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The first HTML5 based FrontEnd!

I always loved the old style games. The feeling of the classic arcade games (especially the coin-up ones) is undescribable. The low 2D graphics and the low sound quality are reminding me all of those hours and money I spend in front of such a game machine.
Great Times!
Nowadays there are emulators for almost all types of the old game machines. Perhaps, the best known emulator is M.A.M.E., which is simulating the old coin-up arcade game machines. There are a lot of other emulators, for other types of machines, like DOSBox (a simulator for the old DOS applications and games). There are also simulators for Nintendo GameBoy, Atari, Amiga, Commodore and lot of other.
Front Ends are programs to help us organize and run all of these aold games, using the emulators in the background.
Today, there are lot of game front ends. Some are commercial and other are free (or even open source).
HTMLFrontEnd it's a FrondEnd for arcade machines. The difference with the other FrontEnds is that it is HTML5 based. That means you can program in html/css/javascript to do whatever you want.


HTMLFrontEnd does nothing by default. Run it and you will get a blank screen.  However when you start programming in html/css and javascript, you can create your own custom themes and change the way it looks and responds.
Because not all people are programmer, HTMLFrontEnd comes with a default HTML5 theme, in order to see how it works, or modify it and do whatever you want (e.g. support more emulators).


  1. Installing HTMLFrontEnd
  2. Setup the emulators

HTMLFrontEnd acts like a simple browser, that only loads html files which are saved locally. You can't surf the internet with HTMLFrontEnd for security reasons, because it enables low level fuctions in order to control your machine with javascript (Shutdown/Reboot your computer, load the emulators etc).

Attention: When you load HTMLFrontEnd the mouse moves in the apper left corner of the main window and then returns to the initial position. This is not a bug. It is done on puprose in order to ensure the embedded browser will have the keyboard focus.

HTMLFrontEnd (version 5.0a)

(Screenshot) -> Click to download current version

Download current version:

Compatible with the following operating systems:

Windows 7, 8 and 8.1

Note: Requires Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 or higher to be installed

Attention: No longer support for Windows XP. You can use a slim/light version of Windows 7 for older machines, but don't remove Internet Explorer.

After installation don't forget to edit the settings of the emulators.


HTML5 themes
Download default theme: carousel640x480.zip (v5.0)

 carousel640x480 version 5.0 new features (02/01/2015)

  • Added gamepad/joystick support
  • Bug fixes.
  • Ability to change the sound volume of background music, sound effects, video playback and system master volume

The html code is compatible for all the versions of HTMLFrontEnd.

Version History

In following list the changes between the different versions are recorded
  • Version 5.0a (current version)
  • Version 5.0
  • No longer support for Windows XP. For older machines you can use a light/slim version of Windows 7 (Attention: Don't remove microsoft internet explorer because it is required).
  • Bug fixes.
  • Add the ability to change the system master sound volume
  • Version 4.1.1
  • The two windows versions are unified.
  • Bug fixes.
  • Version 4.0
  • Effort to combine the two versions for Windows (QT and Internet explorer)
  • Version 3.1.1
  • Add the "DisableSystemClose" setting to prevent ALT+F4 from closing the FE. This is a usefull setting if your game (or game emulator) needs ALT+F4 to close.
  • Version 3.1
  • Fixes for QT version. VLC is required to be fully installed.
  • Version 3.0
  • Bug fixes.
  • Added the ability to save settings from html code.
  • Released version based on internet Explorer (you can use the html5 video and audio tags).
  • Released the 64bit version for Linux.
  • Version 2.9
  • Bug fixes
  • Version 2.8
  • Added support for ini files (You can save your game list to ini files and load them in the frontend).
  • Auto size support.
  • Version 2.7
  • Only one instance of HTMLFrontEnd is allowed to run. The parameters are passed to the already running instance.
  • Added the ability to pass the parameters to the current loaded page or to a page of your choice (defined in settings.ini)
  • Version 2.6
  • Fixed a bug that was preventing to redirect to a new html page when parameters were used
  • Added the ability to pass all the startup parameters to the index page.
    For example: If you start the browser with the command HTMLFrontEnd.exe param1=test param2=anything then the browser will automatically load the index page like this index.html?param1=test&param2=anything. It's up to you to get the parameters (with javascript code) and do whatever you want (or pass the to other pages).
  • Added the ability to get emulator's main executable path from settings.ini.
  • Added the option to load settings.ini file for fast edit.
  • Version 2.5
  • Fixed the bug when you searched for directories , the browser was returning the list of files too.
  • Added support to read and change the settings (listed in [SETTINGS] section of "settings.ini") using html code.
  • Added a [SECURE SETTINGS] section in "settings.ini" for settings that you are not allowed to change or view using html code.
  • Added the prefix {NOWAIT} to run a process without waiting to terminate.
  • Version 2.4
  • Minor bug fixes.
  • Fixed a bug where in some cases lists were not sorted.
  • Added cookies support. Cookies are filtered and must always start with HTMLFE_ prefix. See default640x480 html theme for the example.
  • Version 2.3
  • Bug fixes.
  • Version 2.2
  • Bug fixes to the reboot/shutdown commands in Linux version from version 2.1
  • Removed history feature. Now backspace isn't directing to the previous page
  • Version 2.1
  • Bug fixes
  • Fixed the bug in the Linux version where you had to click to the main window to get keyboard focus.
  • Added window border setting
  • Added root password setting (Linux users). Attention! This is not safe. Use it in a stand alone machine with no internet access.
  • Bug and UI fixes to default theme.
  • Version 2.0
  • Converted to a multiplatform application. It's based on webkit anf QT4 libraries
  • No internet explorer is required
  • No windows media player is required. Though you have to install VLC player in order to play media files. Download from the official website (www.videolan.org)
  • CCS64 support added
  • Version 1.4
  • Bug fixes
  • WinUAE support added
  • Version 1.3
  • Bug fixes
  • Version 1.2
  • Added support for Nestopia
  • Minor changes to the code.
  • Version 1.1
  • Added support for DOSBox
  • Version 1.0
  • This is the first official version of the program.
Created: 09/08/2013
Updated: 02/01/2015

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