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Should you build your desktop app with Nativefier?

ToDesktop vs. Nativefier

Nativefier is a fantastic open source project. It has lots of configuration options, many contributors and is regularly updated.

It's main use case is creating apps for individual use. If you want to create apps for distribution to your users, there are a few more factors to consider.

Nativefier doesn't provide:

Code signing. That's an extra cost of at least $799 per year plus your time.

Auto-updates. You'll have to build and distribute updates manually or create an auto-update server.

Native installers. Windows users expect an installer and to be able to uninstall from Control Panel. Mac users expect a drag and drop .dmg file.

Support. Nativefier is maintained by helpful volunteers. If you have an issue they may be able to help but there is no guarantee.

Access to non-coders. Nativefier is used via a CLI (command line interface) or a Javascript API. It is not friendly to non-coders.

Why you should choose ToDesktop:

ToDesktop provides all of the above and more for only $58/month. Make the smart choice.

How does ToDesktop compare to Nativefier?

ToDesktop and Nativefier use the same tech under the hood to create desktop apps from web apps. Electron is an open source library made for exactly this purpose.

Creating desktop apps with Electron takes a lot of developer time and resources. ToDesktop and Nativefier both make this process easier by automating much of it. There are a few crucial features Nativefier does not provide though:

Time to implement Two minutes (See how) Approximately 10-15 weeks
Coding required No coding necessary Requires using terminal or Javascript
Code signing Apple Gatekeeper & EV Microsoft Authenticode included Purchase certificates ($799/year) and sign manually
Maintenance Automatic updates included Maintain update server and push security fixes
Security Security updates included Keep up to date with security exploits and update your app
Support Live chat and email Public forum via GitHub issues
Supported platforms
Native installers Not provided

What are the costs involved?

Nativefier is completely free to use. However you will have to spend time and money to implement yourself the features it does not provide.

We've tried to be fair in calculating the average costs below. Use our cost calculator below to estimate how much it would cost in your situation to see how much ToDesktop can save you.

Creating app Included $2,500
Creating auto-update server Included $500
Monthly maintenance $58/month $250/month
Code signing certificates Included $798/month
$696 first year cost $4,348 first year cost

How many days would it take to build in-house without ToDesktop?

10 weeks
3 weeks
2 weeks
6 days/month
Time spent without ToDesktop
147 days

In Summary

When should you choose Nativefier, and when ToDesktop

If you want to wrap your website or web app as a desktop app for your customers, ToDesktop is for you.

If your business' core competency is developing a web app, don't waste time on code signing, auto-updates and native installers. Leave that to us.

If you want to create a desktop app of a service just for your own use, Nativefier is likely for you.

If your app is desktop-first, you likely want to skip Nativefier and build it with Electron or in native languages (e.g. Swift).

Ready to start building?

Create your desktop app for free*

ToDesktop Builder will take you step-by-step through the process of creating your first desktop app in just a few minutes.

Download ToDesktop Builder

*You can create a desktop app and run it on your computer for free. You will only be charged if you want to create a distributable app for your customers.

App screenshot