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PortableApps.com Status Update (2011-03-04): New Apps, Platform Progress, Site Progress and More

John T. Haller's picture
Submitted by John T. Haller on March 4, 2011 - 9:17pm

It's time for another 'PortableApps.com Status Update' on what's new in the last week. We've got new apps, a pile of app updates, an update on the platform progress, an update on site upgrade progress, and more. Read on for the details

New Apps

In the last 6 days we've had another 6 new apps go live, making 94 new apps in the 94 days of app-ness so far. You can easily track new releases in the New Apps Tracker we debuted last week. It's linked from the homepage just below the news announcements, too.

Pile of App Updates

We've had a much higher than usual rate of apps in need of update in the last week, which has taken a bit more time away from new development. In the last 6 days, we had the new beta of Firefox 4, double updates of Firefox 3 and Thunderbird 3, SeaMonkey, and the upcoming Firefox Legacy 3.5.17 release. Those apps updates alone total 116 updated portable app packages (due to multiple languages) and that's not even including the other 2 dozen app updates or double updates of Google Chrome on multiple channels. We're still sorting through the last dozen updates but will be caught up over the weekend.

Firefox 4 Beta and Thunderbird 3.3 Alpha

We have both the latest Mozilla Firefox 4.0 Beta 12 release and the latest Miramar 3.3 Alpha 2 (Thunderbird) release portablized and ready for testing. This should help in getting more testers on both apps and help shake out any issues with portablization well before the actual release.

LibreOffice Update Coming

We've been doing some extra work on the next LibreOffice update to fix the existing bugs (localization selection issue, some speed issues) as well as support more languages without drastically increasing the size of the file. We've gotten some input from some of The Document Foundation folks and should have the update out within the next few days or so.

Drupal Upgrade Progress

Not much new to report on this front, unfortunately. This is primarily due to time constraints. We'll hopefully have some good news next week. In the meantime, here's last week's post with the last details...

Some more progress has been made on the Drupal upgrade scripts. We may wind up hiring a Drupal expert to assist with the process, though, due to the complexity. We should know more at some point this week. As a reminder, Drupal is the content management system on which the site runs and it is in need of an upgrade to the latest major version release. However, the upgrade process is crashing without any useful errors or any indication of the issue. So, we'll be performing a manual upgrade from version 6 to 7. This will allow us better localization and allow us to implement our site redesign and new app directory.

Financial Update

Nothing major in the last week on the financial front, either, though we are exploring more into merchandise as well as drives. I'll post more as we know it. In the meantime, here's last week's update...

We're still exploring some options for fund-raising in the run-up to 2.0. We like the idea of a PortableApps.com store where you can buy t-shirts, mousepads, mugs, etc. We're also looking into doing a branded drive just as a fundraiser. We don't want to do it long-term as we're not looking to compete with our upcoming hardware partnerships.

As mentioned before, bandwidth costs continue to grow and the need for additional hardware presents itself, the additional funds are definitely going to help. In terms of monthly unique visitors, we're closing in on the likes of BoingBoing, SlashDot and similar sites and the hosting costs are reflecting that. Currently, we're covering the additional overhead from personal funding sources.

We still plan to kick this off soon after the 1.9 release is posted and will be providing more details at the time. We may do something similar to wikipedia's call for donations, though likely without my face looking sad on every page of the site. :) We're always looking for ideas and suggestions as well, so feel free to drop us a note to our developer contact address or post a note in the forums.

1.9 / 2.0 Beta 6 Platform Progress

A small amount of progress was made in the last week on the upcoming platform release, but it was slow going due to the volume of app updates and some other behind-the-scenes legal and financial work. I was trying to target next week for the 1.9 release, but it doesn't look like that will happen at the moment. There are still a couple bugs in category handling and localization of categories as well as several fit and finish bugs that were noticed with the last 2.0 Beta 5 release as well as some pre-builds of 1.9.

The only way to hit next week would be if we hold off on categories until the 1.9.1 release the following week or so. It's still looking like we'll be able to do weekly or biweekly updates once we hit 1.9. And this would allow some of our soon-to-be partners to start bundling co-branded versions of the PA.c Platform and help ease our financial situation. But I'd like to check with the rest of the community for thoughts on this possibility first. The question may actually be moot as I have some development time scheduled for this weekend after the app updates and may be able to knock the final categories issues out then.

That's it for this update. Keep an eye on this blog for the next update and have a great weekend everybody!

Comments

LOGAN-Portable's picture

I would think to wait till the categories are implemented. A 1.9 release that basically has the functions of the 2.0 release seems a step backward.

Still not sure what happened to the menu co-developers from a long time ago, you know the guys who had to sign legal documents to work on the Open Source code of PortableApps.com. I really hope they are also involved in developing and the Open Source spirit hasn't died. I also hope his project isn't stalled by some behind-the-scenes legal issues as at this is an Open Source project, I really can't think of what legal issues would hold back an Open Source project for years. If it's only the hardware branding that holds PortableApps.com back this bad, people might think it's not worth the wait, but I also understand you want to make PortableApps.com financial viable for, say, full time developement. But it's been a few years now that PortableApps seems to be held back by Legal and branding issues...

And being open source one might have expected more help from cummunity devs, or 'mods' but those seem rare. Don't know if they exist. On SourceForge I think I could not find the source for the 2.0B5 quickly.

All the best.

John T. Haller's picture

The behind-the-scenes stuff I mentioned isn't holding things back. It's the work that will enable the project to move forward financially (and pay me back the debts I've incurred keeping it running, for example). This stuff can't happen without the proper legal frameworks in place. Otherwise, we can't license trademarks (nor would we have been able to file them). Nor can we ensure creating proper contracts to support these business partners.

The source is available right here, where it has always been. The app does require Delphi XE to develop, which each dev needs to have to contribute. As things move forward financially, we'll be able to purchase and provide licenses for interested devs.

We're not held back by legal or branding issues. We've been working to establish a solid base of functionality and an easy way to make apps portable to interest commercial software providers as well as hardware partners. We're got the 1st half done (software) and the contracts ready. The hardware side we've got the contracts ready and are pushing to get the update platform with the technical abilities to brand out so we can sign the deals and have some revenue from it to pay for hosting, etc.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

I totally hear you on this. Its imperative that all the proper legal issues are in place and all your own business dealing secured before progressing to far. For the sake of adding categories its not worth sacrificing the project and your own interests, people will just have to have patience. Before moving to NY from the UK, I invested heavily in projects and in some cases overlooked certain things which came back to bite later on.

Keep up the good work John !!!!

... for the update and all the hard work. Keep it up Wink

I'm really looking forward to the categories...

I don't know if this is the right place to ask questions about this but I assume the update will sort through all the apps and categorize them automatically!? And will all non-PA apps (I've got stuff like Piriform's CCleaner, Defraggler, Recuva etc.) then go into a common non-PA category/folder?

Also I've been wondering for a long time about a few open source projects which already use the .paf packaging but ain't on the PA site (projects like Wireshark Portable and Fsum Frontend Portable). Will they ever be on the site and hence be autoupdated?

Anyway once again thanks... all you developers' hard work is much appreciated Smile

If I understand them well. It's just an easy way to make simple installers.
And about the piriform apps, I'd suggest not using the officciall packages but the ones avaliable in the forums to get PAF integration and Portability, because I don't think you are using them without leaving back half the app settings Smile

@John:

(John-117)- You told me there wouldn't be any cameras.
(Sergeant Avery Johnson)- And you told me you were gonna wear something nice! Folks need heroes, chief. To give'em hope.

Halo 2, second cutscene
After reading this update, I remembered this little chat. Maybe it's too much of a comparison, maybe it's coming short. You are having lot's of.. lets say "bumps"... to make PortableApps.com success, and you are, as your signature once said, making the wheels grind slowly but steadily. I long ago realized this project is not to be followed every day, but each time I get this url I see some update, some progress towards [strikethrough]world domination[strikethrough] being well supported and known. And to have the money to be able to keep it forward Biggrin

P.D.: For those of you who see the brackets instead the ><.>

Eiñ??? A siñature????

sure there is

<s>text</s>

Smile

Too many lonely hearts in the real world
Too many bridges you can burn
Too many tables you can't turn
Don't wanna live my life in the real world

EspaÑaks's picture

Thanks. It doesn't appear on the formatting options page though :/, but I saw it don at the composing page. C'mon, i'm supposed to know HTML Sad

Eiñ??? A siñature????

First of all many thanks to all the contributors spending their free time and putting their effort in this project. I've been using the platform and apps for two years now and so far it has been the most helpful project/site. For personal use as well as on a professional level.
There can be added an option that I think could be helpful to some people. How about a reset settings option in the platform when one right clicks on an app. Al it would have to do is basically remove the data folder from that app. This can come in handy when tying some ad-dons for some apps and specifically when someone messed it up.
Just to be clear, it's but an idea. So consider it a lowest priority request of added functionality.
Keep up the great work.

About the donations; I've been to Canada a few years ago, and still have some offline Canadian dollars. Might there be a way I can send it to one of the devs as a donation?

I fear if you release anything without Categories in the system it will be another year before that feature gets implemented. An unfounded fear but one of mine none the less.

I found from experience that if you release something the "unexpected" bugs take over the process and features just keep getting pushed to the bottom of the pile.

Please take the extra week, if needed, to get the Categories in to project. For myself and many others it is the MOST important feature.

Thanks for another update John!
I'd say go with it. Get it ready and out the door to the public and the hardware guys. For me, categories is a nice-to-have-but-not-so-important feature.

"What about Love?" - "Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate." - Al Pacino in The Devils Advocate

Pyromaniac's picture

While I do like categories, I've gotten used to not having them, (by renaming and numbering stuff). I'm more interested in trying out these other new features coming in the next release Biggrin

give us it now and the categories would be a good start to your 2 week update plan

is it perfect: no, nothings perfect.
is it readily available and reliable: make it happen.

Speaking as someone who deals with "civilians" at times having the add application feature in the GUI is more important than categories.

I think both are fairly useful. For those that don't install many apps, the ability to browse available apps and install right from the platform is probably more important. However, if you start installing very many apps or are simply particular about how the apps are listed in the platform menu, then categories are probably more important.

Ultimately, both of these features will help to really take the PortableApps Platform forward and to another level.

One more vote for releasing 1.9 with whatever's ready to go. I'm looking forward to categories, but I've gotten along this far without them.

John and the whole team,
Thanks for all that you do! There's been lots of progress recently, so keep it up!

Rick Carter

check with the rest of the community for thoughts

Going to be very honest, the only reason I have bothered checking this web site was to see when you would be done with categories.
I may speak for myself but nothing other than categories matter.

Pyromaniac's picture

the only reason I have bothered checking this web site was to see when you would be done with categories.

what about the daily releases Pardon No reason to have categories if there's no apps to go in them Wink

That's the whole truth. Biggrin
I consider categories mostly overrated. It will work with as many apps as one can easily remember or one would start browsing through different categories to track down an app seldomly used. I don't consider that a great advantage. I for one hope that the app list will be sped at a great extent - and if were wishday, an explorer-like fast access (to repeat again: type the first few letters and the selection jumps to the corresponding app, without the need to select a search field before).
But that is just my opinion depending on my workflow. Wink

spg SCOTT's picture

I'm lazy, and generally don't like to go hunting for programs...I just rearrange the favourites with my most used apps at the time as it is now...

But, I can see why people want them...

“There is a computer disease that anybody who works with computers knows about. It's a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is that you 'play' with them!”Richard Feynman

EspaÑaks's picture

Why don't check whats faster to have implemented AND stable, release it as another beta (whatever feature it is), and then go on with the other features? (If it ain't much work packaging every successful build). Then you can keep people happy by having more updates and showing how good the project health is, and you will be able to work at it as usual.Then, when everything you could add is ready, have the final. Anyway, my point is that you work on the feature YOU want/think is better prepared/is cooler/is more exciting for YOU. Really, if we are talking about OSS, the users can decide which features go into the app, but the developer is the one working Biggrin

Eiñ??? A siñature????