Easier AutoUpdating for Open-Source Apps

Today we're releasing a free, open-source, hosted updates webservice and companion npm package to enable easy automatic updates for open-source Electron apps. This is a step toward empowering app developers to think less about deployment and more about developing high-quality experiences for their users.


Updater Screenshot
The new updater module in action

Making life easier

Electron has an autoUpdater API that gives apps the ability to consume metadata from a remote endpoint to check for updates, download them in the background, and install them automatically.

Enabling these updates has been a cumbersome step in the deployment process for many Electron app developers because it requires a web server to be deployed and maintained just to serve app version history metadata.

Today we are announcing a new drop-in solution for automatic app updates. If your Electron app is in a public GitHub repository and you're using GitHub Releases to publish builds, you can use this service to deliver continuous app updates to your users.

Using the new module

To minimize configuration on your part, we've created update-electron-app, an npm module which integrates with the new update.electronjs.org webservice.

Install the module:

npm install update-electron-app

Call it from anywhere in your app's main process:

require('update-electron-app')()

That's it! The module will check for updates at app startup, then every ten minutes. When an update is found it will download automically in the background, and a dialog will be displayed when the update is ready.

Migrating existing apps

Apps already using Electron's autoUpdater API can use this service too. To do so, you can customize the update-electron-app module or integrate directly with update.electronjs.org.

Alternatives

If you're using electron-builder to package your app, you can use its built-in updater. For details, see electron.build/auto-update.

If your app is private, you may need to run your own update server. There are a number of open-source tools for this, including Zeit's Hazel and Atlassian's Nucleus. See the Deploying an Update Server tutorial for more info.

Thanks

Thanks to Julian Gruber for helping design and build this simple and scalable web service. Thanks to the folks at Zeit for their open-source Hazel service, from which we drew design inspiration. Thanks to Samuel Attard for the code reviews. Thanks to the Electron community for helping test this service.

🌲 Here's to an evergreen future for Electron apps!

Have feedback on this post? Let @electronjs know on Twitter.

Need help or found a bug? Contact us.