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How to run web apps with ease on Linux

These days it seems like everything is a web app. Thanks to projects like Nativefier, Linux users can easily take any webpage and convert it to a native Linux app, but that takes a lot of time to do right.

A much better way is to install a program like Tangram on your Linux PC. It’s a useful web browser designed to handle web apps on Linux through a customized browser. In this guide, we’ll show you how to use it to run any web app on Linux with ease.

Installing Tangram on Linux

The Tangram application must be installed to run web apps on Linux. Thankfully, the app is straightforward to install, as the developer offers a Flatpak package. Also, there is an Arch Linux package and the source code too.

To start the installation of Tangram on your Linux system launch a terminal window. Once the terminal window is open, follow the command-line installation instructions outlined below that correspond with the OS you currently use.

Flatpak 

Flatpak is the preferred method of installation for Tangram, as the developer strongly advertises Flatpak on the GitHub project page. Additionally, the Tangram Flatpak release works on a wide variety of Linux OSes without issue due to the ubiquity of the Flatpak runtime.

To use the Flatpak release of Tangram, you will need to first install the Flatpak runtime on your Linux PC. To do that, follow our guide on the subject. After that, use the flatpak remote-add command to add the Flathub app store to your Linux system.

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

After adding the Flathub repo to your Linux PC, the installation of Tangram can begin. Using the flatpak install command, install the latest release of Tangram to your computer.

flatpak install flathub re.sonny.Tangram

Arch Linux

If you’re an Arch Linux user, you’ll be able to set up Tangram on your computer through the Arch Linux AUR. To start the installation process, open up a terminal window and use the Pacman command to install the “Git” and “Base-devel” packages.

sudo pacman -S git base-devel

After installing the two packages, use the git clone command to grab the Trizen AUR helper, and the makepkg command to install it on the system. Trizen will make setting up Tangram on your computer much more comfortable, as everything is automated.

git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/trizen.git cd trizen makepkg -sri

Once the Trizen application is installed on your computer, you can use it to get the Tangram program up and running quickly. Using the trizen -S command, load up the latest release of Tangram.

trizen -S tangram

Building from source

While we do not recommend it, it is possible to download the source code for Tangram and compile it yourself. To get the Tangram application built from source on your Linux PC, head over to the project’s GitHub page. It outlines in detail how to build the app from scratch.

Run web apps on Linux

Tangram is a web browser that is used to save web applications (think Gmail, the Spotify web player, or Google Docs) so that you can always access it. As a result, the app is pretty straightforward. Follow the step-by-step instructions below to learn how to use it.

Step 1: Launch the Tangram application on the Linux desktop by searching for it in the app menu on your Linux PC. You can also run it by executing the following Flatpak command in a terminal window.

flatpak run re.sonny.Tangram

Step 2: With the Tangram application open, look to the address bar, and click on it with the mouse, and type out the URL to your web app. Keep in mind; it doesn’t have to be apps like Gmail. You can also use LAN web apps like a home Plex server, etc.

After typing out the URL for the web app, press the Enter key to go to the web app in the browser. Allow your web app to fully load, and log in your web app if need be.

Step 3: When you’ve logged into your web app, and you’ve got the app up and running, look for the “Done” button, and click on it with the mouse. When “Done” is selected, the browser will bring up a pop-up window. In the pop-up window, fill out the name of your web app, and click on the “Add” button to dock it to Tangram. 

Want to set up multiple web applications in Tangram? Click on the new tab button in the upper right-hand corner. Then, follow steps 1-3 to set up as many web apps in Tangram as you want!

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