How to Convert Any Web App to Desktop App

There are so many cool web apps that we use everyday. But for using these web apps, we have to launch the web browser, enter their URL and only then we can access those web apps. For example, there is a JavaScript based password generator at http://www.mauvecloud.net/pwgen.html which many people use to generate strong passwords for various uses.

Instead of accessing these web apps directly from a standard web browser, we can package them into a desktop app. On a Windows PC, these desktop apps can be launched from their own respective EXE file. On a Mac, we can access them from the app drawer.

In order to convert any web app into a desktop app, we can use open-source Nativefier in the following manner:

  1. First of all install JavaScript runtime Node.js from https://nodejs.org/en/. There are installer packages available for different operating systems, we can simply download and install them.Nativefier
  2. Open any command prompt or terminal window, then give the command : npm install -g nativefier. This will install the nativefier package on your system.Nativefier
  3. Now you can give the nativefier command  followed by any web app’s full URL in order to convert it into a desktop app. For example, nativefier https://www.ipchicken.com/ creates a desktop app for that web app. Nativefier

Nativefier makes use of the Electron project in order to package the web app into a desktop app. The electron project makes use of the Chromium web browser. As the desktop app is launched, it loads the Chromium browser and navigates to the web address of the web app.

Nativefier fetches the web app description and the icons from the internet in order to use them in the desktop app. The result is that the EXE generated by Nativefier has the same icon as the web app (favicon) and the description from the HTML tags.

You can find more information about Nativefier from https://github.com/nativefier/nativefier/.

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