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Application Distribution

Overview#

To distribute your app with Electron, you need to package and rebrand it. To do this, you can either use specialized tooling or manual approaches.

With tooling#

You can use the following tools to distribute your application:

These tools will take care of all the steps you need to take to end up with a distributable Electron application, such as bundling your application, rebranding the executable, and setting the right icons.

You can check the example of how to package your app with electron-forge in the Quick Start guide.

Manual distribution#

With prebuilt binaries#

To distribute your app manually, 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: the location of Electron's prebuilt binaries is indicated with electron/ in the examples below.

On macOS:

electron/Electron.app/Contents/Resources/app/โ”œโ”€โ”€ package.jsonโ”œโ”€โ”€ main.jsโ””โ”€โ”€ index.html

On Windows and Linux:

electron/resources/appโ”œโ”€โ”€ package.jsonโ”œโ”€โ”€ main.jsโ””โ”€โ”€ index.html

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

With an app source code archive#

Instead of from shipping your app by copying all of its source files, you can package your app into an asar archive to improve the performance of reading files on platforms like Windows, if you are not already using a bundler such as Parcel or Webpack.

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/โ””โ”€โ”€ app.asar

On Windows and Linux:

electron/resources/โ””โ”€โ”€ app.asar

You can find more details on how to use asar in the electron/asar repository.

Rebranding with downloaded binaries#

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

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:

  • Electron.app/Contents/Info.plist
  • Electron.app/Contents/Frameworks/Electron Helper.app/Contents/Info.plist

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/Contentsโ”œโ”€โ”€ Info.plistโ”œโ”€โ”€ MacOS/โ”‚ย ย  โ””โ”€โ”€ MyAppโ””โ”€โ”€ Frameworks/    โ””โ”€โ”€ MyApp Helper.app        โ”œโ”€โ”€ Info.plist        โ””โ”€โ”€ MacOS/         ย ย  โ””โ”€โ”€ MyApp Helper

Windows#

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

Linux#

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

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 set the build argument corresponding to the product name (electron_product_name = "YourProductName") in the args.gn file and rebuild.