Application Package Specification (Idea)

Introduction

This specification is designed to provide a desktop neutral way to package one application.

Dependencies can be installed on first start of the application. The necessary runtime environment should be installed (may use of packagekit) and the runtime environment should install the necessary modules.

Package Structure

A application-package is an archive containing the application and a file describing all the contents. The archive should be a gzip-compressed tarball with an .app extension.

/
/info
/app/

Package Description

The info file should be formatted as followed:

Package Name

[Application]
Name=Example application

The Name of the application, it is required for identification-purposes.

ApplicationPackage-file version

Version=1.0

The Desktop-file syntax version, this field must be present.

Mime-type

Type=X-ApplicationPackage

The mime-type, this field must be present and have the value X-Application``Package.

Executable file

Exec=example.bin

This field represents the main executable file of the application. It must be present.

Mime-type of executable file

ExecType=application/x-executable

This field represents the mime-type of the main executable file of the application. It must be present.

Maintainer

Maintainer=John Doe <john DOT doe AT freedesktop DOT org>

The Theme``Package maintainer, this field should be present and formatted as followed

_Name < email >_ 

If for some reason this field is not available, implementations may choose to warn a user about this fact.

Application version

Application-Version=1.0

The Application``Package version-number (increases with every update), this field should be present and formatted as followed

_a[.b[.c[.d[.e]]]]_

Where a, b, c, d and e are numbers between 0 and 4294967296 (32 bits unsigned integers).

Author(s) / Artist(s) name(s)
Authors=Jane Doe <jane AT freedesktop DOT org>; John Doe <john AT freedesktop DOT org>

The author(s) of the application, this field may be present.

_Name < email >[; Name < email >[; etc...]]_ 
Package Description
Description=This example application is a great multiplayer game for the whole family. You can use your keyboard and your mouse. For more information see our website: www.greatgame.example.

This field provides a description about the application.

Application License Information
License=GPL;Creative-Commons

The License under which the application is distributed.

Icon
Icon=http://example.com/example_app_icon.svg

Icon to display in the software center, menus, etc. The name of the file should be either an web address or a name according to the Icon Theme Specification.

Web address for download
DownloadURL=http://example.com/example.app

The web address which allows to download the application again.

Update information
UpdateInfo=http://example.com/example.info

An info file according to this spec. This file must content an DownloadURL field. It should provide a never version if available. This specification allows to put information about several versions in one info file.

info Example

[Application]
Name=Example application
Version=1.0
Type=X-ApplicationPackage
Exec=example.bin
ExecType=application/x-executable
Maintainer=John Doe <john AT freedesktop DOT org>
Application-Version=1.0
Authors=Jane Doe <jane AT freedesktop DOT org>; John Doe <john AT freedesktop DOT org>
Description=This example application is a great multiplayer game for the whole family. You can use your keyboard and your mouse. For more information see our website: www.greatgame.example.
License=GPL;Creative-Commons
Icon=http://example.com/example_app_icon.svg
DownloadURL=http://example.com/example.app
UpdateInfo=http://example.com/example.info

app directory

This directory contains the application files. This directory will be used to look for the exec file which is stated in the info file.

Installation

The user should be able to copy the application to applications:// to register the application. At all you don't need to install the application, just execute the app-file to use the application. The system will may share the application for multiple users.

Security considerations

Software according to this specification should run in a sandbox. The application is not allowed to read any personal information from the home directory. Therefore each ?ApplicationPackage gets his own home directory with write access. A special file selector widget should allow applications to read and write to specific files chosen by the user.

Internationalization

The package server should be able to provide descriptions of packages in the user's language.