Awesome Open Source
Awesome Open Source


NOTE: A rewrite of this project is underway using Blazor and can be found here

Toby is a simple YouTube player for the desktop.


Toby In Action:

Toby In Action

Toby Main UI:

Toby Main UI

Toby Video List:

Toby Video List

Toby Video List (Slim Grid)

Toby Video List (Slim Grid)

Toby Recently Played:

Toby Recently Played

Toby Manage Videos:

Toby Manage Videos

Toby Server Log:

Toby Server Log


The old Toby architecture was geared towards an Electron deployment and I loaded all the code from the file system. The new architecture puts Toby behind an Express web application that is spawned from a regular Node process so that more deployment scenarios are possible.

Having Toby behind an Express app makes it fairly trivial to deploy to NW.js, Electron and support a regular web browser.

Toby is meant as a personal application running on a personal computer and it's web API is not password protected in any way and there has been no attempt to protect the data Toby collects. Toby only cares about a few things, namely YouTube video titles, YouTube video IDs and the groups you decide to store your favorite videos in.

Running The Latest Code

Clone the code using git and then add a folder named browsers with a copy of electron and/or nwjs. We'll use one of these to run Toby.


You Just Need One Of The Following:

Depending on what platform you want to run Toby in (Electron or NW.js) you'll need to make sure the main property in package.json is set accordingly:

main: "./build/index.html"
main: "./build/electron.js"

In order to run Toby you'll need to download the dependencies and build the source code. Open a terminal to the source code repository and run the following commands.

Install Dependencies

npm install -g webpack webpack-cli typescript grunt bower
npm install
bower install

Building the Source Code

NOTE: You will need to supply your own YouTube API key. This needs to be placed in an environment variable called YOUTUBE_API_KEY. You will need a Google account to obtain one. Go [here ( to get an API key.

The server needs to be built using Grunt.


The front end needs to be build using Webpack.


Assuming all dependencies are downloaded and the source code has been compiled perform the following from a command line at the root of the Toby code repository:

NOTE: main will need to be updated in package.json to point to the correct starting point for your deployment scenario. If you are using Electron it will need to be set to build\electron.js or if you are using NW.js it'll need to be set to build\index.html. It should also be noted that the index.html contained in the root of the Toby repository will be copied to the build folder and used from there.

Running in NW.js

browsers\nwjs\nw.exe .

NOTE: You may want to replace the ffmpeg.dll that ships with NW.js with a more capable one from The ffmpeg.dll that ships with NW.js is crippled and won't play many of the YouTube videos you most likely will want to play.

Running in Electron

browsers\electron\electron .

Running in a Browser

Start the server up:

node.exe build\server.js

Then open a browser to

Running using the Toby Launcher

I've wrote a rudimentary launcher in C# .NET to assist with launching Toby easily. By default if you run the launcher without command line args it will run Toby using NW.js. There is only one command line option at this time.

After building the launcher copy the TobyLauncher.exe, NDesk.Options.dll and Newtonsoft.Json.dll files to the root of the Toby repository.

  • Command Line Options:
    • /p [nw, electron, web]


Launching Toby in a web browser: TobyLauncher.exe /p web Launching Toby in Electron: TobyLauncher.exe /p electron

NOTE: The launcher is crude and there is not enough error checking yet. Things will likely go wrong if Toby is not set up correctly as stated above.


Important Key Combos:

F1 - Toggles server log F11 - Toggles fullscreen

In addition to keyboard shortcuts there are commands that can be typed into the search box that will perform various things.

Here is a list (there will be additional ones added soon):

  • [name hint] : Lists locally saved videos based on the [name hint]
  • [search term] : Searches YouTube for the [search term]
  • /local [search term] : Searches for locally saved videos
  • /g [group name] : Lists the videos for the [group name]
  • /list-all : List all videos contained in the database
  • /history : Lists the recently played videos
  • /rp or /recently-played : List last 30 recently played videos
  • /rps or /recently-played-search : Search recently played videos
  • /manage : Manage what groups videos are in and also provide ability to delete videos
  • /archive : Export the contents of the database to the data.txt file
  • /gv or /grid-view - Toggle slim grid view for search results
  • /dv or /default-view - Toggle default view for search results
  • /clear : Clears search results
  • /monochrome : (NW.js/Electron only) Short cut to set the monochrome video filter and thumbnails in search results
  • /saturate : (NW.js/Electron only) Short cut to set the saturated video filter and thumbnails in search results
  • /sepia : (NW.js/Electron only) Short cut to set the sepia video filter and thumbnails in search results
  • /normal : (NW.js/Electron only) Short cut to set the normal video filter and thumbnails in search results
  • /filter monochrome : (NW.js/Electron only) Short cut to set the monochrome video filter and thumbnails in search results
  • /filter saturate : (NW.js/Electron only) Short cut to set the saturated video filter and thumbnails in search results
  • /filter sepia : (NW.js/Electron only) Short cut to set the sepia video filter and thumbnails in search results

NOTE: You can refer to /src/toby-ui.tsx for the various short cuts available for these commands.

Wait, I used NW.js and some YouTube videos won't play

The FFMPEG library that ships with NW.js is less capable than the one that ships with Electron. The short answer is just copy the FFMPEG library from an Electron release replace the one that ships with NW.js. I've been doing this for a long time and it works well for me (on Windows).

The longer answer is you can compile your own FFMPEG library with the support you and there are a lot of resources already out there to handle this scenario.

NOTE: This technique does not work with NW.js 0.20.0-beta1 as the FFMPEG seems to be different than one that ships with Electron.

Looks like there are some alternate FFMPEG builds available which can take care of this:

Features TODO

  • Usage info from within the app

Updating the data file

I've removed the ordinary data file as it was too cumbersome to get the parser correct. I've decided to just define some basic starting video data in the following code file /src/data.ts. If you are building from source feel free to edit this to your liking. If at anytime you edit this file and run Toby it will update your database importing any new videos you put there.

NOTE: Although it hasn't been done yet it'd be trivial to replace this with JSON data loaded from the filesystem.


Frank Hale <[email protected]> 24 November 2019



Get A Weekly Email With Trending Projects For These Topics
No Spam. Unsubscribe easily at any time.
Typescript (305,149
Search (31,400
Thumbnails (3,534
Cut (2,313
Nwjs (655
Electron Application (623
Youtube Player (269
Nwjs Application (25