Mac where to look...


macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 29, 2006
I have, or will have, a small problem. as part of a move towards the mac i'll be porting a small unfinished application to OSX from windows. ok its a re-write from vb into probably something else. probably c++ (so its portable enough i don't have to do this again).

under windows I make extensive use of .dll files to allow a 'plugin' capacity to be added to my little program.

I don't *need* the plugins, it can all be coded directly, but plugins make expansions *very* easy to add as well as making the program more useful.

I'm not asking here for 'how do I do this', i'll try to work that out myself, the question is:

what does OSX call what in the windows world are '.dll' files? and what is the technology used to load/call functions within them? essentially so i can go and google till I explode.


macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2004
"Dynamic Shared Libraries" or just "Shared Libraries"

This link has a bunch of overview info on programming for OS X:

It is slightly skewed to 'nix programmers moving to OS X, but is very useful, anyway (I don't come from a 'nix backgroun and I found it helpful, anyway :) ).


macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2003
Another thing I would like to point out is that OS X has a few different ways of accomplishing what you want to do, depending on what your intent actually is.

DLLs on Windows are a mess (I know, I write em. :/), Anything that is executable (and some things that aren't), but isn't a full application, is a DLL... ew.

On OS X, if you want libraries, you have Frameworks which are mostly used for libraries (they are really just a bundled shared library with the headers and versioning included in the bundle, to make the Unix guys happy).

If you want plug-ins, you have Bundles. These tend to lean towards code fragments that are meant to be loaded on-the-fly and conform to a particular interface. Apple actually uses a variant of COM for plug-in bundles written in C/C++, so it might be an easier path if you want to keep your app on Windows as well.

EDIT: Looks like the link covers this distinction... whoops. ;)