PortableApps.com Launcher 2.0 Released: Make Apps Portable Without Writing Code

Chris Morgan's picture
Submitted by Chris Morgan on June 30, 2010 - 4:58pm

logoPortableApps.com is proud to announce that PortableApps.com Launcher 2.0 has been released. The PortableApps.com Launcher™ allows developers, publishers and even technical end-user to portablize apps in PortableApps.com Format without needing to write any code. It's an easy to use multilingual launcher that makes creating portable apps a snap. Once you've updated your app to the current PortableApps.com Format Specification, you can use the PortableApps.com Launcher to handle registry keys, command line options and updating configuration files just by editing a simple INI file. The PortableApps.com Launcher brings the power behind our launchers used in hundreds of apps to everyone. It's already used in NSIS Portable, Audacity Portable and PChat Portable.

Read on for more details...


ScreenshotThe PortableApps.com Launcher allows you to easily make your apps portable. It features:

  • Proven NSIS core
  • Easy configuration with no coding required
  • Automated language switching of apps with the PortableApps.com Platform
  • Powerful settings file and directory moving
  • Easy registry portablization
  • Custom code in launchers where needed
  • And many more features for making professional portable apps
  • Works from command line and Send To (just pass the portable app's main directory, e.g. X:\PortableApps\FileZillaPortable)
  • Licensed for use with free open source and freeware
  • Commercial use by contacting PortableApps.com

For complete details, read the PortableApps.com Launcher Manual (also included with the app). The PortableApps.com Application Template 2.0 is also available.

This update allows software publishers to package their apps using our popular tools. Open source projects can use our installer and launcher (and all source is included and licensed under the GPL) and release their own PAF files. Freeware publishers can also use our installer with no special permission. Commercial publishers can contact us for permission.

Get Help Packaging for PortableApps.com

If you need help packaging your software in PortableApps.com Format or using the PortableApps.com Launcher, just post a note to the Development Forum and we'll help you out.

PortableApps.com Installer / PortableApps.com Format

PortableApps.com Launcher is packaged as a PortableApps.com Installer so it will automatically detect an existing PortableApps.com installation when your drive is plugged in. It supports upgrades by installing right over an existing copy, preserving all settings. And it's in PortableApps.com Format, so it automatically works with the PortableApps.com Suite including the Menu and Backup Utility.


The PortableApps.com Launcher is available for immediate download from the PortableApps.com Launcher homepage. Get it today!

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John T. Haller's picture

Thanks Chris for all your work on this. It was a truly monumental undertaking, but WELL worth the wait. And another thanks to Mark (gringoloco) for all his help with NSIS Unicode as well as his work in updating all the NSIS plugins for use with the PortableApps.com Launcher and upcoming Updater. Thanks as well to all the testers and contributors of ideas to the Launcher. Smile

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

Yeah, thanks for all your work on this. Sounds like it's good stuff. I used an early version, and it seemed to do its thing like it said (didn't confirm with RegShot and the ever-reliable horusofoz). I still plan on using this to package NetHack (dungeon crawler game) but if anyone wants to do it before I get to it, be my guest.

both Chris and John for this!

one thing: The app page has one "The" in the features section with no sentence behind...

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

To all that worked on the docs for the launcher: "Thanks!"

Looks all professional and stuff. Wink

Cancer Survivors -- Remember the fight, celebrate the victory!
Help control the rugrat population -- have yourself spayed or neutered!

Chris Morgan's picture

At the moment it's just me that's worked on the manual (except for John and his graphics designer who designed the original help.html style. And the python/docutils/sphinx developers for the documentation framework). I personally wouldn't say it looks all professional yet... it lacks significant polish and structure. Any suggestions or improvements or volunteering for writing good use cases/examples would be welcomed.

I am a Christian and a developer and moderator here.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

Ok, I'll rephrase. "So far, it looks a LOT better than the docs we had for some of the previous versions."

I can say that because I was one of the original contributors to the unofficial PortableApps wiki on another website. Blum

Cancer Survivors -- Remember the fight, celebrate the victory!
Help control the rugrat population -- have yourself spayed or neutered!

computerfreaker's picture

This is a huge milestone for PortableApps, and one that will probably trigger a "development flood" of apps. Great work, Chris!
*Downloads PAL, then goes off to make more apps portable*

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

is this right?

in XP its "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users"
and in vista its "C:\ProgramData"

i think this is wrong cause when i open a file in vista it works fine but when i open the same file in XP it needs to be in "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data", so i added "\Application Data" like this "&ALLUSERSPROFILE&\Application Data" in move directories and opened it in xp it works fine but in vista it turns out like this "C:\ProgramData\Application Data"

and i'm having some trouble in reg [RegistryCleanupForce] this only deletes the key, but i just want to delete the value like this

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts\Arial (TrueType)=REG_SZ:arial.ttf

i only need to delete the value "Arial (TrueType)" not the whole "Fonts" key

i tried [RegistryValueBackupDelete] but so far no go

anyway thanks to the launcher some of my apps and games are portabilize. great work

John T. Haller's picture

What you need is ALLUSERSAPPDATA which doesn't exist. The directory Application Data will vary depending on OS language, so you can't hardcode it to my knowledge. It must be a nasty app if it is writing to the ALLUSERS profile and Fonts on every run. Please post in the forums for assistance with the exact issues (this is a news story and no one will find your question or the answers to it here).

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

Chris Morgan's picture

It can be used to make almost any app work in PortableApps.com Format. Some modifications may be needed to be handled with the launcher configuration as with any app, but if the base app is already portable or almost portable, it can make it easier and faster.

I am a Christian and a developer and moderator here.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

Dagenham's picture

Thanks for the launcher, last day I've started to play with it, really promising.

I've discovered the custom [DirectoriesCleanupForce] among other custom .INI settings, very useful.

For a future version, it is possible to add custom commands/sections, for example [ExecuteBeforeLaunch], [ExecuteAfterQuit] like this:

1=(do something before launch)
2=(do something else before launch)

1=(do something after quit)
2=(do something else after quit)

It would be handy.

So, basically, this would be able to make any app compatible with the launcher without having to make them into the portableapps format manually by creating a appinfo.ini and appicon.ico? If so, this could really help for some apps where the main exe isn't in the root folder of the app.

Chris Morgan's picture

This is not designed for use like that. That can be achieved already by creating just an appinfo.ini which specifies the path; this is for creating full portable apps in PortableApps.com Format.

I am a Christian and a developer and moderator here.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1