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How to package files for installation on a Mac

Posted on 2014-09-17
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Last Modified: 2014-09-20
Hi, I have created a PowerPoint add-in (.xlam) for Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac.  I want to deploy it, along with a template, and a few dozen supporting files, to another Mac user.  I'm very accustomed to building .msi installers for Windows, my usual platform, using a tool which let me specify what files are to be saved in specific locations on the target machine, creating folders if necessary, etc.

How do I go about this on a Mac?  

Seems like the stuff I read about a .dmg installer package is focused on copying an .app file into the applications folder, but this is a bit more involved.  I don's have an app.  The add-in has to go in a specific subfolder within the Office structure, the template goes to a different Office folder, and I want to copy resource files into yet another location that I would create on the target machine.  

Can someone please help a lifetime Windows user navigate this strange new world?

Thanks
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Question by:versatilebb
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Eoin OSullivan earned 500 total points
Comment Utility
DMG is a mountable disk image .. you can create a DMG using the Disk Utility .. and place all the files into the DMG .. however the DMG works like inserting any external device.  It will mount the image but not run any installer.

To install files you need to create an Installer Application or PKG (package) file which is probably what you want as you want to place files in specific folders on the users Mac.

The OSX development tools XCode had a tool called Package Manager to make installers but it is famous for being both buggy and unpredictable but it CAN work if you take it in baby steps ..
Install XCode then download the Package Manager as part of the Auxiliary Tools for XCode
https://developer.apple.com/downloads
Read this too about the problems with Package Manager
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2282763?start=0&tstart=0

When installing files in the users HOME folders it can be particularly messy as each user has a unique username the package needs to modify install paths for each user running the installer.

Also OSX has increased security for installing apps since OSX 10.8 and you will need to have a developer certificate to sign the app and help get the installer to pass security checks
Packages are signed with the Developer ID Installer certificate which you can download from Developer Certificate Utility - https://developer.apple.com/certificates/index.action#maccertlist

To build PKG files you might also look at this tool which is supposed to be quite good ..
http://s.sudre.free.fr/Software/Packages/about.html

This is another tool although it is dated now ..
http://s.sudre.free.fr/Software/Iceberg.html

Making a nice DMG can be also done with Disk Utility or 3rd party tools like this
http://dmgmakermac.aolor.com/
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Expert Comment

by:serialband
Comment Utility
If you're going to do this on several systems remotely and unattended and don't need or want user intervention, it's simpler to do this in a unix way, without all those trappings of a DMG or PKG, and just copy the files or unzip the files into place.

If you plan on distributing the PKG for the user to install it then a PKG file is a good way to go.

If you need both methods, then create the PKG and use the installer command to do it unattended.  You should be able to use the ~ (tilde) symbol as the folder name for the user's home folder.  It's equivalent to the %HOME% in Windows and expand to the user's home folder.  I've never created a package, as I've always just copied the files to the remote systems I manage.
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Author Closing Comment

by:versatilebb
Comment Utility
I tried http://s.sudre.free.fr/Software/Packages/about.html and it is indeed a very good and easy to use program.  It lets me build a simple (what it calls "Raw")  PKG installer, and I can specify exactly where I want certain files to be saved on the target computer, either in existing folders or ones created by the Package.   Perfect!
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