Today marks the first beta release of Wails v2 for Mac! It's taken quite a while to get to this point and I'm hoping that today's release will give you something that's reasonably useful. There have been a number of twists and turns to get to this point and I'm hoping, with your help, to iron out the crinkles and get the Mac port polished for the final v2 release.
You mean this isn't ready for production? For your use case, it may well be ready, but there are still a number of known issues so keep your eye on this project board and if you would like to contribute, you'd be very welcome!
So what's new for Wails v2 for Mac vs v1? Hint: It's pretty similar to the Windows Beta 😉
There were a lot of requests for native menu support. Wails has finally got you covered. Application menus are now available and include support for most native menu features. This includes standard menu items, checkboxes, radio groups, submenus and separators.
There were a huge number of requests in v1 for the ability to have greater control of the window itself. I'm happy to announce that there's new runtime APIs specifically for this. It's feature-rich and supports multi-monitor configurations. There is also an improved dialogs API: Now, you can have modern, native dialogs with rich configuration to cater for all your dialog needs.
Mac Specific Options
In addition to the normal application options, Wails v2 for Mac also brings some Mac extras:
- Make your window all funky and translucent, like all the pretty swift apps!
- Highly customisable titlebar
- We support the NSAppearance options for the application
- Simple config to auto-create an "About" menu
No requirement to bundle assets
A huge pain-point of v1 was the need to condense your entire application down to single JS & CSS files. I'm happy to announce that for v2, there is no requirement to bundle assets, in any way, shape or form. Want to load a local image? Use an
<img> tag with a local src path. Want to use a cool font? Copy it in and add the path to it in your CSS.
Wow, that sounds like a webserver...
Yes, it works just like a webserver, except it isn't.
So how do I include my assets?
You just pass a single
embed.FS that contains all your assets into your application configuration. They don't even need to be in the top directory - Wails will just work it out for you.
New Development Experience
Now that assets don't need to be bundled, it's enabled a whole new development experience. The new
wails dev command will build and run your application, but instead of using the assets in the
embed.FS, it loads them directly from disk.
It also provides the additional features:
- Hot reload - Any changes to frontend assets will trigger and auto reload of the application frontend
- Auto rebuild - Any changes to your Go code will rebuild and relaunch your application
In addition to this, a webserver will start on port 34115. This will serve your application to any browser that connects to it. All connected web browsers will respond to system events like hot reload on asset change.
In Go, we are used to dealing with structs in our applications. It's often useful to send structs to our frontend and use them as state in our application. In v1, this was a very manual process and a bit of a burden on the developer. I'm happy to announce that in v2, any application run in dev mode will automatically generate TypeScript models for all structs that are input or output parameters to bound methods. This enables seamless interchange of data models between the two worlds.
In addition to this, another JS module is dynamically generated wrapping all your bound methods. This provides JSDoc for your methods, providing code completion and hinting in your IDE. It's really cool when you get data models auto-imported when hitting tab in an auto-generated module wrapping your Go code!
Getting an application up and running quickly was always a key goal for the Wails project. When we launched, we tried to cover a lot of the modern frameworks at the time: react, vue and angular. The world of frontend development is very opinionated, fast moving and hard to keep on top of! As a result, we found our base templates getting out of date pretty quickly and this caused a maintenance headache. It also meant that we didn't have cool modern templates for the latest and greatest tech stacks.
With v2, I wanted to empower the community by giving you the ability to create and host templates yourselves, rather than rely on the Wails project. So now you can create projects using community supported templates! I hope this will inspire developers to create a vibrant ecosystem of project templates. I'm really quite excited about what our developer community can create!
Native M1 Support
Thanks to the amazing support of Mat Ryer, the Wails project now supports M1 native builds:
You can also specify
darwin/amd64 as a target too:
Oh, I almost forgot.... you can also do
Cross Compilation to Windows
Because Wails v2 for Windows is pure Go, you can target Windows builds without docker.
V1 relied on a (now deprecated) WebView component. V2 uses the most recent WKWebKit component so expect the latest and greatest from Apple.
As I'd said in the Windows release notes, Wails v2 represents a new foundation for the project. The aim of this release is to get feedback on the new approach, and to iron out any bugs before a full release. Your input would be most welcome! Please direct any feedback to the v2 Beta discussion board.
I look forward to seeing what people build with Wails in this next exciting phase of the project!
PS: Linux users, you're next!
PPS: If you or your company find Wails useful, please consider sponsoring the project. Thanks!