WordPress.com Open Sources Desktop App, Linux Version Now Available


Today Automattic announced that the WordPress.com desktop app is now open source and available on GitHub under the GPLv2 (or later). A Linux version joins the OS X and Windows apps that were released at the end of November and early December, making desktop publishing accessible to users on all major operating systems.

The apps provide a beautiful writing and editing experience that mirrors WordPress.com’s new architecture. In addition to publishing, users can browse the Reader, manage sites, customize themes, and view stats.

According to the GitHub repository, the desktop app is an Electron wrapper for Calypso. Electron is what turns the new JavaScript and API-powered WordPress.com into a native app. It is a framework based on Node.js and Chromium that allows developers to build cross-platform desktop applications using JavaScript, HTML and CSS. Electron was originally developed for GitHub’s Atom editor and then open sourced under the MIT license. Microsoft, Facebook, Slack, and Docker all have applications that use Electron.

The WordPress.com desktop app is split between Electron code and Calypso code, with Calypso running as a submodule. If you want to fork it to customize your own app, Automattic’s developers have written detailed instructions for installing and running the application.

The development guide outlines the structure of the app, how it runs, where to make changes when customizing the main app, and how to debug your work. The repository also includes instructions for how to package your released version in a platform-specific way.

In the future the desktop app will become more robust as more admin screens are added to Calypso. This amazing body of work is available for anyone to use or repurpose as your own publishing app trimmed of WordPress.com’s extra features, such as stats, site management, and the Reader. For example, it would be interesting to see a bare bones fork that works with self-hosted sites without having to use Jetpack.


13 responses to “WordPress.com Open Sources Desktop App, Linux Version Now Available”

  1. I used to use Windows Live Writer for my blogs (yes, plural. It can connect to several major blog platform) and I think it was the best desktop application for bloggers, but unfortunately, Microsoft stopped the development in 2012 and I stopped using it too. The good news is that Microsoft recently started an open source fork of Windows Live Writer called Open Live Writer and released the initial public version just a few days ago. I am going to give it a try to see how it works.

  2. I just tried to download the Windows version to my Win7 system running avast!. It is flagging the download as an infected file (Win32:Evo-gen) and won’t complete the download. If I pull to a system not running avast!, as soon as I try to install on the Win7 system, it gets flagged.

  3. I don’t care ~ I still don’t get it.

    An Electron wrapper for Calypso? Good grief Charlie Brown.

    OK, yes, I downloaded it, and I have updated it, but I still don’t see the point.

    I have a browser. What do I need this for?

    You’re the smart ones. So tell me. Why can’t I live without it?

    Because I am about to find out shortly.

    Yours in frustration,

    Terence (the Luddite)

    • At its current stage you probably don’t “need” it. In theory it might be faster right now than using a browser, but I am not sure if there is a difference and how noticeable it is.

      You might want it if they will develop some integration with your local machine, say an automatic backup.


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