Waterfall Automatic theme updating for RapidWeaver

What is it?

Waterfall is a plugin which supplies automatic updating for RapidWeaver themes. If you create 3rd party stacks for RW, then you are already familiar with the steps needed to get this working.

What do I need to do?

  1. Add a SUFeedURL entry to your theme's Info.plist file (just like in your stack's Info.plist file).
  2. Create an appcast.xml file on your website, which the SUFeedURL points to. Or you can use the Waterfall Appcast Tool.
  3. Upload the theme file, in ZIP format, to your website, to the location specified in your appcast.xml file.


  • Use the exact same format for the appcast.xml file that you already use for your stack updates. The file doesn't have to be named appcast but does have to match the filename specified at the end of the SUFeedURL in your theme's Info.plist file.
  • Don't have more than one update listed in the appcast.xml file. In other words, there should only be one item entry, representing the latest version.
  • Currently, Waterfall only checks the sparkle:shortVersionString attribute when comparing version numbers to determine if an update is available. In a later version of Waterfall, comparing sparkle:version (the build number) will be added.
  • For those theme developers concerned about security, and obfuscating the download links to your update files, you can use the Waterfall Appcast Tool. For more info please contact me with questions.

    Can I get a copy of Waterfall to test?

    Sure! There are both RW5 and RW6 demo versions available on the Waterfall product page. If you're a RapidWeaver developer please contact me for a serial number.

    Why should I do this? What's in it for me?

  • You can provide secure updates, and reduce the risk of piracy when using the Waterfall Appcast Tool.
  • Reduce your number of support requests. Customers won't need to contact you about what version they have installed, or how to update their themes.
  • Optional Purchase verification - As of v1.1.0 (currently RW6 only) Waterfall can now verify orders if you are using the Cartloom service. See the video below for a quick demo.
  • Waterfall will add much more functionality as we continue its development. In later versions we'll be adding the ability to restore a previous version of a theme, update duplicated themes, change .rwstyle files to work with updated themes, etc.
  • Resources

    Adding Waterfall support to your themes is a distinction many customers would like to know about, and have already started asking how they can determine which themes are Waterfall enabled.

    Below are six Waterfall badges which you can display on your website to show customers. Please hotlink to these badges, so that any future updates to the badges are automatically reflected on your website.

    Horizontal Badges

    Vertical Badges

    How do I add Order Verification to my themes?

    In your theme's Info.plist file, add these keys:


    If you have questions above any of the items above or what their values should be, let me know.

    Why not wait until Realmac implements its own theme updating mechanism?

  • RapidWeaver may or may not ever get such a feature, depending on how much of a priority it is in their development roadmap.
  • Realmac's method for implementing automatic theme updates will very likely be exactly 1 the same as Waterfall's method. For example, the built-in plugin updating RW6 provides for devs right now uses a SUFeedURL key specified in the Info.plist file which pulls the update from, you guessed it, an appcast.xml file (conventions made standard by the popular Sparkle framework). In all likelihood, the work put into supporting automatic updates in Waterfall will also work whenever Realmac decides to implement its own updating mechanism. You'll be ahead of the game, with themes already supporting such a feature.
  • 1 Disclaimer: Of course, Realmac may decide to implement a completely different mechanism for updating themes. There's no way to know for sure until such an announcement is possibly made.

    Assuming RapidWeaver gets automatic theme updating at some point, why is Waterfall better?

  • In this current beta state, Waterfall only updates themes, but we've already finished some of the framework which will allow Waterfall to do much more - like roll back to a previous version of a theme, etc.
  • Waterfall can update themes without restarting RapidWeaver. Your customers can start using the newly updated themes right away, without interrupting their workflow. Based on how RW6 currently updates 3rd party plugins, which requires a restart, RW6 won't have this ability due to sandbox restrictions 2.
  • 2 The conclusions above are based on experience and the limited observation available as a third party RW developer. RW may indeed have this ability, or add it later via an update.

    How awesome is RapidWeaver?

    Super awesome! And so is the entire Realmac crew, who work so hard to make RapidWeaver and all their apps such great pieces of software.

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