Making Standalone Applications:
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Making Standalone Applications

A guide to making SuperCollider-based applications by 'exporting' existing SuperCollider app configurations and projects.
NOTE: The concept of standalone applications is mainly relevant on macOS. On linux, Miguel Negrão and Fredrik Olofsson have created similar ways of packing versions of SC3 into independent setups.


SuperCollider 3.6 and earlier versions supported macOS Cocoa interfaces, and a special XCode project that allowed very flexible interface design, including removing and adding Menus. Since 3.7, SuperCollider uses Qt only, and the (now obsolete) standalone XCode project has been removed for 3.9. While the current Qt implementation is less flexible ATM, useful standalone applications can still be created with it using the scripts provided here (or similar ones).

One can package performance setups, installation pieces, software synthesis instruments, complex sound generators and other projects, into fully independent copies of the including the IDE, and the Help system if desired. Custom interfaces can make such apps easily accessible to audiences that need not know how to install SuperCollider, run SuperCollider code, or even know that SuperCollider is involved. This is useful for distributing applications to the general public, or for creating special-purpose applications for your own use. There is one important restriction: the entire application must be open-source and comply with the GNU General Public License.

On macOS, applications are special directories with an ".app" extension, known as bundles. SuperCollider standalone applications are bundles that contain your SuperCollider code, as well as a renamed copy of SuperCollider itself that runs your code.

Practical Guide

(written by Alberto de Campo, 2017)

This Guide is for exporting copies of an existing SC3 setup, for at least two scenarios:

Creating more complex user-oriented applications with SC was possible in versions pre 3.6, and a number of people work on additions to SC that will allow similar flexibility again.

NOTE: Known working versions for making standalones: SC3.8.0, SC3.9dev from branch [2a105f1]

Self-built SC versions may assume their Platform.userAppSupportDir is called .../SuperCollider/ and not the name of the newly made app.

How this guide works

This guide is a set of scripts for creating a SuperCollider-based Standalone app in a few basic steps:

  1. copy the open or SC3-derived standalone.
  2. fix the copy's info files so it uses its own userAppSupportDir
  3. test that Platform.userAppSupportDir is independent in the new app!

    ... Then the adaptation to the specific project begins: ...

  4. transfer active quarks and extensions to the new app
  5. copy the project folder used to the new app
  6. make an internal startupFile for it
  7. test and adapt until it does what you want

What to prepare

Naming, copying, and fixing up the new app

NOTE: THIS SHOULD END WITH ~newAppName! If it has the original ~thisAppName (the one you started from, e.g. ~/././SuperCollider), the new app will not be interfere with SuperCollider! So, delete the app again, and start over using a recommended version of SC3 (see tested list on top)!

Adaptation to the project

Quit the new standalone and go back to the starting app to do:

NOTE: You can use the Standalone quark to make sure your app remains closed, keeps using its to its InternalExtensions dir, and continues to ignore anything in its userExtensionDir or systemExtensionDir.