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Feature Addition: Scanning multiple directories for apps, opinions sought

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John T. Haller
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Feature Addition: Scanning multiple directories for apps, opinions sought

There have been a few requests over the years to have the PortableApps.com Platform scan additional paths for apps. The rationale is usually that users want to keep non-PAF apps separate from PAF apps or apps that are updated automatically by the platform separate from those that are not. I'm planning on implementing this within a future release of the PortableApps.com Platform and wanted to layout the setup and see if there are any comments or suggestions.

Since some people want to keep non-PAF apps separate and some want to keep unofficial apps separate, I think using 3 separate paths would make the most sense. I'll be talking about this as if the user has the platform installed to the root of a drive, but this will work with other relative paths as well.

X:\PortableApps - The PortableApps directory we have now which will be scanned by the platform for PA.c Format apps as well as non-PAF apps. Apps will automatically appear in the PA.c Platform and will be automatically updates.

X:\PortableAppsUnofficial - Apps in PA.c Format that have not yet officially been released from our forums and from publishers who have posted versions we do not yet officially update. Apps in this folder will be found by the platform's menu but will not be checked for updates by the PA.c Updater. Only PAF style appinfo.ini files will be scanned for existence in this folder.

X:\PortableAppsOther - Apps not in PA.c Format that are portable. Apps in this folder will be found by the platform's menu but will not be checked for updates by the PA.c Updater. The platform will only scan for EXE files and will not search for appinfo.ini configurations within this path.

For users who have no wish to separate things out, nothing will change from the way it currently works. It's entirely optional and these other two paths will not exist by default. This is strictly an option for power users.

Any thoughts or suggestions? The one thing I'm considering is the name of the last path. Possible PortableAppsNonPAF instead of PortableAppsOther.

Gord Caswell
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Unofficial --> Official handling?

Is there a way we could automagically move apps from PortableAppsUnofficial to PortableApps upon release? That way when we do support apps, users don't need to manually move files themselves, or reinstall new.

Something along the logic lines of {When scanning PortableAppsUnofficial: "If app is found that is in App Store list, move app from PortableAppsUnofficial to PortableApps"}

John T. Haller
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No

The secondary folders won't be monitored by the updater at all. This is more for people who want to specifically separate things out.

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

kentgeaney
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I sort apps into Categories similar to Portable Apps directory

Thank you for your good work.

Secondary directory search.

I realise you said...
The secondary folders won't be monitored by the updater at all. This is more for people who want to specifically separate things out.

That's exactly what I want to do. The thing is I sort the apps directories into Categories similar to the Portable Apps directory listing, I generally have all the available portable apps on hand sorted into directories as in...
_Accessibility
BalabolkaPortable
DicomPortable
On-ScreenKeyboardPortable
VirtualMagnifyingGlassPortable
_Development
...
etc..

When I use Portable Apps, I simply would like to move a singular directory or directories ie "_Accessibility" with the apps it contains to the active apps directory and move it out again when I am finished. That leaves the PortableApps menu uncluttered (After Icon refresh), the active portableapps directory clean and a lot more usable when doing day to day tasks.

Also to note, I could copy the 10 or more categorised directories to the active directory folder and do a bulk update, and again put them back in the inactive directory.

So yeah, if it's possible I would love to have a secondary directory monitored if possible by default or an option setting.

Thank you again for your efforts.

RogerL
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PortableAppsNonPAF

PotableAppsNonPAF gets my vote.

Are you planning on initial setup to move the Unofficial and NonPaf apps out of the PortableApps folder into their respective folders?

Looking forward to this btw.

John T. Haller
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Optional, Manual

This will be an optional feature for folks who wish to use it. The folders won't be created by default but will be detailed in a readme.txt within the PortableApps directory, in the on-site documentation, and within the menu UI. Nothing will be automatically moved to or from the folders.

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eresele
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PortableAppsNonPAF please!

I think it is more explicit, besides it was the name that intuitively came to my mind - even before I had read the last sentence of your posting Smile

BTW: Your, and your fellow developers hard work is very much appreciated. Thanks!

OFF TOPIC, and JFYI: Insecure password warning in Firefox (when logging in at PA.c).
Please see: https://support.mozilla.org/t5/Protect-your-privacy/Insecure-password-wa...

John T. Haller
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Not SSL

That's just because we don't use SSL yet. It requires setting it up on 5 different servers/accounts, most of which don't support Let's Encrypt. Soon, though.

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RaphaelRB
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The idea of two or three

The idea of two or three folders (including a non PAF folder) is still on hold? Or it has been deprecated already?

RaphaelRB - Brazil

Samuel Elstein
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Maybe allow it as a configureable option

I think it would be a good idea, but only if as a configurable option. Maybe a list of directories that can be whitelisted or blacklisted for subdirectory scanning, as well as a simple checkbox for enabling disabling in the platform's options.
I think if implemented, it should be off by default, as many users who have many apps in platform like me will most likely have a long wait for apps to be loaded. It might confuse some of the less informed expecting automatic updates if enabled by default.

Also, this could help some advanced users who keep multiple official portable apps to not have to wait to load apps they do not use often by keeping them in separate directories that can be enabled or disabled at a whim, instead of moving them back and forth.

Proud user of Firefox

RogerL
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Probably won't use

I am in the process (at last) of transitioning from ASuite to PAM.

Knowing that the Platform doesn't mind if a non-released-app's root folder name is changed:

I prepended all my Non-PAF apps' root folders with _NonPAF-

and prepended my Dev-Tests' root folders with _DevTest-

Prepended so they are grouped together, the underscore keeps them grouped away from the released apps. DevTest preferred to Unofficial as all mine are DevTests and it's shorter. I am aware that I have to correct the destination folder when installing a Dev test.

PortableApps\_NonPAF-Appname
PortableApps\_DevTest-Appname
PortableApps\Appname

I don't think I will move these to separate folders - it's quite convenient to have them like this all in one folder.

Moon Moon
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I like "Unofficial" and

I like "Unofficial" and "Other" folders.

Moon Moon
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I really need this, please

I really need this, please provide test build

da1k
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Hello,

Hello,

Is your idea with scanning multiple directiories alive? If yes did you think about possibilty to scan two folders e.g X:\PortableApps1 and X:\PortableApps2 (PortableAppsUnofficial and PortableAppsOther are also demanded Smile )? I have a lot of apps installed and all of them including platform I keep in my cloud drive to sync between different computers, but depends on computer sometimes I need only few apps. So it will be great for me to divide apps to two groups, let we say Essential and Extra and keep them in two folders. Than I will only tick (or not) Portableapps2 and my sync will do the rest Smile

thanks

syspsi
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I really need this feature,

I really need this feature, for separate official from unofficial Pac format.
Thanks a lot for your work.

pleiades
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Hello,

Hello,
I think it would be better to support custom directory path and have an option to tell PortableApps.com if the content should be updated, in this way it will be more flexible and simple for users with their own directory.

bgks
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Suggests: PortableAppsManaged, PortableAppsOnUse

The Feature Addition would be completed by:

X:\PortableAppsManaged - Apps in PA.c Format that are managed exclusively using the PortableApps Platform, i.e. don't need to be scanned on startup of the platform, but are remembered by the platform to exist. Benefit: drastically speed up the startup time. Apps in this folder will be stored in the platform's menu. If they got lost because of malicious user behavior, but the user tries to use them while they are missing, the user is asked to remove them from the platform or to reinstall them. Apps in this folder will be checked for updates by the PA.c Update. If they got lost because of malicious user behavior they will (anyway optionally) be restored on the next update of the respective app.

X:\PortableAppsManageOnUse - Apps in PA.c Format that are handled like Apps within the folder PortableAppsManaged, but will not be checked for updates by the PA.c Updater until they are used the first time during a session. Benefit: no updating of apps that are never used. For comfort an additional option to the Apps menu Prepare for Offline Use below Check for Updates would also check all Apps in the folder PortableAppsManageOnUse. Benefit: offline use is prepared easily.

mrharris73
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Multiple Directories (Folders)

I like the idea of "choosing" folders for the platform. First off, I'm a computer tech. I run MULTIPLE operating systems on MULTIPLE computers, tablets, and phones. My client base range from Apple Macintosh to Palm OS. I don't "know" all of my (their) OSes, so, I make multi-boots. With this in mind, I keep some "must-haves" on almost all systems. Some OSes (OS's ?) don't like lots of root folders. Some don't like long names. I keep an external USB drive with my "master set" of apps and programs. My folder structure is as simple as possible; Windows, Linux, Android, etc. Second level is Utils, Portables, etc. You get the idea. Would it be possible to suggest (request) that I could choose my root folder for PortableApps? I'd like to use something like X:\Windows\Repo\PAPS\Installs, X:\Windows\Repo\PAPS\Betas, X:\Windows\Repo\PAPS\Stable. (PAPS=PortableApps Platforms, Repo=Repository) I have to keep different versions of quite a few programs, as my customers don't always update. This is necessary to properly attempt to duplicate a reported issue they may be having. Sometimes, I make specific flash drives for my small business clients I have on maintenance contracts. They have their own set of apps that make up a "standard install" workstation. I know, a bit long for a comment, but I felt my reasoning was necessary for my request.

Simple version:
Can I choose my PAPS root install folder? Can I rename my subs? (installs, betas, stable, lite, full, etc.)

Jestre
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Second this.

Flexibility in naming for all these directories would be preferred with possibly a check box or UI.
Only use x:\PortableApps\ since an update broke one of the apps.
Used x:\#Apps for many years across multiple drive and computers. (FYI files names starting with # appear at the top alphabetically, no scrolling or hunting)
All the apps work fine and update with the PA dir named this with the exception of x:\PortableApps\PortableApps.com.
It worked for years until one update removed the ability to update itself in any other dir.
Jestre

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MunemWp
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I like the idea of a seperate

I like the idea of a separate "Others" folder. Unofficial does not sound good to me.

Smile

ioqbit
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I think this idea is great, I

I think this idea is great, I have the need to manage both official and unofficial applications separately.

I am boring.

Andy Jackson
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Great! What about ability to launch Apps as an Administrator?

I like the idea for separating manually installed portable apps from officially supported ones, but some portable apps require administrator credentials to work. I know you can right-click and launch apps as an Administrator, but it would super helpful to be able to set that up once and than have the freedom to always launch apps using left-click.
I ask for this feature here since, in my mind, it's related to launching unofficial/other apps. If you would rather I posted this request on a different thread than you have permission to move it or let me know what's best.
To be clear, I'm requesting the ability to allow users to permanently set apps that require Administrative rights to always launch that way.

JustHangin
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Has anything come of this?

Has anything come of this? Perhaps the tool could recursively scan its main PortableApps folder rather than requiring flatness? It would make organization so much easier, for all the same reasons as every hierarchy simplifies organization

additional thoughts:

perhaps the subdirectory structure could precisely mirror the category names the user assigns on the platform, if this would simplify implementation.

perhaps an option switch for each discovered app which specifies if this app is to be auto-updated or hand managed by the user? this would seem no more complex that the already existing "Hide" setting. Might be more elegant than the idea of a manages and unmanaged root for portable apps. one can place all his portable apps in the single logical directory hierarchy and simply set whether that app should be auto-updated by the platform or not, so that it wont overwrite versions of apps which the user would prefer to hand-manage

John T. Haller
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Never Planned

The ability to scan sub-directories was never planned. This is just a possible option for official vs dev test vs non-PAF apps.

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

JustHangin
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while unplanned, might i

while unplanned, might i request you consider these options? they would seem a considerable convenience for users. But perhaps there are technical reasons which would make these proposals most difficult. What might they be? It just strikes me that were this not the case, then allowing a hierarchical structure would add all the same benefit that it does in every users home directory, or mail program...rather than having a single directory with perhaps 200 apps in it and in time losing track of what one has an why when not otherwise using the platform interface

John T. Haller
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Majority Platform, Little Reason, Time and Energy

The majority of users use the PA.c Platform. Over 75%. And it lets you explore directly to any app's directory with a right-click. Whether using the platform or not, there's not much reason to regularly explore to the actual app directories. That's the point of using something to launch your apps. If you manually launch your apps in Explorer, then there's not much reason for the platform, and you can arrange them as you'd like. The installers won't automatically find the sub-directories the way they will something installed to X:\PortableApps\AppName, of course.

Windows itself is moving away from all organization by folders. Windows 11 just presents your apps in a single flat list now even in the menu. Just like folks are used to on phones.

Adding the complexity of deeper searches to both the platform and the updater for a little-used feature that wouldn't even be exposed to most users other than those who manually move their apps around isn't something I am interested in pursuing with all the other functionality still to be created and supported. If someone else wanted to and to commit to supporting it for a minimum of 5 years, it could be considered.

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

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Maybe it's better to give the user complete freedom in choosing

That is, expect a configuration file in the same location and with the same name, but with the "ini" extension. In which the user will be able to explicitly indicate the directories he needs for all three types of PAF, and even several for each type.

Also want to suggest in this configuration file to allow the user to specify the location of the "TempForPortableApps" directory. And, if possible, then dirs "Documents", "Music", "Pictures", "Videos", of course, relative to the start file.

And for example, specify additional variables from it for this process, which, accordingly, will be passed to all launched PAFs.

And since we're talking about names, would like to be able to rename "Start.exe" into a more suitable name, albeit a template one from a list of possible names prepared in advance, for example "Portable.exe". Yes, I can just rename it, but the next platform update will ignore the new file.

nothingness
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Has it been updated?

I found this article was posted in 2017, but I don't see the option for the multiple directories option. Is it still under development?

QTN
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My Log Screen Opinion

If similar opinion posted before i am sorry i cant see, my opinion for installing page, i think we can add a small real time log page and %xyz text, we can see program progress running succesful and with no problem, because i am think program get stopped or get bugged or get issue because i cant see any signal for progress running succesful.

{QTN}

bgks
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Regard Start-up Time, please!

It's great to emphasize as a bonus value of the PortableApps-Platform, or let's say, the PortableApps App Store to keep the portable Apps proactively up to date -- neither utilizing a wild bunch of autostart-crap and phoning home connections, nor having an out of date App when needing it in a situation that not allows an update.

I had quite some portable apps integrated into the :\PortableApps tree, so they showed up in the PortableApp-Platform's launcher menu.

This had a sigificiant impact onto the laucher's start-up time.

I don't think that the start-up time was so bad because of update requests, but simply because of searching through the directories.

So I sorted them out into a directory PortableApps.Unmanaged. Since that time most of my PortableApps.Unmanaged-Stuff became obsolete, anyway. The prime father of a portable app is a standalone command to be run from a command shell, by the way Wink An example for a portable app of this kind gives a systernals.lnk with the target «%CMD% /S /D /K cd /D P:\PortableApps.Unmanaged\systernals && dir *.exe /W/D && path=%cd%;%path%».

tomts
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Dynamically mount a second logical portable disk...

Hi,
I have been using Portable applications for 15 years without installing a PA platform. The advantage is to use applications from 2 disks (unencrypted + encrypted through Veracrypt) using WIN links (eg as logical disks "k:" and "x:" ) and that I need only a few applications on the encrypted disk (eg Thunderbird)...

I tried to install a PA platform, where the great advantage is automatic updating and the possibility of integrating third applications (such as Total Commander) and that I do not need WIN links (unfortunately Windows does not know variable mapping in .lnk files located on removable disks) for fast access. Start.exe can do all this.

However, if I have most portable applications on an unencrypted disk (eg "k:" ) and some on an encrypted disk (eg "x:" ), I have to go through a complex procedure through a double installation of the PA platform. First run start.exe on disk k: and run Veracrypt and open the encrypted disk "x:" (container-file on the same portable disk k:) and run the second installation of start.exe on it (on "x:" ), which knows only its applications there, installed on the encrypted disk "x:" ...

It would suit me if the PA platform could dynamically mount a second logical portable disk, on which there would be only the installation of several portable applications (but without the second installation of the PA). And ideally, if she could update them as well...

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