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Weird problems with PackageMaker (with solutions)

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Thursday, July 9 2009, 15:51
As a developer on Mac OS X, one of the applications that annoys me most is PackageMaker. It's completely riddled with bugs (from not being able to refresh the package contents to mysteriously non-functional buttons).
Perhaps some day an open-source alternative will come to my attention, but until then, here are some tips for making your life easier:
Weird bugWeird solution
"Could not copy scripts" errorRemove all the script files from the package, and clear the script directory. Save your project and add everything again.
Absolute/relative paths option for scripts is disabledSave your project first.
Cannot add custom files for interface because localizations is enabledThere's no way to disable localizations again; create your project again from scratch. Make sure not to switch to Raw Editing Mode unless you know how to use it.
Custom files in the interface stop workingI haven't figured out why this sometimes just gives up. Recreate your project and saving it should work.
Packages turn in to distributionsPackages can only have one choice; distributions must have at least two. Additionally, if you want to set up requirements or pre-/post-install actions, PackageMaker will create a distribution. If that's not what you want, write a script instead.
Installer doesn't change permissionsIt's not a bug, it's just not clear that this is a feature. Select a package, then open the Package menu and take a look at Package options: "Overwrite package permissions"
Permissions are altered when buildingI have no idea why it sometimes does this. I suggest you change the permissions of the package before you add it to PackageMaker to save you all the effort of changing it in there one file at a time (only to find out it changes it back when you build). Make sure to save before building.
The changed package contents aren't reflected in PackageMakerHopefully you can get away with PackageMaker not seeing the new contents; it will still copy the files from the source, you just can't see them in the Contents pane. If you need to change file permissions, you'll have to remove the package and painstakingly add it from the source again.
Just remember: punching your screen voids your AppleCare!
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csh: You're absolutely right, PackageMaker is...
Paul: I've just settled upon distributing a...

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