Release Using Channels / Auto-Updates With Channels

Description

Channels are useful to distribute "beta" or "alpha" releases of your application to a chosen set of users. This allows to test an application before release it as "latest" (stable).

Users which receive "beta" version will get "latest" versions too. Otherwise, users who don't want "beta" will only get "latest" releases.

There are three channels, ordered by stability:

  1. "latest", your application is stable and this is the default one (example: "1.3.2")
  2. "beta" which means your application works, but should have some bugs (example: "1.3.2-beta")
  3. "alpha" which means your application is not stable and in active development (example: "1.3.2-alpha")

Configuration

To release using channels, you should config electron-builder and define the channels to use in client side.

Electron-Builder

By default (without using channels), all application releases use the "latest" channel.

If you want to use channels, you should add this to your package.json:

"version": "x.x.x-beta",
...
"build": {
  "generateUpdatesFilesForAllChannels": true,
  ...
}

Note: allowDowngrade is automatically set to true when generateUpdatesFilesForAllChannels = true, so you don't need to set it.

All you have to do to release using channels is to define the channel in the version tag of the package.json. Add "-beta" or "-alpha" (nothing for "latest") to automatically build for the related channel.

Your Application

All you need to do here is to define which channel the user will receive with:

autoUpdater.channel = 'beta' (see the documentation here)

The following versions will be distributed to users depending on the channel defined:

  • "latest" or nothing: users will only get "latest" versions
  • "beta": users will get "beta" and "latest" version
  • "alpha": users will get "alpha", "beta" and "latest" version

How To Use It / Example

Imagine that your application is stable and in version 1.0.1.

If you want to release a beta for the new 1.1.0 version, you only need to update the package.json "version" with "1.1.0-beta".

When your application is stable enough, you want to release it to all users. For that, you only need to remove the "-beta" label from the package.json "version" tag.

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