Squirrel is an OS X framework focused on making application updates as safe and transparent as updates to a website.
Instead of publishing a feed of versions from which your app must select, Squirrel updates to the version your server tells it to. This allows you to intelligently update your clients based on the request you give to Squirrel. The server can remotely drive behaviors like rolling back or phased rollouts.
Your request can include authentication details, custom headers or a request body so that your server has the context it needs in order to supply the most suitable update.
The update JSON Squirrel requests should be dynamically generated based on criteria in the request, and whether an update is required. Squirrel relies on server side support for determining whether an update is required, see Server Support.
Squirrel's installer is also designed to be fault tolerant, and ensure that any updates installed are valid.
- Install xctool with
brew install xctool
- Add the Squirrel repository as a git submodule
script/bootstrapfrom within the submodule
- Add references to Squirrel.xcodeproj and its dependencies to your project
- Add Squirrel.framework as a target dependency
- Link Squirrel.framework and add it to a Copy Files build phase which copies it into your Frameworks directory
- Ensure your application includes the dependencies. Squirrel does not embed them itself.
If you’re developing Squirrel on its own, then use
If your application is already using ReactiveCocoa, ensure it is using the same version as Squirrel.
Otherwise, add a target dependency and Copy Files build phase entry for the
ReactiveCocoa.framework target included in Squirrel's repository, in
Similarly, ensure your application includes Mantle, or copies in the Squirrel version.
Finally, ensure your application's Runpath Search Paths (
includes the directory that Squirrel.framework, ReactiveCocoa.framework
and Mantle.framework are copied into.
Once Squirrel is added to your project, you need to configure and start it.
- (void)applicationDidFinishLaunching:(NSNotification *)notification
Squirrel will periodically request and automatically download any updates. When your application terminates, any downloaded update will be automatically installed.
Squirrel is indifferent to the request the client application provides for
Accept: application/json is added to the request headers
because Squirrel is responsible for parsing the response.
For the requirements imposed on the responses and the body format of an update response see Server Support.
Your update request must at least include a version identifier so that the server can determine whether an update for this specific version is required. It may also include other identifying criteria such as operating system version or username, to allow the server to deliver as fine grained an update as you would like.
How you include the version identifier or other criteria is specific to the server that you are requesting updates from. A common approach is to use query parameters, Configuration shows an example of this.
Update Available Notifications
To know when an update is ready to be installed, you can subscribe to the
updates signal on
While downloaded updates are automatically installed when your application terminates, if don't want to wait you can manually terminate the app to begin the installation process immediately.
Once an update available notification has been received, you may want to present an interface informing the user about the update and offering the ability to install and relaunch.
To explicitly install a downloaded update and automatically relaunch afterward,
subscribe to the
relaunchToInstallUpdate signal on
Your server should determine whether an update is required based on the Update Request your client issues.
If an update is required your server should respond with a status code of 200 OK and include the update JSON in the body. Squirrel will download and install this update, even if the version of the update is the same as the currently running version. To save redundantly downloading the same version multiple times your server must not inform the client to update.
If no update is required your server must respond with a status code of 204 No Content. Squirrel will check for an update again at the interval you specify.
Update Server JSON Format
When an update is available, Squirrel expects the following schema in response to the update request provided:
The only required key is "url", the others are optional.
Squirrel will request "url" with
Accept: application/zip and only supports
installing ZIP updates. If future update formats are supported their MIME type
will be added to the
Accept header so that your server can return the
"pub_date" if present must be formatted according to ISO 8601.
Update File JSON Format
The alternate update technique uses a plain JSON file meaning you can store your update metadata on S3 or another static file store. The format of this file is detailed below:
Squirrel does not provide any GUI components for presenting updates. If you want to indicate updates to the user, make sure to listen for downloaded updates.