Deploying Packages via Sparkle

This week our contribution to the open source Sparkle project was accepted. Once specialised installer package support is now available as standard to Mac developers.

DssW products have long supported automatic updates. This feature lets our software notify you when an update is available. When notified you can update immediately, normally with the click of a single button, or postpone the update until later.

We do this through Sparkle, an open source community project. Sparkle is a great example of the Mac developer community coming together to create a reusable, reliable, and friendly piece of creative commons. The result is a unit of code that any developer can take and add to their projects without cost or levy. Projects such as Sparkle rely on volunteers to donate their time, knowledge, and effort.

Sparkle - automatic software update for Mac

For early versions Power Manager 4, we developed a customised version of Sparkle. We needed something out of the ordinary. Sparkle was designed to handle applications replacing applications. We needed to support an application being replaced by installer package.

Our modification to Sparkle created something we called guided package installation. Our approach allowed an application to seamlessly update itself through an installer package. We managed the installation and authentication without showing the traditional Installer.app user interface. Using this approach gave us greater flexibility. Packages are far more capable than just placing files in specific locations.

Our custom "guided package installation" has long been available as a public fork to the Sparkle project. However, this week saw our branch join Sparkle proper. This means guided package installation is now included as standard when using the latest Sparkle code.

Thanks to the Sparkle team for merging in guided package installation support! We hope it reaches many new developers and make their customers' lives easier.

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Published by Graham Miln on