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How to create an end-user hApp

This guide describes how to create a hApp that can be directly installed and executed by the end users, for both desktop and mobile platforms.


The scaffolding tool is a great way to create and package holochain applications. However, its built-in templates don't produce an end-user installable application. They produce a .webhapp file that needs to be installed in a holochain runtime, which is the actual app that is being executed in the OS of the end-user (eg. the launcher).

We need a way to create end-users applications for mobile platforms to create simple experiences similar to what users are used to in the existing app stores.


This is also what kangaroo accomplishes. However, the approach that kangaroo takes is to serve as a template for you to clone it. The approach for p2p Shipyard's tauri-plugin-holochain is just to be another Tauri plugin, which means that apps will get bug fixes and new features automatically when upgrading to a new version of the plugin.

Scaffolding the end-user app


p2p Shipyard relies heavily on nix to achieve reproducible environments. Unfortunately, nix does not support Windows. So if you have a Windows OS, you will need to install Windows Subsystem Linux and run all the steps in this guide inside of its environment.

  1. If you haven't already, install the nix package manager with:
sh <(curl -L --daemon
sh <(curl -L

And follow along its instructions and prompts.

  1. Add the appropriate nix caches to your environment:
nix run nixpkgs#cachix use holochain-ci
nix run nixpkgs#cachix use holochain-open-dev
nix run nixpkgs#cachix use darksoil-studio
  1. Scaffold your hApp using the scaffolding tool.

After it completes, make sure you execute its lasts steps:

nix develop
npm install


If you already have a hApp that you want to convert to a tauri end-user app, you can skip this step.

  1. Run this command inside the repository of your web-hApp:
nix run github:darksoil-studio/p2p-shipyard#scaffold-tauri-happ

And follow along to answer all the necessary prompts.

This will execute all the required steps to convert your previously scaffolded hApp to an end-user Tauri app.

  1. Take a look into the files that the scaffold command edited, and adapt them if necessary:
  • flake.nix: added the p2p-shipyard input and its devShells.
  • package.json: added set up scripts and some devDependencies.
  • ui/vite.config.ts: set the server configuration necessary for Tauri.
  • src-tauri: here is where the code for the backend of the tauri app lives.
    • For now it's a simple Tauri app that includes the tauri-plugin-holochain, and installs your app when it's first launched.
    • The tauri app will just use the UI that the scaffolding tool produced as its own UI.


The scaffold-tauri-happ command assumes that you have scaffolded your app using the scaffolding tool.

It also tries to make smart guesses about the structure of your project, but it can be tricky to support every repository structure. Please open an issue in the github repository if you find any bugs in it!

That's it! We now have an end-user, cross-platform hApp.


The scaffolded tauri app is missing icons, which are needed for the app to compile. Run through the rest of this guide and the following one (Getting to know Tauri) to be able to generate the icons for your Tauri app.

Development Environment

The scaffold-tauri-happ has added the necessary nix devShells to your flake.nix file so that you don't need to follow install anything to get the tauri or Android development environment.


Nix devShells are packages that describe development environments, with all their dependencies and environment variables, so that the developer does not need to configure manually their setup.

As usual, run this command to enter the development environment:

nix develop

This can take a while while it builds all the required dependencies.

Next, run these commands:

npm install
npm start
yarn install
yarn start
pnpm install
pnpm start

This will start two agents connected to each other.

Under the hood, these commands are running tauri CLI commands. As such, we should get to know Tauri a bit better to be comfortable while developing the app. Go to Getting to know Tauri to familiarize yourself with it.