Reading env variables from a Tauri App

“Build smaller, faster, and more secure desktop applications with a web frontend” is the promise made by Tauri. And indeed, it is a great Electron replacement.

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But being in its first days (the beta has just been released!) a bit of documentation is still missing, and on the internet there aren’t many examples on how to write code.

Tauri is very light, as highlighted by these benchmarks.

One thing that took me a bit of time to figure out, is how to read environment variables from the frontend of the application (JavaScript / Typescript or whichever framework you are using).

The Command

As usual, when you know the solution the problem seems easy. In this case, we just need an old trick: delegating!

In particular, we will use the Command API to spawn a sub-process (printenv) and reading the returned value. The code is quite straightforward, and it is synchronous:

1import { Command } from "@tauri-apps/api/shell";
3async readEnvVariable(variableName: string): Promise<string> {
4 const commandResult = await new Command(
5 "printenv",
6 variableName
7 ).execute();
9 if (commandResult.code !== 0) {
10 throw new Error(commandResult.stderr);
11 }
13 return commandResult.stdout;

The example is in Typescript, but can be easily transformed in standard JavaScript.

The Command API is quite powerful, so you can read its documentation to adapt the code to your needs.


There are another couple of things you should consider: first, you need to have installed in your frontend environment the @tauri-apps/api package. You also need to enable your app to execute commands. Since Tauri puts a strong emphasis on the security (and rightly so!), your app is by default sandboxed. To being able to use the Command API, you need to enable the shell.execute API.

It should be as easy as setting to true in your tauri.json config file.

Tauri is very nice, and I really hope it will conquer the desktops and replace Electron, since it is lighter, faster, and safer!

Questions, comments, feedback, critics, suggestions on how to improve my English? Leave a comment below, or drop me an email at [email protected].