A lightweight, Golang alternative to Electron

Wails to the Golang GUI framework!

Today marks the release of Wails v2. It’s been about 18 months since the first v2 alpha and about a year from the first beta release. I’m truly grateful to everyone involved in the evolution of the project.

Part of the reason it took that long was due to wanting to get to some definition of completeness before officially calling it v2. There’s never a perfect time to tag a release – there are always outstanding issues or “just one more” features to squeeze in. What tagging an imperfect major release does, however, is to provide a bit of stability for users of the project and a bit of a reset for the developers.

This release is more than I’d ever expected it to be. I hope it gives you as much pleasure as it has given us to develop it.

What is Wails, the Golang UI alternative to Electron?

If you are unfamiliar with Wails, it is a project that enables Go programmers to provide rich frontends for their Go programs using familiar web technologies. It’s a lightweight, Go alternative to Electron. Much more information can be found on the official site.

What’s new in Release 2.0?

The v2 release is a giant leap forward for the project, addressing many of the pain points of v1. If you have not read any of the blog posts on the Beta releases for macOS, Windows or Linux, then I encourage you to do so as it covers all the significant changes in more detail. In summary:

  • Webview2 component for Windows that supports modern web standards and debugging capabilities.
  • Dark / Light theme + custom theming on Windows.
  • Windows now has no CGO requirements.
  • Vite integration providing a hot-reload development environment for your application.
  • Native application menus and dialogs.
  • Native window translucency effects for Windows and macOS. Support for Mica & Acrylic backdrops.
  • Out-of-the-box support for Svelte, Vue, React, Preact, Lit & Vanilla project templates.
  • Easily generate an NSIS installer for Windows deployments.
  • A rich runtime library providing utility methods for window manipulation, eventing, dialogs, menus and logging.
  • Support for obfuscating your application using garble.
  • Support for compressing your application using UPX.
  • Automatic Typescript generation of Go structs. More info here.
  • No extra libraries or DLLs are required to be shipped with your application. For any platform.
  • No requirement to bundle frontend assets. Just develop your application like any other web application.