Standalones and the defaultFolder

Mark Waddingham mark at
Mon Dec 16 12:15:03 EST 2019

On 2019-12-16 16:54, J. Landman Gay via use-livecode wrote:
> On launch, the defaultfolder is set to the folder containing the
> executable. On desktop this is the folder containing livecode. In a
> standalone it's the folder containing the app (which on Mac is inside
> the bundle.) But any time you change the defaultfolder it stays there,
> it doesn't set itself back automatically.

The latter part is true, the former isn't necessarily so :)

I think the 'problem' here is that there is an expectation that the 
defaultFolder is something you can rely on to be known when your app is 
run but it isn't (nor has it ever been) - the engine doesn't touch the 
defaultFolder on startup, it is what the OS/environment decides it is.

For example if you launch a LiveCode app from Terminal (or platform 
equivalent) the default folder will be that which was in place in 
Terminal when you launched it (i.e. what your user - not you - decided 
it to be).

Launching from Finder (or Explorer or wherever) might make it appear 
like it should be a standard place - but that will depend on what OS you 
are running and even which version (I'm almost sure Finder changed from 
being the MacOS folder inside an app bundle to the folder containing the 
bundle at some point - or vice-versa - but don't quote me on that).

If the engine did fettle with the defaultFolder at all, then writing any 
sort of shell command (or app launchable from the command-line) which 
allowed relative paths in arguments would be impossible.

Upshot - never use the defaultFolder to find stackfiles - unless they 
are passed in by the user as arguments in a command-line context. 
There's 'specialFolderPath's for various places these days (most 
noticeable resources and engine); but you can also just grok the 
filename property of your mainstack too. (The stackFiles property can be 
useful here too - this allows mapping arbitrary stack names to 
filepaths, which if relative are relative to the stack on which the 
stackFiles property is set).

Warmest Regards,


Mark Waddingham ~ mark at ~
LiveCode: Everyone can create apps

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