node-webkit autoupdate library

Usage no npm install needed!

<script type="module">
  import nodeWebkitUpdater from '';


Hi, I cant support this package since not working with NW anymore. So I would love to give the project out to somebody who cares. Contact me on twitter @edjafarov.

node-webkit-updater NPM version

This is node-webkit-updater.

npm install node-webkit-updater

It gives you low-level API to:

  1. Check the manifest for version (from your running "old" app).
  2. If the version is different from the running one, download new package to a temp directory.
  3. Unpack the package in temp.
  4. Run new app from temp and kill the old one (i.e. still all from the running app).
  5. The new app (in temp) will copy itself to the original folder, overwriting the old app.
  6. The new app will run itself from original folder and exit the process.

You should build this logic by yourself though. As a reference you can use example.

Covered by tests and works for linux, windows and mac.



new updater(manifest, options)

Creates new instance of updater. Manifest could be a package.json of project.

Note that compressed apps are assumed to be downloaded in the format produced by node-webkit-builder (or grunt-node-webkit-builder).


  • manifest object - See the manifest schema below.
  • options object - Optional


Will check the latest available version of the application by requesting the manifest specified in manifestUrl.

The callback will always be called; the second parameter indicates whether or not there's a newer version. This function assumes you use Semantic Versioning and enforces it; if your local version is 0.2.0 and the remote one is 0.1.23456 then the callback will be called with false as the second paramter. If on the off chance you don't use semantic versioning, you could manually download the remote manifest and call download if you're happy that the remote version is newer.


  • cb function - Callback arguments: error, newerVersionExists (Boolean), remoteManifest, newManifest)

Downloads the new app to a template folder


  • cb function - called when download completes. Callback arguments: error, downloaded filepath
  • newManifest Object - see manifest schema below

Returns: Request - Request - stream, the stream contains manifest property with new manifest and 'content-length' property with the size of package.


Returns executed application path

Returns: string


Returns current application executable

Returns: string

updater.unpack(filename, cb, manifest)

Will unpack the filename in temporary folder. For Windows, unzip is used (which is not signed).


  • filename string
  • cb function - Callback arguments: error, unpacked directory
  • manifest object

updater.runInstaller(appPath, args, options)

Runs installer


  • appPath string
  • args array - Arguments which will be passed when running the new app
  • options object - Optional

Returns: function

updater.install(copyPath, cb)

Installs the app (copies current application to copyPath)


  • copyPath string
  • cb function - Callback arguments: error, args, options)

Runs the app from original app executable path.


  • execPath string
  • args array - Arguments passed to the app being ran.
  • options object - Optional. See spawn from nodejs docs.

Note: if this doesn't work, try gui.Shell.openItem(execPath) (see node-webkit Shell).

Manifest Schema

An example manifest:

    "name": "updapp",
    "version": "0.0.2",
    "author": "Eldar Djafarov <>",
    "manifestUrl": "http://localhost:3000/package.json",
    "packages": {
        "mac": {
           "url": "http://localhost:3000/releases/updapp/mac/"
        "win": {
           "url": "http://localhost:3000/releases/updapp/win/"
        "linux32": {
           "url": "http://localhost:3000/releases/updapp/linux32/updapp.tar.gz"

The manifest could be a package.json of project, but doesn't have to be.

The name of your app. From time, it is assumed your Mac app is called <>.app, your Windows executable is <>.exe, etc.


semver version of your app.


The URL where your latest manifest is hosted; where node-webkit-updater looks to check if there is a newer version of your app available.


An "object" containing an object for each OS your app (at least this version of your app) supports; mac, win, linux32, linux64.

manifest.packages.{mac, win, linux32, linux64}.url

Each package has to contain a url property pointing to where the app (for the version & OS in question) can be downloaded.

manifest.packages.{mac, win, linux32, linux64}.execPath (Optional)

It's assumed your app is stored at the root of your package, use this to override that and specify a path (relative to the root of your package).

This can also be used to override; e.g. if your is helloWorld (therefore on Mac) but your Windows executable is named nw.exe. Then you'd set execPath to nw.exe



If you get an error on Mac about too many files being open, run ulimit -n 10240


On Windows, there is no "unzip" command built in by default. As a result, this project uses a third party "unzip.exe" in order to extract the downloaded update. On the NWJS site, in the "How to package and distribute your apps" file, one of the recommended methods of distribution is using EnigmaVirtualBox to package the app, nw.exe, and required DLLs into a single EXE file. This method works great for distribution, but unfortunately breaks node-webkit-updater, because it wraps the required unzip.exe file inside of the created EnigmaVirtualBox EXE. As a result, it is not possible to use EnigmaVirtualBox to distribute your app if you plan on using node-webkit-updater. Try using InnoSetup instead.