You are here Status Update (2011-02-11): New Apps, Platform Progress, Site Status and More

John T. Haller's picture
Submitted by John T. Haller on February 11, 2011 - 6:02pm
It's time for another ' Status Update' on what's new in the last week. We've got new apps, an update on the platform progress, some more site performance tweaks, new development tracker tools and more. Read on for the details

New Apps

In the last 10 days we've had another 10 new apps go live, with another new app release coming in the next couple hours. We've also added a new New Apps Tracker so you can pop onto the site and get a quick list of the new apps. It's linked from the homepage just below the news announcements, too.

Development Section Tools and Organization

We've done a little reorganizing in the Development section to make it a bit easier for folks to find what they need. Information is now split between information for developers packaging apps (PA.c Format, Installer, Launcher, AppCompactor, etc) and internal development information (Test Releases, apps ready for release, etc). We've added in a link to outdated app progress for official apps awaiting an update (including several entries that were just added today that will be gone by tomorrow). We've also added an open bug tracker so our devs and users can easily track open bugs and issues in releases. We'll be upgrading to a full-blown issue tracker once the Drupal 7 upgrade is complete (see below).

Additional Hosting Tweaks

We've been doing some more tweaks on the server and have enabled pipelining. This lets the browser download multiple things (page, CSS, Javascript, images) in a single connection but can affect performance if the settings aren't right. We think we have them tweaked pretty well and you should notice a performance boost on many pages, particularly pages in the app directory like the main app page which has lots of images on it. We'd like to know how performance has been for users as a result.

Drupal Upgrade Progress

We're making some progress on our manual Drupal update scripts. As a refresher, Drupal is the content management system on which runs. We're looking to upgrade to the new version for some added features (improved localization being a big one and the updated app directory being another) but have run into issues with the automated upgrade process (it breaks horribly without any meaningful errors). So we're approaching it manually. We're hopeful that we'll be able to do the upgrade later this month.

Financial Update

We're looking into doing a donation push in the run-up to 2.0 and beyond to help cover the additional costs of hosting as the site and platform continue to gain popularity. As 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.

Rather than adding in a lot of advertising to the site or adding on expensive "premium" features we think a call for donations is the best way to get from where we are now to our self-sufficient open source business model which will be fully implemented in the coming months. The goal, as always, is to keep it all open source, free and easy while still keeping the site clean and fast.

We 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

We've made some more progress on the next dual-mode platform release (it will be a 1.9 Stable release with the 2.0 Beta 6 features that can be enabled by checking an option). Categories are working nicely with just a couple bugs remaining. The graphical themes have all been tweaked based on user input (especially the issues with them seeming a bit flat and washed-out due to off-white text). The ability to add apps via the updater interface is also coming along well. I finished fixes to ensure that icons are available for all the apps whether or not they are installed as well without needing to have the updater itself convert all the PNGs to ICOs.

Once the updater and categories are complete and relatively stable, we'll be pushing the release out for both stable and beta users. So, expect an update on that soon.

That's it for this update. Next week's update will be happening earlier in the week, so keep an eye on this blog Tuesday or Wednesday for more news. Have a great weekend everybody!


Simeon's picture

for the update. I like the new development section, especially the outdated apps thread which is more visible now.

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

solanus's picture

I like this format.

I made this half-pony, half-monkey monster to please you.

I really like this new style of weekly updates... keep 'em comin' Wink Looking forward to try out the next release with categories and possibility to install new apps through the updater... it sounds great!

It's nice to see we're still churning, albeit slowly. I think we have enough apps to run App-ness for a year! Biggrin

One thing, though: from what I can tell, Fotografix Portable is not recognized on my device, because the add mode keeps putting it on the list, and the updater database still has Opera Portable (Test) even though it's been taken down. I'm not sure whether you've fixed these problems already, but just letting you know.

My Dev Tests: ~ KeePass Pro Portable (awaiting .NET directory) ~ FreeCol Portable (needs testers)

"... proving to everyone that we are operating on Valve Time..." - us Blum

I think that the idea of a payed premium version isn't so bad.
This way a user can decide or they willing to pay for more features or not.
If they like the program, they will eventually miss features so they buy the premium.

Donations on the other hand will more suite the program intends to keep it all free and open source, but it depends on how much a user is willing to pay or not and how many times they do.

solanus's picture

Having a free and a paid version of the software would not work.
Someone would immediately make a free fork, and that would draw people away from the original.
A better idea would be to sell branded products. T-shirts, jackets, bags, mouse pads, stickers, etc., not to mention USB and external hard drives. There are a number of sites that sell this type of stuff online for quite reasonable prices, and you don't need to maintain an inventory. CafePress and Zazzle are two popular options that can handle everything except for the electronics; and of course, John is already dealing with creating branded USB drives.

I made this half-pony, half-monkey monster to please you.

I'd buy a PA.c mouse-pad, I need one and this way I'd be contributing to something really useful like this software Biggrin

I would LOVE to have a USB drive with the PA.c logo on it! And the shirt idea definitely sounds awesome!

You know what, I've been thinking. When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life TAKE THE LEMONS BACK! Get mad!! I don't want your lemons; what am I supposed to do with THESE!?

tgrantt's picture

USB Sticks, or some such, T-Shirts with "Your digital life, Anywhere," shirts with just the logo, and especially stickers for portable HDDs. Oh, yeah. And with just in time manufacturing, the overhead could be small.

Hey, maybe John's tagline/signature could be a T-shirt.

I am not my signature.

Methinks you mean CAN BE.

You know what, I've been thinking. When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life TAKE THE LEMONS BACK! Get mad!! I don't want your lemons; what am I supposed to do with THESE!?

Should Be*

and remove the word "maybe"

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

actually i honestly had a small absence of thought and imagined signed shirts...

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

tgrantt's picture

I didn't know. Damn. And Disney's copyright lawyers are not known for their generosity.

Thanks for, well, straightening that out.

I am not my signature.

As a special offer/ Financial, how about a portable apps USB rescue drive for Techs or knowledgable home user. To use to recover there systems. ? has there been any apps developed as a serious fire wall for USBs? Say a virtual disk with Fire wall on a USB to install Portable Apps on Bootable. May be With a Slip stream fill in the blanks app. I really appreciate all your work all of you. I try when I can to send donations to you and source forge I hope to be able to in march again. Because of Open Source people with your dedication. People like me (Disabled-Poor)can afford to get on line without having to become crooks to do it. Uncle Sam is pretty tight, Hell we got to pick our teeth just to get snacks.

I think a fund raiser along the lines of Wikipedia is a great idea. They reached 0.5 million (not sure if it was dollars or sterling), but still pretty impressive after a month.

I'll definitely be dipping my hand in my pocket when the PA fund raising bash is launched. As someone once said to be, "A Gift always deserves a Gift".

I've definitely looked at WinPenSuite, [illegal software suite removed by mod JTH], PortableApps a lot over the past few months, but always feel confident in the 'de facto' standard set by So, keep up the good work.

GrahamG, UK

Cambridge, UK

I agree, a Wikipedia style fund raiser is a great idea.

I've been a "free loader" of your services for several years. If you campaign for donations at the top of your pages people like me WILL pay for the great products you provide.

Hi John,
The platform has not been accessible for blind people since the first release.
I am a blind person and I can't use the menu with my screen reader.
Will you solve this problem in the 2.0 final release?

i wouldn't have a problem donating to this project, just tell me what it will be used for and know i want the 2.0 beta first, which you've said you'll do.
Smile i'd rather donate for the work i see coming out then donate for work i WANT to see come out.

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

LOGAN-Portable's picture

The main issues it boils down to seem to be time and money.
The money to host and the time to develop.

After all this time I'm still confused about ARE there more than one developer working on the menu through a code repository? How's that working out? The confusing 'moving forward" through two different versions, that only now are being synced. I remember from long ago the free-form theming, while now even the beta as only skins.

With all the reading/commenting on the forums, personal life, organizing, writing updates and so on, does John even have time left for actual development?

Twitter, Facebook, Drupal, IRC... At least connecting to the community isn't the problem.

I'm still running 2.0 Beta 5 and the main improvement is the updater, and it works great. Things like categories are with the growing number of apps high on my want list. Theming (like in 'the old days') also. And integration of using portable file associations, as I use PortableApps over local apps nowadays.

I appreciate a Weekly update post but a Monthly or where there's something to talk about would do just as fine.

Why not make one version (say 2.x) and then have advanced options with the experimental features, forgetting about finals and beta's and what have you.
And I personally think 2.0 b5 is stable and has been for a long time, as were previous beta's. It would have been a great official release with new options as they come. Eventually we'll get the kitchen-sink as well Smile

And isn't there a kind ISP around that is willing to sponsor the hosting?

OliverK's picture

I'm noticing sites like github mentioning that rackspace hosts them. I wonder if rackspace would give the site a deal if the site did the same

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

Does this mean that we'll finally have it? Also,I'd like to know if there will ever be support for custom-dimension themes in the near (or far, either way) future.

You know what, I've been thinking. When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life TAKE THE LEMONS BACK! Get mad!! I don't want your lemons; what am I supposed to do with THESE!?