Tips for Building Mac OS X Installers with InstallAnywhere

By Fletcher Oliver

I’m a Mac user, and I wanted to share with my fellow developers a few tips I’ve learned for building Mac OS X installers with InstallAnywhere.

First, you should always determine exact requirements for the resulting installer. Do you need a simple installer for a non-experienced end user to install a complex product, or a highly customizable installer for higher-level users? Prioritizing and defining what features to include or exclude proves essential in the planning stage and results in an easy-to-use interface.

While InstallAnywhere runs on any Java-enabled platform, each platform necessitates different features. In the case of Mac OS X, default install folders and aliases are defined separately, which causes a need for default permissions for files and folders on the target system. These permissions can be configured through navigating to Project>Platforms>Mac OS X in the InstallAnywhere Advanced Designer and selecting the appropriate permissions checkboxes for default install folders and permissions.

In addition, you can enable installer authentication, which should result in the installer supplying the correct credentials to the operating system, in order to elevate the privileges. You can also choose to bundle a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) for use by the target application and the installer. Supported Java Virtual Machines that are supported through Mac OS X include the following versions: 1.4x, 1.5x, and 1.6x.

Another step that is essential to creating efficient and functional installers is properly identifying the installer itself. This can be achieved by navigating to Project>File Settings in the Advance Designer and defining the File Modification Timestamp Behavior. These features enable you to track changes in software versions and prevent the possibility of essential files being overwritten on the target system through using one of these four timestamps.

Also in this section, the default overwrite behavior can be set adding another failsafe to important files being overwritten. The default setting is to overwrite the old files and prompt the user if the files are newer, but this can be changed through these settings, customizing to the specific needs of your installer. Once again these options should be set to specify what you want your version of installer to do or not, making the planning stage before the actual creation of the installer essential.

As a Mac user myself, I hope I was able to this shed some light on the process and help add some more great Mac OS X installers to the market.

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