Desktop DB

Rob Leslie
Thu, 12 Dec 1996 00:56:43 -0500

> Can someone throw light on the format of Desktop DataBase on Apple Macintosh
> machines? Pointers to where I can get this information are also welcome.

I'm not aware of any official documentation, but my understanding is that the
file is structured as a B*-tree similar to the catalog and extents files used
in HFS volumes. Using similar techniques to read the file, you could probably
decipher the key and possibly even the data format yourself.

Documentation for Apple's B*-tree format, at least as used by HFS, can be
found here:

The implementation of the B*-tree and node routines in the hfsutils package
may be general enough to be adapted to the task of reading and/or manipulating
the Desktop file (or any other B*-tree), with a little work.

I seem to remember, though, that Apple changed the format of the Desktop file
from System 6 to System 7, such that the data now spans two separate files.
Unfortunately, I don't really know anything else about it.

Robert Leslie