Skip to content



No changes to your JS are necessary to get working software updates with Conveyor. Curious why you'd use Conveyor over other tools?


The tutorial shows you how to generate and package a simple Electron app.

Advanced demo: GitHub Desktop

Learn how we packaged GitHub Desktop with Conveyor, a production-grade Electron app. Over 1,500 lines of code can be deleted, the resulting config is easy to read, and the app can be packaged and released from your laptop. We show how to combine it with GitHub Releases, Sites and Actions.


A basic conveyor.conf looks like this:

// This line is required.
include required("/stdlib/electron/electron.conf")

// Set defaults from package-lock when possible.
package-json {
    include required("package-lock.json") 

// Override the Electron version. 
app.electron.version = 19.0.1

// Change where it's fetched from. The default is GitHub. =



The version of Electron to bundle. This must be set for any Electron app. If you don’t set this you may encounter an error message like “Windows App for Intel: No EXE files were found in the root of the Windows inputs” or something similar.

The simplest option is to set this by hand to whatever Electron you are using.

The next simplest option is to let it be taken from your package-lock.json file, if you have one. It will be set to the value of package-json.packages.node_modules/electron.version if you include required("/stdlib/electron/electron.conf") and also include your package-lock.json file under the package-json key, as seen above.

If you don't have a package-lock.json file that's OK, you can still read the Electron version from any other file. For example, you can specify an exact version instead of a range in package.json and then import that instead:

package-json {
    include required("package.json")

app {
    electron.version = ${package-json.devDependencies.electron}

Reading the Electron version from yarn config

There are a couple of ways to do this.

You can convert your yarn.lock to package-lock.json using synp.

Importing config from non-JSON files is easy because Conveyor can run programs and read their stdout as part of loading a config file, meaning you can compute config from scripts. This can be used to read the Electron version we're using from the yarn.lock file.

Let's put this into the file (you'd have to translate it to PowerShell if building on Windows)

#!/usr/bin/env bash
yarn list --depth=0 --json -s --no-progress 2>/dev/null | jq -r '.data.trees[] | select(.name | startswith("electron@")) | .name | split("@")[1]'

Mark it executable (chmod +x and it should print out the locked version of Electron you're using. Now we can import that into our conveyor.conf:

include "#!=app.electron.version"

Where to find Electron builds to download. The URLs are composed like this:


so they must follow the same layout as that used on GitHub. You can specify a file: URL here if necessary.

App resources

The default config imported from /stdlib/electron/electron.conf will import the following files to your resources/app directory:

  • *.json
  • *.js
  • *.css
  • *.html
  • The node_modules directory.

You may need to adjust or replace the inputs to suit your app. For example, if you use a bundler like Webpack you may want to import the output of that instead of the source files. See inputs for more information.

Using ASAR files

Electron supports a type of archive called an ASAR. This is conceptually similar to a zip and can reduce the number of files you ship, at the cost of less efficient delta updates. Conveyor doesn't create ASAR files itself, but you can make one with npx asar and supply it as an input:

app {
    inputs = [
        app.asar.unpacked -> app.asar.unpacked

The .unpacked directory is for files that can't be placed inside an ASAR, like native code. Please see the Electron documentation on ASAR files for more details.

Adapting a project that used npx create-electron-app

The easiest way to get started with Conveyor and Electron is to create a fresh project using conveyor create electron, replacing the reverse DNS name with one that is unique to your project (e.g. io.github.username.projectname). Learn more in the Electron tutorial.

If you have a project that was already created using npx create-electron-app you'll need to adapt it for Conveyor. We'll be removing references to Electron Forge and Squirrel.

  1. Run npx create-electron-app.
  2. rm forge.config.js, this file isn't needed anymore.
  3. In package.json:
  4. Remove references to electron-forge and Squirrel. Conveyor doesn't use Squirrel for updates.
  5. Replace script "start" with "electron ."
  6. In src/index.js, remove the reference to Squirrel.
  7. rm -rf node_modules && npm install. This will get rid of the packages you don't need any more.

Now add a new conveyor.conf file and adapt it for your needs:

include required("/stdlib/electron/electron.conf")

// Import metadata from your package.json file, like your fsname, version and which version of Electron to use.
package-json {
  include required("package-lock.json")

app {
  display-name = "My project"
  rdns-name =
  site.base-url = "localhost:3000"

  inputs = [
    src -> src    

      from = node_modules
      to = node_modules      
      remap = [ "-electron/dist/**" ]


Be aware of the following caveats:

  • There's no API to control or monitor updates yet. Note that such an API doesn't necessarily make sense on some platforms e.g. Linux where the user's package manager will apply updates, or on Windows where the app can be updated silently in the background when it's not running.
  • Conveyor doesn't make ASAR files at the moment, so all files will be shipped unpacked. If your app consists of very large numbers of small files this may reduce performance. You could use a bundler, or make an asar file yourself and supply it as an input to work around this limitation.
  • You should remove any code that invokes Squirrel.

stdlib config

The standard Electron config you're asked to import looks like this:

app {
  fsname = ${?}
  display-name = ${?package-json.productName}
  version = ${?package-json.version}
  electron.version = ${?package-json.packages.node_modules/electron.version}
  contact-email = ${?}

  // Electron doesn't place the binary in a bin directory, so we have to fix that up here.
  linux {
    desktop-file."Desktop Entry".Exec = ${app.linux.install-path}/${app.fsname}
    symlinks += ${app.linux.prefix}/bin/${app.fsname} -> ${app.linux.install-path}/${app.fsname}

  mac {
    info-plist {
      NSSupportsAutomaticGraphicsSwitching = true
      NSRequiresAquaSystemAppearance = false
      NSHighResolutionCapable = true
      NSQuitAlwaysKeepsWindows = false

      LSEnvironment {
        MallocNanoZone = "0"
      NSAppTransportSecurity {
        NSAllowsArbitraryLoads = true
      NSBluetoothAlwaysUsageDescription = This app needs access to Bluetooth
      NSBluetoothPeripheralUsageDescription = This app needs access to Bluetooth
      NSCameraUsageDescription = This app needs access to the camera
      NSMainNibFile = MainMenu
      NSPrincipalClass = AtomApplication

  // A simple default input.
  inputs = ${app.inputs} [

      from = node_modules
      to = node_modules
      remap = [ "-electron/dist/**" ]