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Reference Sheet: Building Standalones

Jacqueline Landman Gay
HyperActive Software
Presented at RevConWest, June 2005

In addition to understanding the Standalone Builder, the following reference information may be useful when preparing to distribute your application. (Note that LiveCode was called Revolution at that time and the references below have not been changed. Some of the information below is now out of date.)


Revolution's standalone builder automatically copies any Revolution icons assigned to buttons into the standalone. However, only those icons actually assigned to buttons at the time the standalone is built are recorded. You must add others yourself. The best way is to transfer them as images into your stack before building.

Standalone icons - Creating icons for the desktop

A tutorial with some sample files on creating icons for both Macs and PCs is at:


Windows desktop icon types

These must be created using the Windows ".ico" file type. Icons for each of these variations must be made and placed into a Windows icon file. The easiest way to do this is to use an icon editor.

These variations compose a standard Windows icon set. Revolution's standalone builder requires that all are present:

16 Color (4-bit) 16x16
16 color (4-bit) 32x32
16 color (4-bit) 48x48
256 color (8-bit) 16x16
256 color (8-bit) 32x32
256 color (8-bit) 48x48
Windows XP (32-bit) 16x16
Windows XP (32-bit) 32x32
Windows XP (32-bit) 48x48
Windows icon editors:

There are many editors available for creating Windows icon files. Some popular recommendations from participants on the Revolution mailing list:

Axialis Icon Workshop http://www.axialis.com/
Frontbase Image to Icon http://www.make-icon.com/
Microangelo http://www.microangelo.us/
IconCool Editor http://www.iconcool.com/

Macintosh OS X icon types

Macintosh OS X icons must be created in a special OS X icon file. The easiest way to do this is to use an icon editor. OS X includes a rudimentary icon editor if you install the Developer Tools that come with the OS.

These variations compose the standard Macintosh icon set (are all 32 bit with a 1-bit mask)

You don't have to make all of them. If some are missing, the OS will scale another one to fit if it needs a missing size. If you are only going to make one, make the 128-pixel size. Making all the sizes gives you better control over their appearance, however.
Macintosh OS X icon editors
Iconographer http://www.mscape.com/products/iconographer.html
Icon Composer (included in OS X Developer Tools)

Macintosh OS 9 icon types

OS 9 icons must be created in a resource editor, which is almost always ResEdit. Icons and other resources are usually edited after the standalone is built; however, you only need to do this once. Once it has been created, you can extract the resource fork as a separate file on disk. Revolution's standalone builder allows you to to include this resource file in each subsequent build.

You will need icons for resources: ic14, ic18, icns, ics4, and ics8. ResEdit allows you to edit all of these in the same editing window. Create one (usually the ic18 full-color resource) and you can drag it to the other sizes to auto-duplicate it at different color depths. Put your standalone icon into resource 128 of ic18. Put your stack icon into resource 129.

There is more information in the "Deployment" section at Ken Ray's tips site here:

Linux icon types

KDE and GNOME both use either of these icon sizes:

To create icons in Linux, you don't need any special software. Most icons in KDE and GNOME use the .PNG file type which can be created by most graphics editors. Icons for standalones are applied after the standalone is built and integrating them is part of the OS interface (users can do this too and change your icon at will.)

Because any graphics program can create icons, there are not a lot of specialized tools. These two showed up in a search:

Kiconedit - icons for KDE (X11) http://www.tucows.com/preview/32052
BabyGimp (X11) http://www.tucows.com/preview/175051

File Associations: double-clicking stacks to open in your standalone


You will need to set registry entries. You can do this via scripts, or if you use an installer program, you can let it do the file associations for you. Using an installer program is easiest. If you want to do it by script, Ken Ray's tip site has an explanation in the File/Folder Manipulation section here:


Macintosh OS 9

Macs associate files by assigning a creator code and a type code. The creator code is unique to your application. The type code may be either unique to your application, or shared by other applications (for example, many applications can open text files, so the TEXT file type is common across many applications.)

The Revolution standalone builder allows you to set the file type and creator codes that your standalone will use. For personal use, you may use any series of 4 letters you like, provided they are not in use by other applications on your drive. If you plan to distribute the standalone to others, you will need a unique creator code. You can look up and register creator codes at Apple Computer's registry:


Macintosh OS X

Macintosh OS X uses two ways of associating applications and their files; both creator and type codes as well as file name extensions. For files that are not application bundles, OS X looks for a type code first. If the file does not have a type code, then it looks at the file extension to determine what applications can open it. All Mac OS X applications are contained in “bundles”, which are really folders that the OS treats as a single file. Inside the bundle is a plist document. The plist is an XML document that describes many things about the application, including what files it can open and what creator and type codes it uses.

Building standalones on one platform for deployment on another

Revolution can build standalones for any platform while running on any other platform, with one exception; you can't build a standalone for Mac OS 9 while running on a Windows or a Unix machine. Because Mac OS 9 standalones require a resource fork, you must be running MacOS or Mac OS X to build for that platform. You can, however, build for OS X from any other machine.

Standalone Builder Easter egg

There is an easter egg in the standalone builder. If you create a components/save/userscripts directory and put your own library stacks in there, you can choose them in the Standalone Builder script libraries list and they will be put in use with the rest of the Revolution libraries.

Distribution packages and installers

There are several commercial and shareware installer packages that allow you to distribute your standalone and all its associated files in a single package. These allow your users to install your software by clicking a button. These installers typically allow you to determine where on the hard drive your files will be placed, and they will set up file associations and other OS requirements for you.

Some typical installer packages:

Installer VICE is a commercial package that makes installers for Mac OS 9, Mac OS X, and Windows


Windows Installers

WiseInstall http://www.wise.com/products.asp
ClickTeam http://clickteam.com/English/install_creator.htm (free with ad)
MacOS installers
StuffIt Installermaker http://www.stuffit.com/mac/installermaker/
Mac OS X installers
DropDMG http://c-command.com/dropdmg/
StuffIt Installermaker http://www.stuffit.com/mac/installermaker/
Often distributed as .gz or .tgz files