Creating your own SuperCollider-based Standalone Application

Let’s build our own standalone application based on the ingenious sound synthesis engine and programming language SuperCollider! These instructions were created with SuperCollider 3.5.5 and are suitable to create a standalone app for OS X.

Here is what we need to do:

  1. Download a source distribution of SuperCollider from here.
  2. Extract the source files to a directory and rename SuperCollider-Source to the name of your app (e.g. MyApp)
  3. In platform/mac, create a copy of the folder Standalone Resources and rename it to MyApp Resources (replace with your app name).
  4. Inside your MyApp Resources, delete the file SCClassLibrary/
  5. Copy any custom classes that your app requires inside the SCClassLibrary folder.
  6. Edit the file to define what your app does when it starts. Here you can remove the post window, for example. Make sure to comment or delete the lines where SCSA_Demo is initialized.
  7. (optional) Change the icon (SCcube.icns). Download the application img2icns, which converts any images into the OS X .icns format. Overwrite the old SCcube.icns file with your icon.
  8. (optional) Edit the file English.lproj/MainMenu.nib. Here you can adjust the menu located at the top of the screen of your application. A better alternative to add new menu items for your SuperCollider application (on Mac OS X) is a custom class adding the following startup instructions:
MyClass {
    *initClass {
        if(Platform.ideName == "scapp") {
            StartUp.add {
    *createMenu {
        var menuGroup;
        menuGroup = SCMenuGroup(nil, "My Menu", 13);
        SCMenuItem(menuGroup, "My Item")
            .action = { "Item selected!".postln };

Ok, now it’s time to compile and package your standalone application. Open a Terminal window and execute the following commands:

cd /path/to/MyApp
mkdir build
cd build

This will create a directory build in your application’s source directory. The reason we do this is that the build artifacts are cleanly separated from the source files. Now we configure the build process using cmake:

cmake -DCMAKE_OSX_ARCHITECTURES='i386;x86_64' -D standalone="MyApp" ..

These commands make sure your app is built with support for 32bit and 64bit architectures (-DCMAKE_OSX_ARCHITECTURES=’i386;x86_64′) and that the resources for your custom app are used (-D standalone=”MyApp”). The two dots at the end indicate that the source files are located in the parent folder, not in the build folder we just created.

If you don’t need QT in your app, you can omit it, which will result in an application bundle consuming much less space on the hard disk:


If everything goes fine, cmake will check for some components and in the end appears a message similar to

-- Configuring done
-- Generating done
-- Build files have been written to: /Users/name/Development/SuperCollider/MyApp/build

Now the build configuration is saved, consequently we won’t have to run the cmake command again fur future builds. Now we’re ready to compile our app.

make install

After the build process, which takes some time when executed for the first time, your bundled App is waiting for you in build/install/MyApp/ That’s it 🙂

For future builds, you might want to program a litte build script, which updates the resource files and executes the build automatically. A very simple example could be:

mkdir ../platform/mac/MyApp\ Resources/SCClassLibrary/SomeFolder/
cp ~/Library/Application\ Support/SuperCollider/Extensions/SomeFolder/* ../platform/mac/MyApp\ Resources/SCClassLibrary/SomeFolder/
make install

This script creates a target folder and copies a bunch of classes from your Extensions directory to that folder. Save it as .sh file in your build directory, and simply execute this if you want a new version of your App. For security reasons, the file might not be executable from scratch. In this case, you have to modify its permissions:

chmod 755

Now your script should be executable. And now: have fun with your app!