Overview

In this chapter, we're going to get set up with a small desktop application.

We'll learn about:

  • Installing the Rust programming language
  • Installing the Dioxus CLI for bundling and developing
  • Suggested cargo extensions

For platform-specific guides, check out the Platform Specific Guides.

Setting up Dioxus

Dioxus requires a few main things to get up and running:

Dioxus integrates very well with the Rust-Analyzer IDE plugin which will provide appropriate syntax highlighting, code navigation, folding, and more.

Installing Rust

Head over to https://rust-lang.org and install the Rust compiler.

Once installed, make sure to install wasm32-unknown-unknown as a target if you're planning on deploying your app to the web.

rustup target add wasm32-unknown-unknown

Platform-Specific Dependencies

If you are running a modern, mainstream operating system, you should need no additional setup to build WebView-based Desktop apps. However, if you are running an older version of Windows or a flavor of Linux with no default web rendering engine, you might need to install some additional dependencies.

Windows

Windows Desktop apps depend on WebView2 - a library which should be installed in all modern Windows distributions. If you have Edge installed, then Dioxus will work fine. If you don't have Webview2, then you can install it through Microsoft. MS provides 3 options:

  1. A tiny "evergreen" bootstrapper which will fetch an installer from Microsoft's CDN
  2. A tiny installer which will fetch Webview2 from Microsoft's CDN
  3. A statically linked version of Webview2 in your final binary for offline users

For development purposes, use Option 1.

Linux

Webview Linux apps require WebkitGtk. When distributing, this can be part of your dependency tree in your .rpm or .deb. However, it's very likely that your users will already have WebkitGtk.

sudo apt install libwebkit2gtk-4.0-dev libgtk-3-dev libappindicator3-dev

When using Debian/bullseye libappindicator3-dev is no longer available but replaced by libayatana-appindicator3-dev.

# on Debian/bullseye use:
sudo apt install libwebkit2gtk-4.0-dev libgtk-3-dev libayatanta-appindicator3-dev

If you run into issues, make sure you have all the basics installed, as outlined in the Tauri docs.

macOS

Currently - everything for macOS is built right in! However, you might run into an issue if you're using nightly Rust due to some permissions issues in our Tao dependency (which have been resolved but not published).

Dioxus-CLI for dev server, bundling, etc.

We also recommend installing the Dioxus CLI. The Dioxus CLI automates building and packaging for various targets and integrates with simulators, development servers, and app deployment. To install the CLI, you'll need cargo (which should be automatically installed with Rust):

$ cargo install dioxus-cli

You can update dioxus-cli at any time with:

$ cargo install --force dioxus-cli

We provide this 1st-party tool to save you from having to run potentially untrusted code every time you add a crate to your project - as is standard in the NPM ecosystem.

Suggested extensions

If you want to keep your traditional npm install XXX workflow for adding packages, you might want to install cargo-edit and a few other fun cargo extensions:

  • cargo edit for adding dependencies from the CLI
  • cargo-expand for expanding macro calls
  • cargo tree - an integrated cargo command that lets you inspect your dependency tree

That's it! We won't need to touch NPM/WebPack/Babel/Parcel, etc. However, you can configure your app to use WebPack with traditional WASM-pack tooling.

Rust Knowledge

With Rust, things like benchmarking, testing, and documentation are included in the language. We strongly recommend going through the official Rust book completely. However, our hope is that a Dioxus app can serve as a great first Rust project. With Dioxus you'll learn about:

  • Error handling
  • Structs, Functions, Enums
  • Closures
  • Macros

We've put a lot of care into making Dioxus syntax familiar and easy to understand, so you won't need deep knowledge on async, lifetimes, or smart pointers until you really start building complex Dioxus apps.

We strongly encourage exploring the guides for more information on how to work with the integrated tooling: