Linux Apps

Nativefier – Easily Make Any Website into Desktop Application

Nativfier Make Desktop App of Website
Written by Divine Okoi

Nativefier is a CLI tool that easily create a executable desktop application of any website with succinct and minimal configuration. Anybody can use it and it is a lot lighter than typical Electron apps.

Nativefier is based on the electron-package and since Electron apps are platform independent, any Nativefiered app will run on GNU/Linux distros as well as on Windows and Mac Operating Systems.

Talking about the reason why he created Nativefier, the developer wrote on GitHub:

I did this because I was tired of having to ⌘-tab or alt-tab to my browser and then search through the numerous open tabs when I was using Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp Web.


This is a good example of how to create solutions using our computing skills.

Features in Nativefier

  • Free and open-source with code available on GitHub.
  • Works on GNU/Linux, Windows, and Mac.
  • Desktop Notifications.
  • OS-specific icons.
  • Make single-page web apps (e.g. Telegram and WhatsApp) executable stand-alone apps.

How to Install and Use Nativefier in Linux

Installing Nativefier is as easy as running the following command in terminal.

$ npm install nativefier -g

The developer has done some heavy lifting by setting up a template app containing appropriate event listeners and callbacks in the /app folder.

This is the directory that is copied to the temporary directory when the nativefier command is called and then the core methods of electron packager follow. meaning that getting a URL and invoking the nativefier gets the job done.

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So, for example, creating a GitHub or WhatsApp web executable (or any web page) is as easy as typing:

$ nativefier -name GitHub
$ nativefier

The -name flag is the option that tells Nativefier the name to give your executable. There are other options including:

  • flash to enable flash in your application explorer.
  • version is prints the version of your nativefier install.
  • platform automatically determined based on the current OS. Overwrite it by specifyinglinux, windows (or win32), or osx (darwin).

The full list of options and more usage details are on its GitHub page.


  1. Nativefier doesn’t have any back button by default because it is designed to wrap just single-page apps. That notwithstanding, you can build an executable from any url and hitting backspace on your keyboard will take you to the previous page.
  2. Don’t put spaces when defining the app name with the -name option on Linux because it will cause problems when pinning the app to the launcher.

Do you see how useful Nativefier can be to you? Drop your two cents in the comments section below.


About the author

Divine Okoi

Divine Okoi is a cybersecurity postgrad with a passion for the open-source community. With 700+ articles covering different topics in IT, you can always trust him to inform you about the coolest tech.