Use your preferred website or webapp as a desktop app

I started exploring the cool applications of Electron, the emerging framework that allows developers to build cross platform desktop apps with web technologies.

I am using the Atom code editor and it's nice. It will probably be featured in a future article.

Today, I want to present Nativefier, which I discovered a few days ago. I immediately bought the idea and decided to try it.

Nativefier is a command line tool to create a desktop application for any webapp with minimal configuration. It uses Electron to wrap the webapp in an OS executable (.app on OS X, .exe on Windows, etc.)

To install it, first you need the NodeJS package manager (npm):

$ npm install nativefier -g

Five minutes was enough to nativefy three of the websites I visit daily, using the following commands:

$ nativefier "http://gmail.com"
...
$ nativefier "http://youtube.com"
...
$ nativefier "http://firebase.com"

Among the notable options, you can provide a custom name and you can associate an icon to the app.

I like this for the productivity benefit it offers while keeping things simple: in most cases, no more need of the usual sequence of firing the browser, and/or moving to a specific tab, and/or finding the bookmark for the webapp you need.

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