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How to run Express inside an Electron app

How to run Express inside an Electron app

You can run your Express app very easily inside your Electron app.

All you need to do is to:

  • place all the files of your Express app inside a new app folder in your_electron_app\resources\app
  • reconfigure the app.js file
  • refactor some relative pathes in your Express app

Configure app.js

You should start your Express app before opening a new BrowserWindow and the load a new mainWindow like this:

const express = require('./express'); //your express app

app.on('ready', function() {
  express();
  mainWindow = new BrowserWindow({
    width: 1280,
    height: 720,
    autoHideMenuBar: true,
    useContentSize: true,
    resizable: false,
  });
  mainWindow.loadURL('http://localhost:5000/');
  mainWindow.focus();

});

Refactor pathes

Pathes in Electron don't work the same way they do in your Express app.

You have to make them all from relative to absolute pathes first.

So instead of doing this:

app.set('views', '/client/views');
app.use(express.static(/client/dist/static));

you have to do this:

app.set('views', __dirname + '/client/views');
app.use(express.static(__dirname + '/client/dist/static'));
@pzehle
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pzehle commented Jul 17, 2023

Starting express in a forked child process works great when you want to keep the main thread from freezing:

const { fork } = require("child_process");

  let ps;
  //...
  ps = fork(`${__dirname}/../out-tsc/server-app/main.js`, [], {
    cwd: `${__dirname}/../`,
  });

You are my hero. I've been looking for this for the last 12 hours. THANKS

@Jamtastic808
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Jamtastic808 commented Jul 19, 2023

Is it better to use fork or utilityprocess? https://www.electronjs.org/docs/latest/api/utility-process

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