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Publishing An Update

Josh Kelley edited this page · 35 revisions

So you’re ready to release a new version of your app. How do you go about doing that?

  • Archive your app. Either:
    • Put a copy of your .app (with the same name as the version it’s replacing) in a .zip, .tar.gz, or .tar.bz2. If you distribute your .app in a .dmg, do not zip up the .dmg.
    • Create an Installer .pkg with the same name as your app and put that .pkg in one of the archive formats above.
  • Secure your update.
    • In order to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks against your users, you must cryptographically sign your updates.
    • You can do that using Apple’s code signing tools, with a Developer ID.
    • If you can’t code sign your app, you can make a DSA signature of the archive instead.
      • Sparkle includes a script to help you sign your update. From the Sparkle distribution:
      • ./bin/ path_to_your_dsa_priv.pem
      • The string outputted is your update’s DSA signature; you’ll add this as an attribute to your enclosure in the next step. You can remove any newlines in this string.
  • Update your appcast:
    • You need to create an <item> for your update in your appcast. See the sample appcast for an example.
    • Here’s a template you might use:
          <title>Version 2.0 (2 bugs fixed; 3 new features)</title>
          <pubDate>Wed, 09 Jan 2006 19:20:11 +0000</pubDate>
          <enclosure url=""
                     sparkle:dsaSignature="MC0CFBfeCa1JyW30nbkBwainOzrN6EQuAh=" <!-- if you're not code signing -->
                     type="application/octet-stream" />
  • Test your update
    • And you’re done!

Downloading from a web site

If you want to provide a download link, instead of having Sparkle download and install the update itself, you can omit the <enclosure> tag and add <sparkle:version> and <link> tags. For example:

  <title>Version 1.2.4</title>
  <pubDate>Mon, 28 Jan 2013 14:30:00 +0500</pubDate>

Delta updates

If your app is large, or if you’re updating primarily only a small part of it, you may find “delta updates” useful: they allow your users to only download the bits that have changed.

Internal build numbers

If you use internal build numbers for your CFBundleVersion key (like an SVN revision number) and a human-readable CFBundleShortVersionString, you can make Sparkle hide the internal version from your users.

Set the sparkle:version attribute on your enclosure to the internal version (ie: “248”). Then set a sparkle:shortVersionString attribute on the enclosure to the human readable version (ie: “2.0”).

Remember that the internal version number (CFBundleVersion and sparkle:version) is intended to be machine-readable and is not generally suitable for formatted text.

Minimum system version requirements

If an update to your application raises the required version of OS X, you can only offer that update to qualified users.

Add a sparkle:minimumSystemVersion child to the <item> in question specifying the required system version, such as “10.8.4”:

    <title>Version 2.0 (2 bugs fixed; 3 new features)</title>

Embedded release notes

Instead of linking external release notes using the element, you can also embed the release notes directly in the appcast item, inside a element. If you wrap it in <![CDATA[ … ]]>, you can use unescaped HTML.

    <title>Version 2.0 (2 bugs fixed; 3 new features)</title>
        <h2>New Features</h2>


You can provide additional release notes for localization purposes. For instance:

<sparkle:releaseNotesLink xml:lang="de"></sparkle:releaseNotesLink>

Use the xml:lang attribute with the appropriate two-letter country code for each localization. You can also use this attribute with the <description> tag.

Xcode integration

Here’s a description of how to automate the archiving and signing process with a script build phase in Xcode.

Alternate download locations for other operating systems

Sparkle is available for Windows.

To keep the appcast file compatible with the standard Sparkle implementation, a new tag has to be used for x-platform support. It is suggested to use the following to specify downloads for non OS X systems:

<sparkle:enclosure sparkle:os="os_name" ...>

Replace os_name with either “windows” or “linux”, respectively (mind the lower case!). Feel free to add other OS names as needed.
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