For the first time in five years, Permanent Eraser has been updated on the Mac App Store. The major reason that Permanent Eraser has not been updated for the Mac App Store (MAS) for years is due to a rejection which occurred back with version 2.6.0, where the app was not allowed to add the Erase plug-in, which copies an Automator service to
~/Library/Services/. Since this is one of my favorite features of Permanent Eraser, I did not bother trying to update Permanent Eraser for MAS. The odd thing about this rejection, is that the version available on the store (version 2.5.3) had the same functionality which was the reason version 2.6.0 was rejected. Quite odd.
When macOS Sierra came out in 2016, this broke the MAS version of Permanent Eraser, since it relies upon the
srm utility, which was no longer provided with Sierra. Permanent Eraser 2.6.0 and later contains its own custom version of srm, which fixes this problem. Since Permanent Eraser 2.5.3 was effectively rendered useless on the more modern versions of macOS, I decided to try and update it again for MAS, even if that required making a couple of sacrifices by limiting some of the functionality. A limited version of Permanent Eraser is better than a completely non-functional version. The other option would have been removing Permanent Eraser from MAS.
The first order of business was to determine what functionality needed to be removed to make Permanent Eraser compliant for the Mac App Store. Fortunately, there wasn't too much which needed to be excluded, primarily the plug-ins and the software update mechanism. Since MAS already offers its own capability to update the software, that was a non-issue. I'm hoping in a future incarnation of Permanent Eraser that I'll be able to directly integrate the plug-in service into the app, thus avoiding the issue of needing to manually installing the plug-in.
Once I had removed the necessary pieces from the app, that was only the beginning. Since the MAS version of Permanent Eraser hadn't been built for several years, it did not even initially compile, which required some tweaking of the project to get that to work again. Since this app is still built using Xcode 3 (so it can build as a Universal Binary for PowerPC and Intel), I needed to use the Application Loader app. However, one cannot just upload the app by itself. The app needs to be packaged first using the
productbuild command line tool. In addition to the plethora of other Apple certificates I've generated for Mac and iOS apps, I also needed to generate a Mac Developer Installer certificate to properly sign and build the package. To package the app, I used the following command:
productbuild --component "Permanent Eraser.app" /Applications --sign "3rd Party Mac Developer Installer: Developer Name (12AB34567C)" \ --product "Permanent Eraser.app/Contents/Info.plist" "Permanent Eraser.pkg"
I was now able to upload the app, but quickly received an e-mail reporting a problem with the app:
Missing required icon - The application bundle does not contain an icon in ICNS format, containing both a 512x512 and a 512x512@2x image. For further assistance, see the Apple Human Interface Guidelines at https://developer.apple.com/macos/human-interface-guidelines/icons-and-images/app-icon
Since the current version of Permanent Eraser still supports Leopard, I normally do not include the 1024x1024 app icon, which causes problems in Leopard. But since all apps on MAS require Snow Leopard or later, this is not an issue. After doing some research, it appears that the best tools to generate the older
.icns file is to use Icon Composer 2.2 (included with Xcode 4.3.3) or the command-line utility
iconutil. If Icon Composer 2.2 is used, it must be used under Lion to generate the icon properly with the 1024x1024 image. I initially tried running Icon Composer 2.2 under Snow Leopard, but the generated icon did not include the 1024x1024 image. Running the app under Lion saved it properly.
Another alternative is to create an icon set folder with the required images and then convert it into an icon file. Add the following images to a new folder with the
iconutil -c icns -o appicon.icns appicon.iconset
With the proper icon in place, I tried uploading again. The next round of errors was due to an "invalid signature". I found this odd since I had already signed the app, yet MAS was reporting an issue. After digging around further, it appeared that I had used the incorrect certificate to sign the MAS version of the app. Yet another grey hair due to code signing issues. I initially used the certificate which started with "Mac Developer:", which is similar to what I had originally used years ago. The correct certificate is the one which starts with ""3rd Party Mac Developer Application:".
After climbing over these obstacles, Permanent Eraser was finally approved and is now up-to-date on the Mac App Store. Despite some of these unexpected issues, it did result in a learning process where I discovered a couple new things during the journey.