AppImage for macOS switchers

This chapter compares the AppImage terms to its macOS equivalents. It should help macOS to Linux switchers to “get” AppImage concepts quickly.

AppImage concept Rough macOS equivalent
.AppImage file .app inside a .dmg file that mounts itself automatically when executed
.AppDir directory .app directory
.desktop file Info.plist file
*.metainfo.xml file and package.json file (for Electron apps) Info.plist file (more elaborate version thereof)
usr/ inside the AppDir Resources/ inside the .app
AppImageUpdate Sparkle Framework
No direct equivalent, but update information in ELF section .upd_info Sparkle appcast
Optional appimaged daemon Launch Services to register applications in the system (e.g., MIME types, icons, etc.)
No direct equivalent, but AppImageHub central directory of available AppImages Mac App Store
Optional signature in ELF section Signatures in /Contents/_MASReceipt/
No direct equivalent (yet?), but use linuxdeployqt (for Qt, C++, C) or electron-builder for Electron apps in the build chain Xcode IDE generates .app when you click “compile”
appimagetool my.AppDir my.AppImage hdiutil create -volname myApp -srcfolder -ov -format UDZO myApp.dmg