Browser-sync with Electron like a charm

Posted on March 2, 2017 in
2 min read

I'm going to introduce a new post type in this blog.
It's about little tips discovered after a bit of research and test with the aim to find them again, more easily, the next time.
It might also be useful for others, though.

TL;RL: To use Browser-sync with Electron use the recent localOnly option. It works like a charm.


If you work in web design and development fields you already know how the process works:

  • edit a chunk of HTML/CSS/JS
  • save the file
  • reload the browser to see the effect
  • repeat

You should also know that those edits gonna be thousands in a project.

If you already know that issue, there is a big chance you already know Browser-sync.

Browser-sync is a super-mega time saver tool that simply refreshes the browser for you any time you edit a file during a development session.
Even only considering half of a second for each edit to reload manually the browser, we are talking about days of time wasted in a long time project.

Let's shine the computer on repetitive tasks like that one

If you don't know Browser-sync yet, I can't stress enough, check it right now.


If you're able to design and develop a web app for the browser you're able to release it as native app too.
Electron makes that easy by removing all the hassles that don't belong to the web development field.

Browser-sync works beautifully with the browsers but not when using Electron.

The solution

There was an interesting discussion about the issue that brought to a new option specifically to work with Electron or similar environment.
The localOnly flag allows supporting environments where dynamic hostnames are not required (ie: Electron)
It was added in the 2.14.0 version of Browser-sync and can be used in the CLI like this:

browser-sync start --localOnly --files './app'

Don't forget to put the snippet of code provided by the shell into the .html files you're editing. The snippet is something like:

<script async id="__bs_script__" 
browser-sync-client.js?v=2.18.8 ">

With this setup, I can edit and see instant refresh of the Electron app on each little change. I can dev lightning fast on Electron projects too.

Cheers and carry a faster development on.