Resources folder on mac, and the good old days

Neville Smythe neville.smythe at
Mon Mar 29 18:20:42 EDT 2021

> On 30 Mar 2021, at 12:44 am, use-livecode-request at wrote:
> Unfortunately this has never been true on macOS X.
> The Resources folder (which is in the macOS app bundle) should be 
> treated as read-only…

Mark Waddingham chides me for saying it is OK to write to the Resources folder in the app bundle on a Mac. Mark is, as ever absolutely correct. The correct place for application support files is the Library/Applications Support folder, and this has been the AppleGuideline for a very long time (although I am not quite so sure about that *always* being the case..) I was wrong, naughty, and I promise… Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I strongly advise against this awful filthy and degrading practice.

Except m’lud (he said in a very small voice), may I offer some admittedly post-hoc and flimsy excuses.

1. The app in which I do this originates from the days before the Application Support folder existed (I am pretty sure) and has grown like Topsy ever since. It worked then, it still works now. With one big caveat: this is ad hoc software, distributed to a small group of users (Colin: by all the usual methods - server, email, DropBox… they all work to deliver a working app without my having to renew my lapsed Apple Developer registration.) If I were to commercialise the app and so notarise it, I would expect writing to the Resources folder *not* to work, probably notarising keeps a checksum of the whole app bundle not just the executable. Maybe this distinction between ad hoc and notarised software is part of the confusion of this very confused thread, to which I have regrettably added more confusion.

2. It is a great convenience to my Mac users to be able to move their copy of the app to another machine, or give it to a friend, without having to worry about finding and transferring auxiliary files (unlike my linux users, who I must advise to keep everything together in one directory).

3. There is no need for Installer code, or more problematic, and with a whiff of sulphur to sensitive old-hand Mac user noses, an Uninstaller. Again if I were to commercialise the app, these would come with the territory of license files etc.

4. If my user wants to get at the auxiliary files, it is easy enough to explain the arcane process of opening up the Contents of the bundle. Explaining how to access the Library is only slightly more arcane, but I really don’t want the uninitiated venturing into that dark scary and very dangerous place .

So, readers, don’t do it. But keep it to yourself if you do. And it probably won’t work in MacOS 17.6.

Finally on the problem of opening unsafe/unnotarised apps in recent MacOS, I am afraid the discussion here has clearly only increased the confusion of the original forum user. Surely best to refer to the definitive source, the Apple Support documents which you can get by googling “How to open an unsafe app in Big Sur” (or Catalina, or Mojave). The instructions from Apple are clear and straightforward, unlike some tech forums which start off by talking about using the terminal to turn off Gatekeeper. 


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