Welcome to another status update from PortableApps.com. As a lot has been happening over the past month and a half, we thought it would be a good idea to do an "all-hands" status update so everyone know what's been going on behind the scenes. There's been some good (62 shiny new apps, LibreOffice from The Document Foundation), some not so good (site performance issues) and some bad (a SourceForge outage and a platform release schedule delay). The good news is that the daily app releases continue, the site performance issues are fixed, the platform work is continuing and the SourceForge fixes are progressing well. We'll be announcing any major developments as well as the platform release on our RSS feed, Twitter, Facebook, homepage and in our newsletter, so keep an eye on one to find out right away. For the complete details, please read on...
- New Apps - 62 and Counting!
- LibreOffice Portable Published With The Document Foundation
- Drupal 7 Upgrade, New App Directory and Site Localization
- PortableApps.com Site Performance Issues Solved
- SourceForge.net Outage Issues
- PortableApps.com Platform Release Target Missed
- Updated Platform Versioning and Release Timeframe
Since December 1st, we've released a new portable app every day. Originally, it was going to be a month-long holiday present for the end of the year, but it's been so well-received by users and brought so many new publishers on board that we've got a ton of releases in the queue just waiting for everyone to enjoy, so we're going to keep up the pace. Here's a quick recap of the last 2 months of new apps:
- AkelPad Portable - lightweight plaintext editor
- Notepad2 Portable - Simple, lightweight text editor
- SQLite Database Browser Portable - Simple SQLite database management tool
- Gramps Portable - genealogical research software
- Marble Portable - virtual globe and atlas
- TypeFaster Portable - touch typing tutor
- Armagetron Advanced Portable - 3d lightcycle game
- Battle for Wesnoth Portable - turn-based fantasy strategy game
- Brutal Chess Portable - 3d chess
- Freeciv Portable - empire-building strategy game
- Hedgewars Portable - turn-based strategy, artillery and comedy game
- IceBreaker Portable - wall-building-style arcade game
- LMarbles Portable - pattern-matching puzzle game
- Monster 2 - retro-style role-playing game
- Neverball Portable - 3d rolling ball obstacle course
- OpenTTD Portable - urban planning simulation
- Pathological Portable - color-matching puzzle game
- Puzzle Collection Portable - dozens of single player puzzles
- Rocks'n'Diamonds Portable - fast-paced gem collection game
- T^3 Portable - 3 dimensional tetris
- Tick5 Portable - 5-in-a-row puzzle game
- Twin Distress Portable - color matching puzzle game
- WAtomic Portable - molecular puzzle game
- WinBoard Chess Portable - advanced chess engine
- Zaz Portable - color-matching puzzle game
Graphics & Pictures
- AniFX Portable (Freeware) - full-featured cursor editor
- Fotografix Portable (Freeware) - lightweight image editor
- Fyre Portable - 2D computational artwork
- IrfanView Portable (Freeware) - lightweight graphic viewer
- K-3D Portable - 3D modeling and animation
- Feed Notifier Portable - RSS/ATOM popup feed notifications
- Juice Portable - podcast receiver and manager
- Maxthon Portable (Freeware) - fast, powerful browser
- Private Browsing by PortableApps.com - enhanced private browsing
Music & Video
- cdrtfe Portable - CD, DVD, VCD burner
- XMPlay Portable (Freeware) - Full featured audio player and library
- Finance Explorer Portable (Freeware) - personal financial management
- FocusWriter Portable - distraction-free word processor
- Gnumeric Portable - full-featured spreadsheet
- LibreOffice Portable - word processor, spreadsheet, presentations with excellent compatibility
- Money Manager Ex Portable - easy-to-use personal finance software
- RedNotebook Portable - modern journal and diary
- Stickies Portable (Freeware) - lightweight sticky notes
- The Guide Portable - two-pane outliner
- WinDjView Portable - a lightweight DjVu viewer
- Spybot - Search & Destroy Portable (Freeware) - Spyware detection and removal
- Ant Renamer Portable - Advanced file renaming utility
- AquaSnap Portable (Freeware) - Screen productivity enhancement
- Console Portable - console window enhancement
- Converber Portable (Freeware) - convert units of measurement
- Daphne Portable - process explorer, killer and debugger
- Disk Cleaner Portable - cache, temp file and history cleaner
- DSynchronize Portable (Freeware) - directory synchronization
- Free UPX Portable (Freeware) - advanced executable compression
- IObit Uninstaller Portable (Freeware) - uninstaller and cleaner
- Regshot Portable - registry and file comparison
- Revo Uninstaller Portable (Freeware) - easy to use uninstaller
- Smart Defrag Portable (Freeware) - disk defragmentation and optimization
- Synkron Portable - file and directory synchronization
- UUID-GUID Generator Portable - generate unique identifiers
- WinMTR Portable - network diagnostic tool
- XN Resource Editor Portable -lightweight binary resource editor
We couldn't have done all of that without the new developers and publishers we've brought on board to help with app releases. You'll find the full list of developers on our team page. Please join me in thanking them for the work they are doing. And remember to thank the publisher of your favorite app when they give permission to for their software to be packaged portably.
January also saw the official release of the new LibreOffice office suite. The same week, we released LibreOffice Portable 3.3 in partnership with The Document Foundation as the official portable version of their software. A lot of work went on behind the scenes to make this happen and Marko, Florian and the rest of the folks were all a big help in making this happen. We're looking forward to a long and fruitful partnership with them.
We've been working behind the scenes on getting the site upgraded to the latest version of our content management system, Drupal. This upgrade will allow us to finish the build-out of our improved app directory and finally launch improved site localization software for our translators. Unfortunately, the upgrade failed during our scheduled maintenance window on January 9th due to some issues within the database. As we've been running and upgrading an older version of Drupal, we aren't confident that Drupal's upgrade process will be able to handle the upgrade properly, so we're planning for a manual upgrade, copying the data (posts, users, articles, comments, etc) out of our existing install and into a fresh Drupal 7 install. We'll keep you updated as things progress.
As our regular visitors have noted, PortableApps.com has had some performance issues since the end of December. These issues have particularly been affecting logged-in users who have been met with periodic "Server Overloaded" messages. It's affected guest users occasionally as well and on occasion impacted some downloads of freeware and 3rd party hosted software. We've been working hard on the issue behind the scenes with some server cleanup and reconfiguration. We'd hoped that some of the optimizations we planned for Drupal 7 would help as well, but the upgrade did not go as scheduled. We were able to optimize some additional bits and disable some internal functionality like live statistics. As a result, the site is working very well again with pages coming up quickly for both guest and logged-in users. The only thing visitors may miss is the live statistics on the forum page which detailed how many guest visitors were online. While this was a nice stat to show off, it wound up limiting us to around 6,000 simultaneous users and we thought our users would like it better if they could access the site.
Site popularity is continuing to grow and we're now in the top 5,000 websites worldwide. To cope with the traffic growth, we are looking to accelerate some server changes that we'd originally slated for later this year. We're discussing things with our managed, dedicated host to figure out a timeline and pricing that works for us.
SourceForge.net, which provides us with hosting for our open source platform and apps, was subjected to an attempted hack last week. As a result, new release functionality has been disabled since January 25th. The immediately affected release of Juice Portable is being temporarily hosted on our freeware server and Mozilla Firefox 4 Beta 10 is available for users by installing Beta 9 and performing an automatic upgrade. Unfortunately, additional new releases and updates of open source software have been on hold since then. We've got an updated topic on the SourceForge issue in the forums where we will post updates and answer any questions on the issue.
SourceForge provides us with hundreds of terrabytes of download bandwidth that would otherwise cost us tens of thousands of dollars. Even so, we have active backup contingencies in place should this issue continue for too long a time. We'll begin releasing open source software via another avenue should the need arise.
Update (Feb 1 @ 2pm EDT): The release system has come back online but is understandably overloaded. We've started uploading releases and will ensure the files are properly available on multiple download servers before we post and announce them.
As many users have noticed, we missed our updated target release timeframe for the new PortableApps.com Platform 2.0 Beta and stable releases. This was due to a number of issues, both technical and personal, but ultimately, the responsibility falls on me. I, again, set a timeframe and publicly announced it without taking into account several possible issues and, in the end, let you down. And for that, I am truly sorry. Our community of users and developers is really one of the things that makes us great and helps drive this whole project forward and it's unfair to set up high expectations for you only to disappoint you when they don't come to pass. Even though our software is free, many people like you rely on it to live, work and play and we have a responsibility to ensure you are able to continue doing that. I take that responsibility seriously and will not let this situation happen again.
We're changing the way we do updates to the platform in the leadup to 2.0. Instead of posting a 1.7 stable release with the PA.c Updater and then a 2.0 Beta 6 release with categories/theming and building on it from there, we're merging the two branches into a single release path. The next release will be a stable 1.9 release and it will have the PortableApps.com Updater enabled. It will be quite similar to the current 2.0 Beta 5 release. However, it will also have categories, theming and some other beta features included but disabled by default. A quick "Enable Beta Functionality" toggle and the 1.9 stable release behaves as 2.0 Beta 6. We'll do this for another 1 or 2 quick releases and then ship it out as 2.0 stable.
Though unconventional, this will allow us to operate off a single release path and internal build environment (one version of Delphi and associated tools), allow us to retire the aging 1.6 branch as soon as we make our next release, allow us to start meeting some of our hardware partner's needs immediately and quickly progress to the final 2.0 release. It's been a long-running joke that the Beta release was more stable and functional than the Stable release. Now, they'll be one and the same and both moving forward. As the platform will have the capability to update itself, this will also allow us to quickly address any major issues that may arise.
Rather than announcing a new date and having it slip, further proving to everyone that we are operating on Valve Time, I'm going to begin posting weekly progress updates on this blog on the status of the platform and our other initiatives. So, every week, you'll get an update on where things stand and, often, an announcement of a new release to download and use. I'll be doing additional quick mini status updates in the forums as things come together as well and link them in from this announcement and post them in our twitter account.
I think that's it for this update. Thank you all for your continued support, patience and encouragement. We look forward to bringing you lots of new cool things in the weeks ahead!