Application Bundle

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Revision as of 07:48, 29 April 2020 by Trev (talk | contribs) (From Lazarus: Added note about the real executable)

This article applies to macOS only.

See also: Multiplatform Programming Guide

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This article applies to macOS only.

See also: Multiplatform Programming Guide

Application Bundle is a directory with the extension ".app", with special purpose on macOS systems. It contains the application executable, resource files, help files and information about the application and is necessary for the correct execution of applications. From within Lazarus it is used for the Carbon and Cocoa interfaces, but one can also build applications with other interfaces by using scripts.


You can learn more about application bundles in the Apple Bundle Programming Guide.

Application (bundle) settings are located in the property list file: Info.plist located in the directory.

To access it, you need to right click (ctrl-left click) on a bundle and select Show Package Contents



You can learn about property lists in the Apple Information Property List Key Reference.

Creating Application Bundle

From Lazarus

Open a project and go to Project -> Project Options -> Application tab and push the Create Application Bundle button. The resulting Application Bundle will contain a symbolic link to the real executable.

Note: You must remove the symbolic link and copy the real executable "project1" into the directory to distribute the application and use it on another computer.

Via command-line tool shipped with Lazarus

Open lazarus/components/macfiles/examples/createmacapplication.lpi in the IDE. Compile. Open a Terminal of your choice. Type:

cd project1/
lazarus/components/macfiles/examples/createmacapplication project1
ln -s ../../../project1

Use shell script

You can adapt the following shell script to create a customized application bundle for your application. It allows the creation of either debug or release bundle.

  • In the debug bundle, a link to the executable is placed, allowing for debugging using the Lazarus IDE,
  • In the release bundle, the executable is copied so the application bundle as a whole can be used stand-alone/copied to other locations.
# Force Bourne shell in case tcsh is default.

# Reads the bundle type

echo "========================================================"
echo "    Bundle creation script"
echo "========================================================"
echo ""
echo " Please select which kind of bundle you would like to build:"
echo ""
echo " 1 > Debug bundle"
echo " 2 > Release bundle"
echo " 0 > Exit"

read command

case $command in

  1) ;;

  2) ;;
  0) exit 0;;

  *) echo "Invalid command"
     exit 0;;


# Creates the bundle



if ! [ -e $appfile ]
  echo "$appfile does not exist"
elif [ -e $appfolder ]
  echo "$appfolder already exists"
  echo "Creating $appfolder..."
  mkdir $appfolder
  mkdir $appfolder/Contents
  mkdir $appfolder/Contents/MacOS
  mkdir $appfolder/Contents/Resources

# For a debug bundle,
# Instead of copying executable into .app folder after each compile,
# simply create a symbolic link to executable.
if [ $command = 1 ]; then
  ln -s ../../../$appname $macosfolder/$appname
  cp $appname $macosfolder/$appname

# Copy the resource files to the correct place
  cp *.bmp $appfolder/Contents/Resources
  cp icon3.ico $appfolder/Contents/Resources
  cp icon3.png $appfolder/Contents/Resources
  cp macicon.icns $appfolder/Contents/Resources
  cp docs/*.* $appfolder/Contents/Resources
# Create PkgInfo file.
  echo $PkgInfoContents >$appfolder/Contents/PkgInfo
# Create information property list file (Info.plist).
  echo '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>' >$plistfile
  echo '<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">' >>$plistfile
  echo '<plist version="1.0">' >>$plistfile
  echo '<dict>' >>$plistfile
  echo '  <key>CFBundleDevelopmentRegion</key>' >>$plistfile
  echo '  <string>English</string>' >>$plistfile
  echo '  <key>CFBundleExecutable</key>' >>$plistfile
  echo '  <string>'$appname'</string>' >>$plistfile
  echo '  <key>CFBundleIconFile</key>' >>$plistfile
  echo '  <string>macicon.icns</string>' >>$plistfile
  echo '  <key>CFBundleIdentifier</key>' >>$plistfile
  echo '  <string>org.magnifier.magnifier</string>' >>$plistfile
  echo '  <key>CFBundleInfoDictionaryVersion</key>' >>$plistfile
  echo '  <string>6.0</string>' >>$plistfile
  echo '  <key>CFBundlePackageType</key>' >>$plistfile
  echo '  <string>APPL</string>' >>$plistfile
  echo '  <key>CFBundleSignature</key>' >>$plistfile
  echo '  <string>MAG#</string>' >>$plistfile
  echo '  <key>CFBundleVersion</key>' >>$plistfile
  echo '  <string>1.0</string>' >>$plistfile
  echo '</dict>' >>$plistfile
  echo '</plist>' >>$plistfile

Executing application via Application Bundle

You can start the application from the IDE, via its Finder icon or in the native macOS Terminal via "open".