropertyValue  }})

It’s possible to create JavaScript objects formed with prototypes and properties as developers expect them, and more clearly reason about functions and properties implemented at this lower system level!

The decision around where to implement any given module method is itself a complex and oft-nondeterministic one, which we'll cover in a future post.

· 2 min read

As Electron grows in popularity for desktop applications, the team working on it has also grown: we have more fulltime maintainers who work for different companies, live in different timezones, and have different interests. We're introducing a governance structure so we can keep growing smoothly.


Why are things changing?#

People in the Electron project coordinate in timezones around the world with volunteers, with full-time maintainers, and with several companies who all rely on Electron. Until now, we've been successful with informal coordination; but as the team has grown, we've found that the approach doesn't scale. We also want to make it easier for new contributors to find a place to call home in the project.

Working Groups#

Electron governance includes working groups that are responsible for different parts of the project. We're starting out with seven groups:

  • Community & Safety: Handles Code of Conduct issues.
  • Docs & Tooling: Oversees externally-focused tooling (e.g. Fiddle, Forge) and the Electron documentation.
  • Outreach: Helps grow the Electron community.
  • Releases: Ensures releases are stable and on schedule.
  • Security: Performs security testing and responds to security issues.
  • Upgrades: Integrates upstream upgrades, such as new versions of V8, Chromium, and Node.
  • Website: Maintains and improves the Electron website.

These groups will coordinate with each other, but each has their own meeting schedules and agendas to be productive on their own. More details on these groups are available at the governance repository.

Does this change the Electron project's direction?#

This shouldn't have any direct effect on Electron's direction. If our strategy is successful, working groups will make it easier for new contributors to find topics that interest them, and make maintainers' lives simpler by moving discussion unrelated to their day-to-day work to other groups. If that happens, it may indirectly affect things by having more unblocked people working together.

Where can I learn more?#

· One min read

A High severity vulnerability has been discovered in Chrome which affects all software based on Chromium, including Electron.

This vulnerability has been assigned CVE-2019-5786. You can read more about it in the Chrome Blog Post.

Please note that Chrome has reports of this vulnerability being used in the wild so it is strongly recommended you upgrade Electron ASAP.


Scope#

This affects any Electron application that may run third-party or untrusted JavaScript.

Mitigation#

Affected apps should upgrade to a patched version of Electron.

We've published new versions of Electron which include fixes for this vulnerability:

The latest beta of Electron 5 was tracking Chromium 73 and therefore is already patched:

Further Information#

This vulnerability was discovered by Clement Lecigne of Google's Threat Analysis Group and reported to the Chrome team. The Chrome blog post can be found here.

To learn more about best practices for keeping your Electron apps secure, see our security tutorial.

If you wish to report a vulnerability in Electron, email security@electronjs.org.

· 3 min read

The Electron team will discontinue support for 32-bit Linux (ia32 / i386) starting with Electron v4.0. The last version of Electron that supports 32-bit based installations of Linux is Electron v3.1, which will receive support releases until Electron v6 is released. Support for 64-bit based Linux and armv7l will continue unchanged.


What exactly is Electron no longer supporting?#

You may have seen the description "64-bit" and "32-bit" as stickers on your computer or as options for downloading software. The term is used to describe a specific computer architecture. Most computers made in the 1990s and early 2000s were made with CPUs that were based on the 32-bit architecture, while most computers made later were based on the newer and more powerful 64-bit architecture. The Nintendo 64 (get it?) and the PlayStation 2 were the first widely available consumer devices with the new architecture, computers sold after 2010 contained almost exclusively 64-bit processors. As a result, support has been shrinking: Google stopped releasing Chrome for 32-bit Linux in March 2016, Canonical stopped providing 32-bit desktop images in 2017 and dropped support for 32-bit altogether with Ubuntu 18.10. Arch Linux, elementary OS, and other prominent Linux distributions have already dropped support for the aging processor architecture.

Until now, Electron has provided and supported builds that run on the older 32-bit architecture. From release v4.0 onwards, the Electron team will no longer be able to provide binaries or support for 32-bit Linux.

Electron has always been a vibrant open source project and we continue to support and encourage developers interested in building Electron for exotic architectures.

What does that mean for developers?#

If you are not currently providing 32-bit distributions of your app for Linux, no action is required.

Projects which ship 32-bit Linux Electron applications will need to decide how to proceed. 32-bit Linux will be supported on Electron 3 until the release of Electron 6, which gives some time to make decisions and plans.

What does that mean for users?#

If you are a Linux user and not sure whether or not you're running a 64-bit based system, you are likely running on a 64-bit based architecture. To make sure, you can run the lscpu or uname -m commands in your terminal. Either one will print your current architecture.

If you are using Linux on a 32-bit processor, you have likely already encountered difficulties finding recently released software for your operating system. The Electron team joins other prominent members in the Linux community by recommending that you upgrade to a 64-bit based architecture.

· One min read

A code vulnerability has been discovered that allows Node to be re-enabled in child windows.


Opening a BrowserView with sandbox: true or nativeWindowOpen: true and nodeIntegration: false results in a webContents where window.open can be called and the newly opened child window will have nodeIntegration enabled. This vulnerability affects all supported versions of Electron.

Mitigation#

We've published new versions of Electron which include fixes for this vulnerability: 2.0.17, 3.0.15, 3.1.3, 4.0.4, and 5.0.0-beta.2. We encourage all Electron developers to update their apps to the latest stable version immediately.

If for some reason you are unable to upgrade your Electron version, you can mitigate this issue by disabling all child web contents:

view.webContents.on('-add-new-contents', e => e.preventDefault());

Further Information#

This vulnerability was found and reported responsibly to the Electron project by PalmerAL.

To learn more about best practices for keeping your Electron apps secure, see our security tutorial.

If you wish to report a vulnerability in Electron, email security@electronjs.org.

· 2 min read

If you're having trouble using a native Node.js addon with Electron 5.0, there's a chance it needs to be updated to work with the most recent version of V8.


Goodbye v8::Handle, Hello v8::Local#

In 2014, the V8 team deprecated v8::Handle in favor of v8::Local for local handles. Electron 5.0 includes a version of V8 that has finally removed v8::Handle for good, and native Node.js addons that still use it will need to be updated before they can be used with Electron 5.0.

The required code change is minimal, but every native Node module that still uses v8::Handle will fail to build with Electron 5.0 and will need to be modified. The good news is that Node.js v12 will also include this V8 change, so any modules that use v8::Handle will need to be updated anyway to work with the upcoming version of Node.

I maintain a native addon, how can I help?#

If you maintain a native addon for Node.js, ensure you replace all occurrences of v8::Handle with v8::Local. The former was just an alias of the latter, so no other changes need to be made to address this specific issue.

You may also be interested in looking into N-API, which is maintained separately from V8 as a part of Node.js itself, and aims to insulate native addons from changes in the underlying JavaScript engine. You can find more information in the N-API documentation on the Node.js website.

Help! I use a native addon in my app and it won't work!#

If you're consuming a native addon for Node.js in your app and the native addon will not build because of this issue, check with the author of the addon to see if they've released a new version that fixes the problem. If not, reaching out to the author (or opening a Pull Request!) is probably your best bet.

· 2 min read

For the first time ever, Electron is excited to publicize our release schedule starting with v5.0.0. This is our first step in having a public, long-term timeline.


As mentioned in our v4.0.0 stable release blog post, we are planning to release approximately quarterly to maintain closer cadence with Chromium releases. Chromium releases a new version very quickly -- every 6 weeks.

Take a look at progression in Electron versus Chromium side-by-side:

line graph comparing Electron versus Chromium versions

In the last half of 2018, our top priority was releasing faster and catching up closer to Chromium. We succeeded by sticking to a predetermined timeline. Electron 3.0.0 and 4.0.0 were released in a 2-3 month timeline for each release. We are optimistic about continuing that pace in releasing 5.0.0 and beyond. With a major Electron release approximately every quarter, we're now keeping pace with Chromium's release cadence. Getting ahead of Chromium stable release is always a goal for us and we are taking steps towards that.

We would love to promise future dates like Node.js and Chromium do, but we are not at that place yet. We are optimistic that we will reach a long-term timeline in the future.

With that in mind, we are taking first steps by publicly posting our release schedule for v5.0.0. You can find that here.

To help us with testing our beta releases and stabilization, please consider joining our App Feedback Program.

· 6 min read

The Electron team is excited to announce that the stable release of Electron 4 is now available! You can install it from electronjs.org or from npm via npm install electron@latest. The release is packed with upgrades, fixes, and new features, and we can't wait to see what you build with them. Read more for details about this release, and please share any feedback you have as you explore!


What's New?#

A large part of Electron's functionality is provided by Chromium, Node.js, and V8, the core components that make up Electron. As such, a key goal for the Electron team is to keep up with changes to these projects as much as possible, providing developers who build Electron apps access to new web and JavaScript features. To this end, Electron 4 features major version bumps to each of these components; Electron v4.0.0 includes Chromium 69.0.3497.106, Node 10.11.0, and V8 6.9.427.24.

In addition, Electron 4 includes changes to Electron-specific APIs. You can find a summary of the major changes in Electron 4 below; for the full list of changes, check out the Electron v4.0.0 release notes.

Disabling the remote Module#

You now have the ability to disable the remote module for security reasons. The module can be disabled for BrowserWindows and for webview tags:

// BrowserWindownew BrowserWindow({  webPreferences: {    enableRemoteModule: false  }})
// webview tag<webview src="http://www.google.com/" enableremotemodule="false"></webview>

See the BrowserWindow and <webview> Tag documentation for more information.

Filtering remote.require() / remote.getGlobal() Requests#

This feature is useful if you don't want to completely disable the remote module in your renderer process or webview but would like additional control over which modules can be required via remote.require.

When a module is required via remote.require in a renderer process, a remote-require event is raised on the app module. You can call event.preventDefault() on the the event (the first argument) to prevent the module from being loaded. The WebContents instance where the require occurred is passed as the second argument, and the name of the module is passed as the third argument. The same event is also emitted on the WebContents instance, but in this case the only arguments are the event and the module name. In both cases, you can return a custom value by setting the value of event.returnValue.

// Control `remote.require` from all WebContents:app.on('remote-require', function (event, webContents, requestedModuleName) {  // ...})
// Control `remote.require` from a specific WebContents instance:browserWin.webContents.on('remote-require', function (event, requestedModuleName) {  // ...})

In a similar fashion, when remote.getGlobal(name) is called, a remote-get-global event is raised. This works the same way as the remote-require event: call preventDefault() to prevent the global from being returned, and set event.returnValue to return a custom value.

// Control `remote.getGlobal` from all WebContents:app.on('remote-get-global', function (event, webContents, requrestedGlobalName) {  // ...})
// Control `remote.getGlobal` from a specific WebContents instance:browserWin.webContents.on('remote-get-global', function (event, requestedGlobalName) {  // ...})

For more information, see the following documentation:

JavaScript Access to the About Panel#

On macOS, you can now call app.showAboutPanel() to programmatically show the About panel, just like clicking the menu item created via {role: 'about'}. See the showAboutPanel documentation for more information

Controlling WebContents Background Throttling#

WebContents instances now have a method setBackgroundThrottling(allowed) to enable or disable throttling of timers and animations when the page is backgrounded.

let win = new BrowserWindow(...)win.webContents.setBackgroundThrottling(enableBackgroundThrottling)

See the setBackgroundThrottling documentation for more information.

Breaking Changes#

No More macOS 10.9 Support#

Chromium no longer supports macOS 10.9 (OS X Mavericks), and as a result Electron 4.0 and beyond does not support it either.

Single Instance Locking#

Previously, to make your app a Single Instance Application (ensuring that only one instance of your app is running at any given time), you could use the app.makeSingleInstance() method. Starting in Electron 4.0, you must use app.requestSingleInstanceLock() instead. The return value of this method indicates whether or not this instance of your application successfully obtained the lock. If it failed to obtain the lock, you can assume that another instance of your application is already running with the lock and exit immediately.

For an example of using requestSingleInstanceLock() and information on nuanced behavior on various platforms, see the documentation for app.requestSingleInstanceLock() and related methods and the second-instance event.

win_delay_load_hook#

When building native modules for windows, the win_delay_load_hook variable in the module's binding.gyp must be true (which is the default). If this hook is not present, then the native module will fail to load on Windows, with an error message like Cannot find module. See the native module guide for more information.

Deprecations#

The following breaking changes are planned for Electron 5.0, and thus are deprecated in Electron 4.0.

Node.js Integration Disabled for nativeWindowOpen-ed Windows#

Starting in Electron 5.0, child windows opened with the nativeWindowOpen option will always have Node.js integration disabled.

webPreferences Default Values#

When creating a new BrowserWindow with the webPreferences option set, the following webPreferences option defaults are deprecated in favor of new defaults listed below:

PropertyDeprecated DefaultNew Default
contextIsolationfalsetrue
nodeIntegrationtruefalse
webviewTagvalue of nodeIntegration if set, otherwise truefalse

Please note: there is currently a known bug (#9736) that prevents the webview tag from working if contextIsolation is on. Keep an eye on the GitHub issue for up-to-date information!

Learn more about context isolation, Node integration, and the webview tag in the Electron security document.

Electron 4.0 will still use the current defaults, but if you don't pass an explicit value for them, you'll see a deprecation warning. To prepare your app for Electron 5.0, use explicit values for these options. See the BrowserWindow docs for details on each of these options.

webContents.findInPage(text[, options])#

The medialCapitalAsWordStart and wordStart options have been deprecated as they have been removed upstream.

App Feedback Program#

The App Feedback Program we instituted during the development of Electron 3.0 was successful, so we've continued it during the development of 4.0 as well. We'd like to extend a massive thank you to Atlassian, Discord, MS Teams, OpenFin, Slack, Symphony, WhatsApp, and the other program members for their involvement during the 4.0 beta cycle. To learn more about the App Feedback Program and to participate in future betas, check out our blog post about the program.

What's Next#

In the short term, you can expect the team to continue to focus on keeping up with the development of the major components that make up Electron, including Chromium, Node, and V8. Although we are careful not to make promises about release dates, our plan is release new major versions of Electron with new versions of those components approximately quarterly. See our versioning document for more detailed information about versioning in Electron.

For information on planned breaking changes in upcoming versions of Electron, see our Planned Breaking Changes doc.