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Using GN to Build Electron

· 2 mins de lecture

Electron now uses GN to build itself. Here's a discussion of why.

GYP and GN

Lorsque Electron a été publié pour la première fois en 2013, la configuration de construction de Chromium a été écrite avec GYP, abréviation de « Générer vos projets ».

En 2014, le projet Chromium a introduit un nouvel outil de configuration de compilation appelé GN (abréviation de "Générer Ninja") les fichiers de compilation de Chromium ont été migrés vers GN et GYP a été retiré du code source.

Electron a historiquement maintenu une séparation entre le code principal Electron et le libchromiumcontent, la partie d'Electron qui contient le sous-module 'content' de Chromium. Electron has carried on using GYP, while libchromiumcontent -- as a subset of Chromium -- switched to GN when Chromium did.

Like gears that don't quite mesh, there was friction between using the two build systems. Maintaining compatibility was error-prone, from compiler flags and #defines that needed to be meticulously kept in sync between Chromium, Node, V8, and Electron.

To address this, the Electron team has been working on moving everything to GN. Today, the commit to remove the last of the GYP code from Electron was landed in master.

What this means for you

If you're contributing to Electron itself, the process of checking out and building Electron from master or 4.0.0 is very different than it was in 3.0.0 and earlier. See the GN build instructions for details.

If you're developing an app with Electron, there are a few minor changes you might notice in the new Electron 4.0.0-nightly; but more than likely, Electron's change in build system will be totally transparent to you.

What this means for Electron

GN is faster than GYP and its files are more readable and maintainable. Moreover, we hope that using a single build configuration system will reduce the work required to upgrade Electron to new versions of Chromium.

  • It's already helped development on Electron 4.0.0 substantially because Chromium 67 removed support for MSVC and switched to building with Clang on Windows. With the GN build, we inherit all the compiler commands from Chromium directly, so we got the Clang build on Windows for free!

  • It's also made it easier for Electron to use BoringSSL in a unified build across Electron, Chromium, and Node -- something that was problematic before.