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Sparkle is a module that developers can stick in their Cocoa applications (five-step install!) to get instant self-update functionality. By that, I mean that your app will be able to update itself, not just check for new versions: it'll read the update information from an appcast on your server, download, extract, install, restart, and even offer to show the users release notes before they decide if they want to update.

It's free, it's easy, and it'll make using a Mac better for everyone, so go for it! Make sure to visit Sparkle's homepage to see a video of it in more...

What's New

Version 1.5b6:
  • Important Changes
    • Sparkle now requires DSA signatures on your updates. Check the documentation for more information on how to set that up if you don't already sign your updates. You can bypass this requirement if you deliver both your appcast and your updates over SSL.
  • Sparkle will no longer display release notes located at file:// URLs, since Javascript on such a more...


Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later

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Sparkle User Discussion

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Tapper Member IconComment+7

THis is my favorite Mac updater. I hope more developers use it. Very clear and intuituve.

Reply0 replies
Version 1.5b5
Tony-Arnold Member IconReview+7

Sparkle is indispensable if you're a small developer. Until Apple releases something that handles what Sparkle does at an operating system level I'll be including the Sparkle framework in all of my apps.

Absolutely brilliant, Andy - keep up the great work!

Reply0 replies
Version 1.5b5
Borlox Member IconReview+222

Am I the only one who thinks this is a bad idea?

Applications that don't need to access the network, shouldn't. The Mac OS is moving toward a sandbox security model in which applications can be selectively allowed access to kernel facilities such as I/O and networking. This framework conflicts with that model.

A security-conscious user should have an admin account that is used only for administrative tasks such as software installation. Only the apps that are required for those tasks should run in that account. All other work should be done in another account, without admin privileges. Sparkle conflicts with that model, too.

The one time I tried it, Sparkle installed an app bundle with wrong, wide open, permissions.

Unfortunately, more and more developers are included this waste of disk space in their products, and you can't remove it, because then the apps won't launch.

Reply1 reply
Version 1.5b4

While I realize your point about user accounts is valid and that there are potential issues with applications phoning home (I don't really know anything about where OS X security is heading, so I can't judge that comment), consider that many, or even most, users don't know and/or care enough about their operating system or its security to bother with such concerns. Learning about UNIX permissions and creating multiple user accounts for different tasks simply aren't things that your average Mac user is going to do. Casual computer users like things that work with minimal effort on their part, and Sparkle does just that. Admittedly, it's only simplifying an already fairly simple process in most cases, but it is still a convenience and a time saver, and so people will continue to like it and use it. For your own part, can't you simply disable automatic update checking in apps with Sparkle and update them manually?

Hofman Member IconComment+64

The concept is really nice. But unfortunately the implementation is very buggy. There are some critical bugs, and it has a huge chance to lead to namespace clashes, due to its implementation of many categories on Cocoa objects. Due to the nature of this framework, as a simple drop-in utility, this is pretty serious. Moreover the localizations are missing.

Anyone should be aware this is a *beta* version. MU should have noted this, probably this version should not have been listed at all.

I strongly advice developers not to use this version. And if you do, be aware that you *must* fix its bugs and be very well aware of the namespace problems.

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Version 1.5b1
zwei Member IconReview+8

This is how updates should be done!

Reply0 replies
Version 1.5b1
meego Member IconComment+165

Too bad the dev's site has been down for some time now. Is this stil being developped?

Reply3 replies
Version 1.1

I sent the developer an email just now... I'll post his reply as soon as I get it.


That was quick! :) nice.


"Sorry, but the SQLite database behind Sparkle's site exploded in a giant fireball, and Caltech is an unrelenting work-slinging monster, so I don't have time to fix it at the moment. I'd really appreciate it if you didn't send me emails about the site or with bug reports until I get the site back up. In the meantime, you can still download Sparkle here."


namxam Member IconComment+0

It would be great if you two could cooperate and create a quasi standard for the mac platform - something similar to Growl, just for software updates.

Reply0 replies
Version 1.1
Billy Ray Valentine Member IconReview+6
Billy Ray Valentine

Really easy to use, code all commented. Very well done.

I like it ;)

Thanks a lot.

Reply0 replies
Version 0.1.1
nath31 Member IconComment+0

sounds like a good updating app plugin. I cannot tell you the amount of times when I saw an update for an app, but wanted it to be a 2-click job, rather than loading the disk image, copying, replacing, etc....

this would be greatly appreciated.

Reply0 replies
Version 0.1.1
Sascha Müllner Member IconComment+0
Sascha Müllner

Cool I am basically working at the same. I did it with a framework and a system preference and am thinking of integrating more features like updating all apps. instantly using the framework, mirror downloads with crc check. How about a coop? Would be cool if you could drop me a message - sascha!muellner.de

Kind regards,

Reply1 reply
Version 0.1

Actually, if Sparkle had some way to "publish" its update parameters it could be scanned by your prefpane. It would be a good step in the right direction and would push both projects for adoption.

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Current Version (1.x)


Downloads 6,077
Version Downloads 1,595
License Free
Date 21 Aug 2009
Platform OS X / PPC 32 / Intel 32
Price Free
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