2 minute read

Installing nodejs and electron

Install the scoop package manager for windows.

Scoop is a command line package manager for windows that will let you easily download the tools we need. Open a powershell terminal and run:

set-executionpolicy remotesigned -s cu

iex (new-object net.webclient).downloadstring('https://get.scoop.sh')

Then download nodejs using scoop. nodejs comes with the node package manager (npm) for managing libraries.

scoop install nodejs

Now install electron. Electron lets you build cross-platform desktop apps using web technologies.

npm install -g electron

This will install the electron command globally in your path.

Running the electron example application

To see an example electron application:

# Install git for windows
scoop install git

# Clone the Quick Start repository
git clone https://github.com/electron/electron-quick-start

# Go into the repository
cd electron-quick-start

# Install the dependencies and run
npm install && npm start

Click here for more information about the electron quick-start project.

Installing Visual Studio Code

I recommend using Visual Studio Code to develop your electron application. You can download this using scoop.

scoop install vscode

This will install the code command globally in your path. There should also be an icon for vscode on the start menu.

Debugging with Visual Studio Code

Open the electron-quick-start project in vscode. Click on the second lowest icon on the sidebar on the left side of vscode to open the debug panel (or press ctrl-shift-D). At the top will be a small gear with an orange circle in its upper right corner. Click this and type node.js where it says select environment. Click Node.js. It will open a file called launch.json with some existing values. Replace the code in this file with the following json:

    "version": "0.2.0",
    "configurations": [
            "name": "Launch Electron",
            "type": "node",
            "request": "launch",
            "program": "${workspaceRoot}\\main.js",
            "stopOnEntry": false,
            "args": [
            "cwd": "${workspaceRoot}",
            "runtimeExecutable": "${workspaceRoot}\\node_modules\\.bin\\electron.cmd",
            "env": {},
            "sourceMaps": false

There should be a new target in the dropdown next to the gear in the debug panel called Launch Electron.

Pressing F5 will now launch and debug your application and hit breakpoints you set. Try setting a breakpoint in main.js and running with F5.

There is also built-in intellisense, code completion, syntax highlighting and more available by default.

Additional Resources

It is recommended that you install the latest release of the electron api demos and follow along with them using the sample quick-start application.

For more sample applications, checkout the electron-sample-apps repository on github.

For concise descriptions of various electron-related terms, see essential electron.

Finally, there is a podcast from Scott Hanselman with Github Electron developer Jessica Lord that is worth listening to.

Good luck!

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