Installing the project

Installing NodeJS

It is a good idea to install NodeJS if you wish to follow along with this tutorial. All you have to do is go to the NodeJS downloads page and install the relevant files. Then follow the instructions to finish setup. Check you have the language installed by typing the following into a shell:

node -v
npm -v

If there are numbers appearing underneath the commands, NodeJS and NPM have been installed. Now to use them!

Electron guides

Electron has a quick start guide that demos how to get a simple Electron app running. To get started, simply type the following commands:

git clone
cd electron-quick-start
npm install
npm start

There is also a more extensive demo, which includes some things that Electron can do to imitate native apps. This can be found at Electron API demos, but this documentation will not cover it in detail.

Installation of the GUI

By this point you would have poked around the very primitive Electron demo. Or maybe not. Your choice. To install the robotics GUI, use the following commands:

git clone
cd robotics-gui
npm install

Before starting the application, make sure that you have Python installed. Chances are, if you’re reading this guide & following along, you have a Linux distro booted. If you have no idea what that is, please ask someone to help you with setting up a laptop. If you would rather use another OS, the installation of Python is relatively easy. On Windows: Simply go to the Python downloads page and find the relevant Windows installer. Run the .exe file, and make sure that the box labelled Add Python to your PATH IS CHECKED. This is incredibly important for later Done! Congratulations on installing Python on your machine!

On MacOS: Tricked you! Python3 should be installed by default. Simply go to spotlight, type in terminal and check that Python is installed by typing:


If it works, there should be a sign that looks like >>>. Type quit() to exit.

Installation breakdown

Above you were shown the basic workflow for installing an Electron application. Let’s break it down.

The first part of the code uses Git:

git clone <project url>.git

This gives your command line the following instructions:

  1. Use package Git to complete this operation
  2. The function for Git to perform is to clone (Download) a project
  3. Git should download from the specified URL and make it into a folder called <project-name>

I highly recommend learning more about Git with the “Pro Git” book. Even if you have used before, it is worth reading, as you are bound to learn something! It also helps develop skills for a real-world professional programming environment

The next commands are relatively simple:

  • cd <project-name> [Tells the computer to go to that folder]
  • npm install [Uses NPM (Node Package Manager) to install the required files]
  • npm start [Instructs NPM to run the start script]