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DeskGap

DeskGap is a framework for building cross-platform desktop apps with web technologies (JavaScript, HTML and CSS).

To enable native capabilities while keeping the size down, DeskGap bundles a Node.js runtime and leaves the HTML rendering to the operating system‘s webview.

Supported Platforms

macOS Windows Linux
Version 10.10+ 7 SP11 - 10 version 1803 10 version 1809+ Tested on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
Rendering Engine WebKit Trident EdgeHTML2 WebKit
  1. Internet Explorer 11 is required for Node.js interop to work
  2. Trident is also available if specified explicitly.

Downloads

Prebuilt Binaries

npm install --save-dev deskgap

API Demos

The DeskGap API Demos app shows some of the DeskGap features and APIs with interactive scripts.

macOS Windows Linux Source Code
Download Download Download GitHub

Pym: A Real-Life App Built With DeskGap

To test DeskGap on field, squoosh is wrapped into a desktop app "Pym" with DeskGap and submitted to the app stores.

macOS Windows Source Code
Download on Mac App Store Download on Microsoft Store GitHub

Getting Started

Creating a Node.js Package for your app

hello-deskgap/
├── package.json
├── index.js
└── index.html

package.json points to the app's entry file and provides the script that starts your app:

{
  "name": "hello-deskgap",
  "main": "index.js",
  "scripts": {
    "start": "deskgap ."
  }
}

index.js is the entry file that creates a window which will render an HTML page:

const { app, BrowserWindow } = require('deskgap');

app.once('ready', () => {
    const win = new BrowserWindow();
    win.loadFile('index.html');
});

index.html is the page to render:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
  <meta charset="utf-8" />
  <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="ie=edge" />
  <title>Hello DeskGap</title>
</head>
<body>
  <h1>Hello DeskGap</h1>
</body>
</html>

Installing DeskGap

npm install --save-dev deskgap

Starting Your App

npm start

Documentation

Work in Progress

FAQ

What’s the difference between DeskGap and Electron?

DeskGap is designed to be a more lightweight alternative to Electron. It does not bundle Chromium or any other web engines. Instead, the ability of rendering HTML pages comes from the webview provided by the operating system, specifically, WKWebView on macOS, IWebBrowser2 or WebViewControl (if available) on Windows, and WebKitWebView on Linux.

DeskGap is at its early stage. The API is still quite limited compared to Electron. Many functionalities are under development and some of them will probably never be possible. See this and this for more information.

There are already similar attempts (electrino and Quark for instance) out there. What makes DeskGap different?

With a Node.js runtime bundled, DeskGap comes with support for npm packages and all the battle-tested native capabilities in Node.js such as fs, net, http. The price is a larger executable size (about 8 MB zipped and 20 MB unzipped).

Can I port my Electron app to DeskGap without much modification?

Probably no. The DeskGap API is still quite limited. If you start building an app with DeskGap, getting it running on Electron may be easy, but not the other way around.