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Steve Lamerton
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Application Launchers

Hey all!

As I can see it there are four launchers in various stages of production at the moment which all have there own strengths.

Libertà - Many modules (Backup, Restore, Log, Sync, Auto Update, Reg Wrapping...)
Johns Menu - Compact on screen size, ease of use
Rene's App - One seriously nice (skin-able) look!
START - Small and compact size, easy to use

All of these features are SERIOUSLY impressive. Therefore I propose this…

We gather them all together in one new app.

- Its main screen is Rene's app
- It has the modules I have written
- When it is minimised the right click menu is Johns App

I also think it should have two versions. Full and Lite
Full - The app described above
Lite - A mixture of Johns and START, just a plain launcher without any feaures

If you like it could you all mail me the code and I'll split up the integration jobs between us.

We will also need a name. Any views?

Bruce Pascoe
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...

I say don't change the name and just stick to calling it Libertà. I don't think you'll find a much better name than that for a portable apps menu.

Deuce
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I say...

You leave it as Libertà. I think that sounds good.

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rene
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Current Features of Launchpad

Glad to see that most people like my skinable launchpad !
I have no set idea yet about how we could merge our efforts, basically the technology we used will for a large part determine that.
I'll just summerize the current features and things that I think need to be considered.

So to start of with the current Features of Launchpad:

  • Clicking an app in the list will run the app.
  • Launchpad is supposed to be stored along side the portable applications on your usb stick.
  • Skin has to contain the list of all apps.
  • Listbox is hot selectable and translucent.
  • No taskbar icon, that is going to be a separate (50KB) app (PortableAutostart)
  • Source is C++, wxWidgets-2.6.3 so MacOSX and Linux versions are possibilities.
  • GPL license
  • Note that wxWidgets apps with this much eye candy get rather big, 700KB upx-ed and 2MB fully expanded.

Planned Features of Launchpad

  • Change the skin into a template that gets expanded with apps actually present on the stick
  • Device remove button (Catch 22) running an app from the stick will prevent the stick from being removed so I'll need to work around that.
  • Allow configuration of the list of apps and whether apps should be autostarted on stick insertion.
  • Allow automatic running of autostart apps when called with -autostart commandline parameter.
  • External resources, i.e. read the actual skin from files on the usb stick

PortableAutostart app (50KB) that

  • Can optionally be installed on a PC to monitor stick insertion/removal and support autostart functionality for everybody without Windows XP.
  • Puts an icon into the taskbar for every stick with a startmenu/launchpad (takes icon from the exe)
  • Runs the launchpad/startmenu app on stick insertion with -autostart commandline parameter to start autostart portableapps.
  • Runs the startmenu/launchpad when taskbar icon is clicked.

Skinning:
I'm using the light-weight HTML control provided by wxWidgets to skin my GUI.
All HTML bitmaps and icons are stored inside the exe as resources.

Steve Lamerton
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Thats great. I now know

Thats great. I now know enough C++ wxWidgets to definately integrate Libertà and your launch pad if you want to e-mail me the code. If you send me you Sourceforge username or set one up I'll add you to the project. Are you in John?

Yours

Steve Lamerton

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John T. Haller
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Thoughts and Current Features

PortableApps Menu is just about at alpha stage. I'm releasing it with the next version of the Suite. I'll give a breakdown of the current feature-set, all of which are implemented and working:

  • Clicking an app launches the app
  • Stored alongside the apps in its own directory within the PortableApps directory
  • Automatically launches when drive inserted into Windows XP SP2 systems
  • Ability to disable auto-launch
  • Stub launcher in drive root directory for easy launching on non-WinXP SP2 systems
  • System tray icon: click it to show menu, click off menu to hide
  • Backup/Restore of apps, data or both based on the new directory layouts
  • Sync to local machine settings (Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice.org and Gaim)
  • Skinnable (menu side graphic, background, fonts, etc)
  • Eject brings up removable device manager
  • License a combination of some public domain code and my own original GPL code
  • Delphi and NSIS
  • Under 500k

I think there should only be a single menu and it should be either entirely tray-based or have a dockable piece that it slides out of (perhaps similar to Ceedo). Having two versions is just asking for confusion. And having a persistent window isn't very user-friendly. I also think having two different menus... one right-click on minimized one when restored... is confusing as well. A single complete menu is the best end-user experience, IMHO.

I also don't think registry rapper inclusion is a good idea... at least in its current incarnation. Prompting to do a wrap is not end-user friendly... most end-users don't even know what the registry is. Each app should be analyzed and a custom launcher that automatically backs up and restores each necessary key is a much better option. It is more work in terms of development, but it is much more end-user friendly. (Side note: For apps that will be listed in the apps directory here, modifying keys on a foreign system in a launcher and not restoring them when the app closes is a complete no-no.)

As for naming, sorry to say, but, I'm honestly not very partial to Liberta. The name will likely get a bit lost. There are currently 12 million hits on google for the word. And noone knows how to type the accented a. Plus, as for applicability, we're really just making a menu with some handy features (backup/restore, sync, etc). If it were more like enabling any app to be portable, the name might be more appropo.

PortableApps Menu is just a working title. I hadn't figured out what I was gonna call it.

Any other thoughts, ideas, suggestions, criticisms, food to throw?

Regards,
John

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

Bruce Pascoe
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...

"à": ALT+0224 (using the number pad).

Google seems to ignore accent marks, however. Or at least weighs them very lightly. I can search for "màggie" and get the nearly the same results as if I searched for "maggie".

John T. Haller
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hehe

Well, *I* know how... granted, I had to look it up when Steve first asked for a Libertà project page Smile ... but I mean most people won't know. And, you're correct, Google does ignore accents, at least on its English pages. Anyone know about other languages?

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

rene
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See where you are going

Well I can see now where you are going with this.

I think there isn't much of a point trying to integrate Delphi VCL and C++ wxWidgets code (I'm one of the initial developers of the ModelMaker case tool for Delphi, so I grok Delphi pretty well.)

> And having a persistent window isn't very user-friendly.
Well it is persistent because I want to be able to debug it, I actually have code flagged that'll close the window when another application becomes activate, just like a normal menu Smile

I think that having a separate app for the trayicon that launches the more heavyweight Menu is a good thing but I guess when you steer clear of the glut that is called U3 (12MB peak memory for a menu app for crying out loud) you'll be fine.

Deuce
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Registry Rapper 1.8 does this...

The current version of Registry Rapper, uses the terms in the INI file, usually just the name of the app and the name of the exe to find and backup/restore local settings, then backup/restore the stored portable settings on the machine. This is built into its code.

Take a look into the code for registry rapper if you need more info. I am also working on appending keys to the reg file, so a program can have more the one key in the registry.

In the future the program will also automatically create the ini for the user. Effectively removing user interaction. But I also do not think asking the user to fill in two spots in an INI file is a bad thing. There is no user interface for Registry rRpper either. It is fill in those two spots and run the launcher.

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nm35
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Or...

You could write a GUI in NSIS that will ask for those two variables and generate the INI file for you. (For ultra-lazybutts or bored developers.)

~nm35 {blog} {personal space}

Ryan McCue
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Well mine is full NSIS

Ill type up the features later.
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Steve Lamerton
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I have an interface for Reg

I have an interface for Reg Rapper that needs only simple interaction. It also means that there is only one copy of Rap.exe and the programs can bve anywhere you like relative to the drive letter.

Yours

Steve Lamerton

Developer Profile Sync & PortaLog

Deuce
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Can you send me a copy.....

or a screenshot of the interface, Steve?

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jdunning
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Suggestions...

Although I am not a fan of it's reliance on MS applications on the host computer, as vain as it sounds, I was tempted to jump ship to Ceedo based on the menu.

1. As you mentioned in your proposed feature-set, a Autorun/autodetect function should be a priority.

2. It should not be so, but "sexiness" sells. The familiar Windows Start Menu look of Ceedo just look right. How about you get a jump ahead and borrow graphic design cues from Longhorn?

3. Like Windows, Ceedo provides quick links to recent programs launched. A very user friendly feature.

I'm not much of a programmer these days, but would be happy to lend a hand any other way if needed.

Jeff

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Autorun

I have an autorun.inf for PStart right on the PStart page:
https://portableapps.com/apps/utilities/application_menus/pstart

As with Ceedo, this will only autorun on Windows XP SP2.

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

jdunning
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Autorun *and* Autodetect

Thanks for the response (and all the hard work) John.

I've tried the inf file to launch PStart from a USB on each of my 3 WinXP SP2 machines without success. The Ceedo autostart appears to only work because of the autodetect applet it puts on the host machine. (It will not launch automatically either if autodetect is not enabled on the host.)

Jeff

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Autodetect very limited

Ceedo's autodetect is very limited. You have to be able to install it on every PC you use (it requires admin rights).

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

Ronil
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File Associations

Hey Guys,

I have been using portable applications now for quite some time and have to say you guys rock!!

One functionality that is available in PSTART is adding folders (like shortcuts). This is great for accessing my documents on the USB drive. Any way that I can set the files to open with a preset program? So that when I select an excel worksheet it automatically loads with Open office from my key?

If not maybe that might be something that you can add into your launcher. Something simple though, for example any folders you have placed in the application menu automatically populate when the launcher starts, and gets all file names and places them in a sub folder of the menu. And also in the settings save common associations such that if a file is clicked that has an associate the corresponding portable app is launched!

Ron

nm35
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Not likely...

If you use the search function, you'll find many, many posts on the subject. It's not easy, and there are quite a few problems involved.

~nm35 {blog} {personal space}

Deuce
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File Associations

Can be done, but has risks and problems. Such as the user rights and possible crashes. As stated above take a glance using search and you'll see what I mean.

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Deuce
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Ronil
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File Association

Hi Guys,

No doubt it isn't easy, but I'll give an example, I use Firefox and Utorrent, so whenever I choose a torrent Utorrent is set as the default to download it with. When I move computers, all hell breaks loose since the program does want to look for utorrent at the same location as I originally set but the drive letters change.

Now I don't want to use explorer to scroll over into my files but what if we could create a program launcher that would replace explorer. Then it wouldn't be set with the registry, just with the program which programs are associated with which files..

ie -have a directory call my documents
- when the launcher loads it checks that directory and places all the files into a dropdown box or group(in pstart)
- When you select a file cascaded in that area of the launcher the launcher first checks its own association table to see if the file is recognized, if not then it will open using whatever the windows registry uses

I understand total file associations are difficult but is this as difficult?

Ron

Ryan McCue
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Hmm

Well, file associations are difficult *cough*liars*cough* but making a program launcher is sorta what PortaShell is like. Assuming Mark hasn't sacked it. (OMG! I used his real name for once)
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R McCue

"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate."

Deuce
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huh.

Liars??!! Sad rmmcue, I never said it was really difficult or can't be done, I said, it can be done, but has its problems. The main one of which is User Rights. No power User or Admin rights, it will not work. You cannot get around that, no matter how hard you try.It you cannot control the pc, you can not do anything with file assoications since they are located in the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, which is locked down to only admins and power users.

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Portable Software: Just the beginning.

Deuce
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Ryan McCue
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Ah

I thought someone said it was difficult to program.
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nm35
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Well...

This was the original reason for PortaShell. I haven't sacked it (or PortaFTP, or any of my other projects), but I simply don't know enough advanced NSIS for it.

At the moment, I'm going to try and base PortaShell on xoblite or another GPL'd shell. Don't know anything about xoblite or any other shells, though, which means you shouldn't expect too much that soon. If someone could recommend a shell that does everything needed, and told me what needed "portable-izing" about it and how settings are stored, I might be able to cook something up.

rmccue, how about you start scouting? Put that PSP to good use! Wink (By the way... What's so "OMG-ish" about using my real name?)

~nm35 {blog} {site}
Mark Smith | PortableApps.com Developer

Ryan McCue
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Scouting?

For what? (Its OMG-ish since you dont call me by my first name)
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nm35
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...

For a good shell.

What is your first name?

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Mark Smith | PortableApps.com Developer

Ryan McCue
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Wha?

I have mentioned it a lot.
It's Ryan.
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nm35
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Good to know...

Thanks.

/me files this piece of knowledge away into a dusty file cabinet
*cough* *cough*

~nm35 {blog} {site}
Mark Smith | PortableApps.com Developer

oyster
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I am confused. Is there some

I am confused. Is there some sumurize in detail?
for example, a software puts some data in c:\Documents and Settings\$username$\Application Data\, so which app can help me to make it portable by put everthing in the same fold of the software?

Ryan McCue
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None

we are talking about programs that run the portable ones.
For what you want, use QuickPort NSIS Template or UniLaunch
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R McCue

"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate."

naos
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Don't Change

Liberta is simply so perfect a name that I cannot believe it will be worth change it, instead use a sequential number for the versions as it will came available. It will be better for my opinion.
naos

Ryan McCue
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WTF?

What? Does it really matter?
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"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate."

Nerd
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IN NEED A DOWNLOAD LINK FOR

IN NEED A DOWNLOAD LINK FOR Libertà

Lurking_Biohazard
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Don't be lazy.

~Lurk~

naos
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name?

It could have several name, but I guess something as "fireliberty" or "gofree" it will do.
Naos

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