I installed Mathematica 10 and also the Extra Packages. I think this installed Wolfram CDF player, but I don't see that in my Applications folder on my MacBook Pro. I can export to a standalone CDF file from Mathematica, but if I try to open a CDF file by double-clicking the file in its folder, it opens in Mathematica.
Should I see a copy of the Wolfram CDF player on my system? I'd like to be able to tell my students and colleagues how to use it, but I cannot learn if the cdf file opens in Mathematica.
Thoughts and suggestions?
My experience with the CDF Player is that it's not ready for general users yet. Its implementation is very muddled and full of problems.
I had some test files that were working with a private style sheet and package - but only when I put them in the Wolfram Research files. I hadn't used it for awhile. I just brought it up and it was working. But then I noticed that I could "Activate Wolfram CDF Player Pro". So I did that and it no longer works. I downloaded a new Free CDF Player 10.1 (this used to be outside of regular Mathematica) and tried again but it still doesn't work. The Free Player used to be outside of the regular WRI files and could serve as a test or a readers experience. But it no longer is and if you have Mathematica it uses Mathematica.
As far as I'm concerned the CDF Player is not yet adequate. Perhaps it is only WRI insiders who do very special cases or people who have close connection with insiders that can produce workable examples. I may be mistaken, and I wonder if any regular Mathematica users without inside connections have successively created good CDF files? How about with private style sheets? How about with private packages? You may notice that the WolframCDFPlayer data files does have an Applications folder where you should be able to put private Applications with package code and style sheets. The corresponding WRI CDFPlayer folder has Applications with package code so why can't we provide our own packages to outside readers?
Actually, my CDF solution has been working very well for my users. I do use external packages but not custom style-sheets. With the Enterprise CDF you get general I/O which is very useful. I do use SaveDefinitions even though some people don't like it. I find it reliable if you start with a fresh Kernel.
Now I agree that there should be better documentation in how to get this working. For me, the "Developing Real-World CDF Applications" by Yu-Sung Chang in http://www.wolfram.com/training/special-event/wolfram-cdf-virtual-workshop-2012/ was very helpful in understanding how this is supposed to work.
In regards to the opening question, I have a second PC with CDF player installed and without Mathematica. This way I can test in an environment similar to that of my users.
It's nice to learn, Gustavo, that CDF can be made to work. But it requires CDF-Enterprise and, as far as I understand, that is quite expensive so that only large companies and institutions would have it. Even though I bought the Professional version of Mathematica and Premier Service for many years I would not have it available. Nor a second computer at the moment. I did have my CDF files working at one time but WRI closed off the path that allowed them to work.
So, in my view, CDF is dead in the water for what might be considered its principal application - technical communication between scientists. Look at http://arxiv.org/ and show me examples of CDF files or even Mathematica notebooks.
I did watch the Yu-Sung Chang video, which is fairly daunting. I don't think he ever answered the question of how one would make one's own packages available to readers. If WRI provided more liberal usable CDF facilities, it would succeed - and then largely fade because everybody would buy Mathematica and communicate via notebooks.
Wolfram Player is a separate software. Go to wolfram.com downloads and find a version for Mac. You can of course open cdfs in full version of Mathematica but since the environment matters I'm suggesting to test your files in target environment (CDF Player).
On Windows you can choose a default program for .cdf files (which sometimes does not work but it principal you can) so the quesiton is can you do this on Mac? If you don't have Mathematica it should automatically open in Player anyway and if you have then at the end you can use the File Menu in Player to open the file you want.
There are several limitations of cdf files which are described here e.g.:
The most important one is lack of I/O in general for Free CDFs. Depends what do you need cdfs for.
and related threads:
I have both MMA 10.1 and CDF Player 10.1 installed side by side on the same Windows PC. They both work independently of each other.