Package your Meteor apps with Electron, and butter.

electron, meteor, packager, desktop, app
npm install universe-desktop-app@0.5.0


Universe Desktop App

Easily package your Meteor apps with Electron.

Installation locally

cd /your/meteor/app
meteor npm install --save-dev universe-desktop-app

Installation globally

Now, You should add to your package.json on the end of section scripts following line:

"desktop": "desktop-app"

So, everything should look like this example:

"scripts": {
    "start": "meteor --settings=settings.json"
    "desktop": "desktop-app --settings=settings.json"

For invoking Electron methods from Meteor, you'll also need to install the universe:desktop-app meteor package. For more info check Meteor x Electron integration.


Works on all Meteor's supported platforms.


$ meteor npm run desktop -- --help

  Usage: desktop-app [command] [options]


    run       (default) start meteor app within desktop context
    bundle    bundle meteor app at `.desktop` dir
    package   bundle and package app to `--output` dir


    -h, --help             output usage information
    -V, --version          output the version number
    -i, --input    <path>  meteor app dir       | default = .
    -o, --output   <path>  output dir           | default = .desktop/.dist
    -s, --settings <path>  meteor settings file | default = null (optional)


    # cd into meteor dir first
    cd /your/meteor/app

    desktop-app run
    desktop-app package
    desktop-app package -o /dist/dir
    desktop-app package -o /dist/dir -s file.json
    desktop-app package -i /app/dir -o /dist/dir -s dev.json
    desktop-app package -- <electron-packager-options>

    # more info about electron packager options:
    # ~> https://www.npmjs.com/package/electron-packager

Running app

cd /your/meteor/app
meteor npm run desktop


cd /your/meteor/app
desktop-app package

The packaging process is done under the hood using electron-packager npm package. The following variables are automatically set:

  • --out -- comes from cli option [-o, --out]
  • --arch -- comes from system [current arch]
  • --platform -- comes from system [current platform]
  • --version -- comes from .desktop/package.json [current app version]

You can overwrite these default values and also set others by passing custom arguments directly to electron-packager after --, i.e:

cd /your/meteor/app
desktop-app package -- --icon=/folder/x/img/icon.png --version=x.y.z

All the available options for electron-packager can be found here: https://www.npmjs.com/package/electron-packager


The output app will match your current operational system and arch type.

  • To get an OSX app, run it from a Osx machine.
  • To get an Linux 32bit app, run it from a 32bit Linux machine.
  • To get an Linux 64bit app, run it from a 64bit Linux machine.
  • To get an Windows 32bit app, run it from a 32bit Windows machine.
  • To get an Windows 64bit app, run it from a 64bit Windows machine.

Due to NodeJS native bindings of such libraries such as Fibers -- which are mandatory for Meteor, you'll need to have your Meteor app fully working on the desired platform before installing this plugin and packaging your app.

So, at this time, you cannot package your app in a cross-platform fashion from one single OS.

Perhaps you can live with it? :)

DO NOT use options to output for multiple arch/platforms at once, such as --arch=all. It won't work, Desktop can bundle Meteor apps only for the platform you're running on.


  1. -i, --input - Meteor app folder, default is current directory (process.cwd()).
  2. -o, --output - Sets output folder for your packaged app, default is /your/meteor/app/.dist
  3. -s, --settings Sets path for Meteor settings file, this will be available inside your Meteor code both in development and after being packaged.


You'll notice a new folder called .desktop in your meteor app dir, its structure will be like this:

├── .desktop
│   ├── .gitignore
│   ├── desktop.json
│   ├── index.js
│   └── package.json
├── .meteor
└── ...

This is a pure Electron project, so you can use the whole Electron API from JS files in this folder. Also, you can install electron dependencies and store them in the package.json file. Note that the desktop package is itself a dependency.

See this folder as the desktop layer for your Meteor app. Remember to check out the index.js file, it constains the desktop start/stop usage.

The desktop.json file will hold specific preferences for Desktop, such as plugins and so on. It's still a WIP, but you can get around it.

Config (desktop.json)

For now there's only one option here: preserve_db.

Set it to true to preserve database between installs. It works by saving the mongo data dir inside user's data folder, instead of being self contained within the app folder (which gets deleted when new version is installed).


Let's see how one would be able to do a simple SplashScreen:

var app       = require('app');
var browser   = require('browser-window');
var desktop = require('desktop')(__dirname);

var window = null;
var splash = null; // splash variable

app.on('ready', function() {
  splash = new browser({ // starts splash window
    // >>> your configs here
  splash.loadUrl('./splash.html'); // create the ".desktop/splash.html" file

  // then move along and start desktop
  desktop.start(function(meteor_root_url) {

    // before opening a new window with your app, destroy the splash window
    splash.close(); // >>> or .destroy(), check what works for you

    // from here on, well, nothing changes..

    window = new browser({
      width: 1200, height: 900,
      'node-integration': false // node integration must to be off

// ....

Meteor x Electron integration

You can seamlessly call Electron methods from your Meteor's client/server code.

Define your Electron methods inside the .desktop folder:

// `.desktop/index.js` file
  'hello.world': function(firstname, lastname, done) {
    // do things with electron api, and then call the `done` callback
    // as ~> done(err, res);
    done(null, 'Hello '+ firstname +' '+ lastname +'!');

Then, in your Meteor code (client and server), you can call this method like:

// Desktop.call(method_name, args, done_callback);
Desktop.call('hello.world', ['anderson', 'universe'], function(err, msg) {
  console.log(msg); // Hello anderson universe!


You can only call methods after the connection is made between Meteor and Electron, to make sure it's ready you can wrap your code in a startup block:



When upgrading to newer versions, it's important to know that:

~> templates

Once these files exists on disk, they will not be overwritten.

  • .desktop/index.js
  • .desktop/package.json
  • .desktop/desktop.json
  • .desktop/.gitignore.json

~> api

As these files above is never overwritten, in case of any API change that needs adjustments, these will have to be made manually.

~> version matching

Always keep the same desktop version in your Meteor, and inside the .desktop folder, as per specified in .desktop/package.json file.


Do not open issues, use the chat channel instead.

Join the chat at https://gitter.im/universe/desktop


This is very young and active software, so make sure your are always up to date before opening an issue. Follow the released fixes through the HISTORY.md file.

If you find any problem, please open a meaningful issue describing in detail how to reproduce the problem, which platform/os/arch type you're using, as well as the version of Meteor and Desktop, and any other info you may find usefull.


The MIT License (MIT) This package is forked from desktop package by Anderson Arboleya, (provided under MIT)