Despite its terse man page, Chromium provides a large number of command-line options. One of these is
app-id, which tells Chromium to directly launch a specific Chrome App. Combined with the isolation provided by Firejail, this makes using Chrome Apps a much more enjoyable experience.
For instance, I use the Signal Desktop app. When I received the beta invite, I created a new directory to act as the home directory for the sandbox that would run the app.
$ mkdir -p ~/.chromium-apps/signal
I then launched a sandboxed browser using that directory and installed the app.
$ firejail --private=~/.chromium-apps/signal /usr/bin/chromium
After the app was installed, I added an alias to my zsh configuration to launch the app directly.
alias signal="firejail --private=~/.chromium-apps/signal /usr/bin/chromium --app-id=bikioccmkafdpakkkcpdbppfkghcmihk"
To launch the application I can now simply run
signal, just as if it was a normal desktop application. I don’t have to worry about it accessing private information, or even care that it is actually running on Chromium underneath. I use this method daily for a number of different Chrome Apps, all in different isolated directories in
~/.chromium-apps. As someone who is not a normal Chromium user, it makes the prospect of running a Chrome App much more attractive.