[Mono-osx] End user question

Iain Collins mono-osx at iaincollins.com
Fri Feb 1 11:48:28 EST 2008

On 1 Feb 2008, at 06:41, Dennis Hayes wrote:
> I have a fairly simple Winforms app.
> It uses the timer control.
> It reads/writes data from/to \\server\drive\directory\file.txt but  
> that could be changed to the default directory.
> We are 100% Windows, but have a couple of people who use Macs at home.
> The home users are not computer people. They edit documents and surf  
> the net. I doubt they have ever even installed software on the Macs.
> Everybody will be impressed if my app could be run on these Macs.
> Can they just click on the Mac install from the download page, copy  
> my .exe, and run?
> Or will it require any complicated setup or dependancy issues?

It's possible to create a .app (double clickable extension) that has  
the mono runtime built in to it, which would allow users to just  
double click it and go. Realistically you'd need the assistance of  
someone with a Mac and with some Mac development (and ideally some  
Mono on OS X) experience to help package it up - though that's all  
pretty straightforward really - and if you are interested I'd be happy  
to do that for you if you were to send me a compiled copy of your app.

This would increase the over all size of course, the other option  
being of course to have them install a separate Mono package first.  
Realistically - given the relatively small amount of diskspace that  
would be required - I think you could easily getaway with just  
bundling a mono runtime environment with the app (so that it just runs  
when clicked on).

The downside is that at present they would need to have X11 installed  
(this used to come on the "Developer Tools" CD that came with all Macs  
and copies of Mac OS X, but it's now in an optional extras folder on  
the Mac OS X Install DVD's, although in theory you could bundle a copy  
of X11 with it so it's just double clickable out of the box, but that  
would probably getting on for overkill. :-) * Although that's exactly  
how some X11 based applications are currently distributed.

Needless to say, sadly most users do not have X11 installed already  
(and even with it installed, it's going to have the look and feel of a  
GTK app for Linux, rather than a Mac look and feel). So it really  
depends on your target audience if they are going to find that  
acceptable. I use GIMP under X11 all the time and am very happy with  
it, but I might not be very representative of your userbase. :-)

I gather there is work afoot in the Mono project to allow Winforms  
apps on Mac OS X to have a native look and feel under OS X (I also  
here there is also work being done to allow GTK interfaces to run  
natively with a Mac OS look and feel, although I don't know the status  
of that and the CocoaSharp project is probably a much better bet as a  
hope for the future - it seems like there may be an announcement about  
CocoaSharp development progress coming soon? :-).

It is possible to create a native-look-and-feel Coca App with C#  
backend, but that's a bit more work at the moment (it would require  
some front end glue). It doesn't sound like you'd want to bother  
enough to go down that route, but if you are interested feel free to  
contact me off list about it.

Best regards,

Iain Collins, me at iaincollins.com

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