Desktop wrapper for website

Has anyone developed a good solution for wrapping a webapp as a desktop app on nixos? I have issues with nativefier, etc. And using the shortcuts in chrome have oddities with multiple logins, etc…

Thanks for the suggestions!

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I got really annoyed at the discord desktop app and its lack of wayland/nvidia support so I wrote a module to make firefox “apps” even though it doesn’t support ssb:

It’s worked quite well for me, no real issues because it’s literally just browser profiles with some fluff. And as a bonus, no chrome, and no bloat from running dozens of subtly different browsers.

There’s also if you’re ok with them all sharing one window.


Has anyone developed a good solution for wrapping a webapp as a desktop app on nixos?

What’s the use-case here? Isn’t it a lot easier to just run firefox with the multi-account-container addon?

A few things:

  1. Having a different WMClass lets me manage the window with my window manager (and bind global keybindings through hyprland, since wayland typically makes mute bindings impossible).
  2. I use the tab restore feature, this way the clutter of effectively desktop applications doesn’t stick around permanently.
  3. I get to have separate desktop icons (read: drun entries).
  4. I don’t need to have a urlbar I don’t use get in the way of what the application is doing.

Faster alt-tab access with a visual indicator (icon). I have a billion tabs open, but a few of them are tools I am referencing all day long. Plus FF does not work with the sites I need to access - so I do not use FF.

Are you sure that’s not just the usual user-agent string matches? Full incompatibilities are rather uncommon, it comes down to essentially just a few codecs that are occasionally used for RTC stuff.

The most high-profile one I’m aware of is Microsoft teams, but even they recently started supporting firefox.

Google haven’t managed to completely delete web standards just yet ;p

No, it’s browser support. For example, I use voice dictation for work in Google Docs. Chrome only. Zoom works better and has more options (use web for transcription on notes), etc.

I love FF, but it just doesn’t work for the services I need.

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For anyone that comes back to this, I ended up doing this with Chrome (pretty sure it would work for Chromium).

  • I prefer this way, as it always loads the explicit URL vs creating the desktop shortcut from the GUI in Chrome. With google accounts, the default account would always load into the app. I have separate “apps” for different Google-related services/IDs.
  • caveat, there are no Windows controls which is fine with me due to the tiling controls that I use.

I create a desktop file like this:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Nixos Discourse
Comment=Launch Nixos Discourse
Exec=google-chrome-stable --app="" %U

Then via home-manager, I places the files:

home.file."nix-discourse.desktop" = {
    source = ./desktop-files/nix-discourse.desktop;
    target = ".local/share/applications/nix-discourse.desktop";

home.file."nix.png" = {
    source = ./icons/nix.png;
    target = ".local/share/icons/hicolor/48x48/apps/nix.png";

It works great for what I wanted. And all the apps are now declared in Nix!

I did something similar to you, thanks for the idea!

I encounter 1 issue, the icon of the app in the dock it blurry, it starts with the shiny Icon I provided in the desktop file and then changes to this:

Did it happen to you as well?

One other thing, I wonder if there is a way to minimize it to the tray, I fear it’s not possible.

I believe you need to have the image use the correct dimensions and resolution. I have some that are blurry, but I have not spent the time to go back to figure out what is “right.”

Hey TLATER how to import only this part to my nix flake configuration? Only have to import file and use the options?

I don’t currently mark it as an output, and I’m not planning to keep a stable API, so copy the file to your config and just add it to your home-manager modules’ imports.

Then set the options as needed, here’s an example for discord: dotfiles/home-config/config/graphical-applications/discord.nix at 7ce77190696375aab3543f7365d298729a548df5 · TLATER/dotfiles · GitHub