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Getting started with Svelte and Electron

Aveek Saha
I'm a developer interested in full stack, machine learning, cloud computing and IoT.
Originally published at home.aveek.io on ・3 min read

The code for this tutorial can be found here

Introduction

This is a guide to get you up and running with Svelte + Electron. We’ll just be going through the basic setup process to give you a starting point to develop desktop applications with Svelte by using Electron. If you want to learn more about Svelte basics you can check out this tutorial here: Get started with Svelte.

You can follow this tutorial even if you’re not too familiar with Svelte because we’ll just be setting things up for the project here.

Create a Svelte app

To get started we’ll first be cloning the Svelte boilerplate using a tool called degit. Let’s start by installing degit using

npm install -g degit
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Then we install the boilerplate and install all the dependencies.

npx degit sveltejs/template svelte_electron
cd svelte_electron
npm install
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To run the dev server run:

npm run dev
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When you open http://localhost:5000, you should see a default web page. This means that the setup was successful!

Set up Electron

Now we’ll install electron as a development dependency.

npm i -D electron@latest
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Then we’ll install electron-reload and electron-is-dev for some quality of life improvement during development. electron-reload will let us watch files and reload the electron app automatically to reflect changes we make to the code. electron-is-dev will allow us to detect if the application is running in production or development.

npm i -D electron-reload electron-is-dev
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Now we need to create an entry point for our electron app. Create a file called main.js with the following code.

const { app, BrowserWindow } = require('electron')
const path = require('path')
const url = require('url')

const isDev = require('electron-is-dev');

// If in development use electron-reload to watch for
// changes in the current directory
if (isDev) {
    require('electron-reload')(__dirname, {
        electron: require(`${__dirname}/node_modules/electron`)
    });
}

function createWindow() {
    // Create the browser window with node integration
    const win = new BrowserWindow({
        width: 800,
        height: 600,
        webPreferences: {
            nodeIntegration: true
        }
    })

    win.loadURL(
        url.format({
            pathname: path.join(__dirname, 'public/index.html'),
            protocol: 'file:',
            slashes: true
        })
    )

    // Open the DevTools only if app is in development
    // If in production, don't show.
    if (isDev)
        win.webContents.openDevTools()
}

app.whenReady().then(() => {
    createWindow()
    app.on('activate', function () {
        if (BrowserWindow.getAllWindows().length === 0) createWindow()
    })
})

app.on('window-all-closed', function () {
    if (process.platform !== 'darwin') app.quit()
})
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Now we need to set up some scripts in our package.json and define the Electron entry point.

{   ....
    "main": "main.js",
    "scripts": {
        ...
        "app": "electron ."
        ...
    }
    ....
}
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There’s one last step before your application can be rendered. In public/index.html we need to make the urls absolute so that Electron doesn’t give us a resource not found error while loading the page.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
<head>
    <meta charset='utf-8'>
    <meta name='viewport' content='width=device-width,initial-scale=1'>

    <title>Svelte app</title>

    <link rel='icon' type='image/png' href='favicon.png'>
    <link rel='stylesheet' href='global.css'>
    <link rel='stylesheet' href='build/bundle.css'>

    <script defer src='build/bundle.js'></script>
</head>

<body>
</body>
</html>
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Run npm run build to create the compiled JavaScript and CSS files in the public/build/ directory.

Now if you run npm run app you should see the same default welcome page you saw on your browser in an Electron window.

Live reload both electron and Svelte

The way the application is set up now, You could run npm run dev in one terminal to enable live reload for Svelte, and npm run app in another terminal to load the electron app. This is a little inconvenient and we can combine both these functions and run them simultaneously.

For this we’ll be using concurrently. So we’ll first install it and then update our scripts in package.json.

npm i -D concurrently
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Then we’ll create a script to run both Svelte and Electron parallelly in package.json.

{
    "scripts": {
        ...
        "app-dev": "concurrently \"npm:dev\" \"npm:app\""
        ...
  },
}
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By running npm run app-dev you can live reload both Electron and Svelte!

Conclusion

Now you have a starting point to start building your Electron apps with Svelte at the frontend. While there are some starter templates available, the setup process for this is pretty straightforward and easy to do by yourself.

If you’re interested in learning Svelte you can check out this tutorial here: Get started with Svelte.

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