Sergio Vilar

writes about dev stuff

Code signing Electron applications for OSX in Continuous Integration

23 Jul 2015

Electron is an awesome framework that lets you create cross-platform applications using web technologies (HTML, Javascript and CSS) and io.js. Is the same framework that Atom Editor was built.

This guide will help developers that uses Electron auto-update feature to get a Continuous Delivery/Integration workflow to package and distribute his apps. Let’s get started.


Update server

To get the auto-update working you will need to setup an update server as described on Electron documentation.

OSX Developer Certificate

You will also need a certificate emitted by Apple because Squirrel needs the application to be code signed to update.

Access the Developer Dashboard, select “Mac Development” and follow the instructions to download your certificate.

Importing the certificates

At this step you’re supposed do have downloaded your certificate. Create a folder called fixtures in your project, move your .cer file to this folder and rename it to mac_development.cer.

Now you also need to export your identity from Keychain as a .p12 file. Same process, move to the fixtures folder and rename it to Certificates.p12.

Crate a file at ./fixtures/ in your project with this content:



security create-keychain -p circle $KEY_CHAIN
# Make the keychain the default so identities are found
security default-keychain -s $KEY_CHAIN
# Unlock the keychain
security unlock-keychain -p circle $KEY_CHAIN
# Set keychain locking timeout to 3600 seconds
security set-keychain-settings -t 3600 -u $KEY_CHAIN

# Add certificates to keychain and allow codesign to access them
security import $FOLDER/fixtures/mac_development.cer -k $KEY_CHAIN -T /usr/bin/codesign
security import $FOLDER/fixtures/Certificates.p12 -k $KEY_CHAIN -P $KEYCHAIN_PASSWORD -T /usr/bin/codesign

echo "Add keychain to keychain-list"
security list-keychains -s ios-build.keychain

Okay, our certificate import is ready, let’s setup the application packaging.

Packaging the application

See in this post how to setup the application packaging.

Then add this piece of code to the pkg.js script:

if(plat === 'darwin'){
	cmds.push('xcrun -log codesign --deep --force --sign "'+certificate_name+'" '+
	  '--keychain=ios-build.keychain' +
	  ' ./dist/'+appName+'.app '

Remember to replace the content of certificate_name variable with your certificate name.

To package and code sign the app just run:

node pkg.js --platform=darwin

Ready to go!

Setup the Continuous Integration

CircleCI is a nice Continuous Integration service that has beta support to iOS builds, with a few ajdustments could be used to package our Electron application.

To use iOS builds on CircleCI you need to enable this option, see here for instructions. You can also contact the CircleCI support to get the iOS builds working.

CircleCI needs a .xcodeproj file but you don’t really have to setup a Xcode Project, just download here and extract to your fixtures folder.

Create a circle.yml in the root of your project root with this content:

    XCODE_PROJECT: "fixtures/blablabla.xcodeproj"
    version: "6.3.1"

    - brew install nodejs
    - npm install

    - node pkg.js --platform=darwin

Now your app is packaged and code signed on CircleCI. You can do whatever you want, like upload to a S3 bucket or something like that.

If you have any questions, please let me know on the comments.