The resource fork is a fork or section of a file on Apple's classic Mac OS operating system, which was also carried over to the modern macOS for compatibility, used to store structured data along with the unstructured data stored within the data fork.
A resource fork stores information in a specific form, containing details such as icon bitmaps, the shapes of windows, definitions of menus and their contents, and application code (machine code). For example, a word processing file might store its text in the data fork, while storing any embedded images in the same file's resource fork. The resource fork is used mostly by executables, but every file is able to have a resource fork.
In a 1986 technical note, Apple strongly recommended that developers do not put general data into the resource fork of a file. According to Apple, there are parts of the system software that rely on resource forks having only valid Resource Manager information in them.