Introduction to open-source hosting with MacStadium  

MacStadium’s Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) program provides free access to a Mac mini hosted in one of our US or European data centers for the development and hosting of open-source projects. We currently sponsor over 100 projects, including Neutralinojs, enabling continued support for open-source software in the Apple ecosystem. 

What is Neutralinojs? 

The lightweight and portable software development kit (SDK) you didn’t know you needed. Until now. 

Neutralinojs is a lightweight and portable desktop application development framework that supports JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, and works cross-platform on macOS, Linux, Windows, and Web. Neutralinojs has a less resource-intensive interface compared to chromium-node-based frameworks. 

Back in 2018, Neutralinojs started as a proof of concept (POC) project for a university research paper. Shalitha Suranga, Deepal Samarakoon, and Chathumadhuri Hettiarachchi wrote about a theoretical way to build cross-platform apps using inbuilt platform-specific browser libraries. Their research started to gain traction and positive feedback from the open-source developer community after publishing their findings on GitHub. Over the next several years, Neutralinojs improved to a production-ready, stable, productivity-first desktop app development framework. Learn more about the history of Neutralinojs.

How Neutralinojs uses MacStadium 

Neutralinojs uses a MacStadium-hosted Mac mini for developing and testing their software on macOS.  

Without any Mac infrastructure of their own, the Neutralinojs team needed a way to test their framework. Since partnering with MacStadium in 2021, Neutralinojs was able to bring their platform to macOS and properly test features. 

“Thanks to MacStadium, we were able to release a working version of Neutralinojs on Mac,” said Shalitha Suranga, co-founder of Neutralinojs. “It's impossible to properly release a new version without our Mac mini instance since we often have to write macOS-specific code in most GUI features, and we do a manual developer test on macOS for every cross-platform feature.” 

Here’s a look at how Neutralinojs turned their MacStadium-hosted Mac mini into a Neutralinojs developer computer with Terminal, Neutralinojs codebase, and VS Code: 

Neutralinojs screenshot MacStadium

The Neutralinojs contributors frequently access this Mac workstation with Remmina remote desktop client via the VNC protocol. 

“The Mac mini instance helps us learn and experiment with available macOS APIs and features that we can use to improve Neutralinojs,” said Shalitha Suranga. 

Current and upcoming Neutralinojs projects 

The Neutralinojs team is looking forward to delivering some top requested features in their new update. They recently released the Neutralinojs 5.0 version which includes improved filesystem API, new system APIs, security improvements, and various new features requested by the community. 

Neutralinojs is also participating in the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2024 program to help bring more developers into the open-source world.

How can Neutralinojs help other devs? 

Neutralinojs is a free, open-source, fully-featured, and secure desktop app development framework that developers can use to build cross-platform desktop apps with web technologies. With its minimal design, any developer, even beginners, can build cross-platform desktop apps within their skill set. 

“Neutralinojs is extendable, so developers can extend its API with C++ or write extensions with any preferred programming language to build advanced desktop apps,” said Shalitha Suranga. “It comes with inbuilt a modularized JavaScript API, CLI, updator, and frontend-library integration to compete with other popular cross-platform desktop app development frameworks.” 

Where to download Neutralinojs 

Ready to start building lightweight apps with Neutralinojs? 

You can get Neutralinojs instantly on macOS. 

Want to see the details?  

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