Apple Software

Create standalone OS X programs with Perl, Ruby, Python, etc.

Platypus packages Perl and other scripts for OS X
Easily create standalone programs for OS X which don’t require any commandline experience for the end-users.

One of the great things about Apple’s OS X is that it’s based upon a BSD Unix foundation which makes it very easy to create scripts using Perl, Python, Ruby, AppleScript, or any number of other languages. However, while this is great for people who are comfortable with using a shell commandline, scripts like this generally aren’t ideal for the typical user who wants everything done via a GUI.

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I found a program called Platypus which creates standalone applications from your scripts which can be executed in the typical manner that you’d expect from any other application. Platypus lets you package artbitrary files, set associated file types, and do other things normally associated with a full-blown compiled app, but written instead in Perl or whatever you prefer. What a great way to create quick programs without delving into Objective-C or anything like that!

Platypus is completely free and open-source, although you might consider making a donation to further the development of the tool (links are on his site). Some of the features include:

* Supports shell scripts, Perl, Python, PHP, Ruby, Expect, Tcl, AppleScript
* Supports arbitrary interpreter — thus support for any script type
* Executing scripts with root privileges via Apple’s Security Framework
* Drag and drop files, which are passed to the script as arguments
* Graphical feedback of script execution: progress bar or text window with script output
* Can create applications which run in the background
* Sophisticated app bundle configuration for associated file types, identifier, version etc.
* Graphical interface for bundling support files with script
* Built-in script editor, or linking with external editor of choice
* Set own application icon or select from presets
* Command line tool for automating script application bundling

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Grab Platypus and package your interpreted scripts for easy distribution and execution on OS X! If you need further help, there is a two-part tutorial on using Platypus (part 1, part 2).

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