PortableApps.com Platform 11.0 Beta 1 Released: Keyboard Navigation, Advanced Menu and App Store Options

John T. Haller's picture
Submitted by John T. Haller on September 20, 2012 - 9:31pm

PortableApps.com is proud to announce the PortableApps.com Platform Version 11.0 Beta 1 (codename: Curiosity) test release. This release adds keyboard navigation support to the PortableApps.com Menu, incremental platform updates and several advanced options. It's intended for testers, advanced users and translators to get things in shape before the stable release. If you'd like to see more features and functionality keep coming, please donate to PortableApps.com to help. It's never been more important. The new beta platform releases is available for immediate download. Read on for all the details...(permalink)

Existing users can automatically update by clicking Manage Apps - Check for Updates if they've turned on the beta channel in Advanced Options

New in 11.0 Beta 1

This new beta release's biggest feature is keyboard navigation and screenreader compatibility in the PortableApps.com Menu itself. This is the key feature we're testing in the first beta. (Partial compatibility in the updater and app store will be replaced by full compatibility in Beta 2.) Incremental platform updates have been added as well, which means we'll be able to do small patch updates for each new platform beta and subsequent stable release (quick to download, quick to install, with just the files that changed). Some advanced options were added as well including: The ability to show installed apps in the app store, hide desktop icons within Advanced options, bold favorites, and collapse other categories when you select one were also added. Several bug fixes were made. Translations for Polish, Slovenian and Brazilian Portuguese were updated as well. Read the PortableApps.com Platform Changelog for the full list of features and fixes.

11.0 Beta Roadmap

We'll be releasing a new beta with additional functionality and fixes every 2 to 3 days on average going forward, which will be quick and painless to users thanks to the new incremental platform update support. Planned features for 11.0 and 12.0 over the coming weeks include integrated file associations (instead of needing an add-on set to auto-start with the platform), retention of app installers, customization of platform folders, new automation functionality, search enhancements, speed improvements and lots more. We're debating between a longer 11.0 beta with all the features and splitting it into an 11 and 12 release with 11.0 stable done within a week or two to get more features out and 'stable' faster and then immediately releasing a 12.0 Beta 1 the same way we released 11.0 Beta 1 right after 10.2 stable. Turn on the beta channel in the PortableApps.com Platform Advanced Options window or watch our RSS feed, Twitter, Facebook or Google+ accounts to be notified. And please donate to PortableApps.com or sponsor the PortableApps.com Platform to help us keep bringing you more great software for free!

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Discussing The Release, Enhancements and Bug Reports

As there is much to discuss with this new release, we've separated out a few forum threads for discussing:

Download Today

You can download the new beta version of the PortableApps.com Platform from the PortableApps.com Platform Beta Download Page. Get it today!

Got a bug report or feature request? Visit the PortableApps.com Platform Bug Report and Feature Request Tracker.

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Very nice! "collapse other categories when you select one" - been waiting for this for a while now, glad it is finally here.

Hopefully icon caching - which is the thing I've been waiting on the most - is not far away (startup of the platform is pitifully slow on my flash drive, I expect the icon caching will take care of that).

I used to have a sig...until one of the mods ate it

John T. Haller's picture

It's partially complete in an internal build. Icon caching will only really speed things up if you have lots of non-PAF apps, since their icons need to be extracted from an EXE wherease PAF apps it's just reading in an ICO/PNG file. If you're using lots of PAF apps, the app info cache will help you, which will cache the apps you have installed and all their details from appinfo.ini in a single location for the platform.

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

Ah - then it is the app info cache that I will want. Most of my apps are PAF. I think there are only about 4 that aren't, which leaves 50 something as PAF.

It's mostly only slow on the first start-up of the platform each time I plug the drive in and launch the menu. After that, it is usually pretty quick (until I remove the drive and then later plug it in again of course) - though if I leave the drive plugged in for a while, use my PC for lots of high memory using stuff and then launch the menu again after that, it returns to being slow. Guess it moves the info that it caches on first run out of memory and has to load it all again.

I used to have a sig...until one of the mods ate it

Keyboard navigation is great, as I now can use the cursor-keys to navigate after I have searched for a program.

I love the new option for closing folders when selecting another, I always found that annoying.

The option to show installed apps in the AppStore is good too, perhaps an option to make these Bold though so they stick out a little better?

Thanks for the new version Wink

Live for an ideal and leave no place in the mind for anything else.

John T. Haller's picture

The component doesn't support bold or italic. We'd likely use gray as they should be less noticeable than the available apps, which is what you're there to interact with. You can tell which are installed by the greyed out pre-checked checkbox as well as the fact that download and install size are blank.

Glad you like the new version Smile

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

Incremental platform updates:

How do we know this is working. Maybe a summary log that tell us how much we save. I just run an update and it didn't seem any of my app download faster. It look like all of them download the full version.

Or icon letting you know that you downloading a compact version.

John T. Haller's picture

Incremental app updates were described in the 10.2 release and only apply to specific instances where patches are necessary:

Incremental platform updates will work much the same way, saving on needing to re-download the platform graphics (themes, etc) and app icons for the app store. They begin with 11.0 Beta 1, which means that only releases AFTER now will be incremental (you were updating your platform from 10.2 or 10.1.x which didn't support incremental updates). They will save a bit on bandwidth but save a lot more on install time on flash drives as each write has a certain overhead and we'll be avoiding a few hundred of them.

There won't be any icon indicating a compact update. You'll be able to tell when you get an incremental by download size. For example, if you had LibreOffice 3.6.1 installed and ran the updater in 10.2 (or 11.0 Beta 1), you'd be presented with a 9MB download instead of a 120MB+ download. The same will occur when we post the Sauerbraten update which will be 1-2MB instead of 440MB. In terms of the platform, a normal download is about 3MB, incremental updates will be about 1MB.

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

I am using the last beta built.

I was talking about updating the apps when you check for updates using the latest beta built. I was updating about 10 apps and it seem that all of them were updating with a full download. So the Incremental up only work with app that support it?

So when you check for updates and it list the size at 30 MB. That is the size it will download or will it download a smaller amount because of the Incremental updating? Or will it list the update size. So 30 MB becomes 5 MB for example?

If only support apps work with Incremental updating doesn't it make since to let people know that this app is updating using Incremental updating when they are selecting which app to update from the list?


John T. Haller's picture

Again, incremental apps works the same for 10.2 and 11.0 Beta 1. 11.0 Beta 1 only introduces PLATFORM incremental updates and you're commenting in the thread for this release. Incremental app updates work exactly the same in 10.2 and 11.0 Beta 1. As explained in the comment above I linked to, incremental updates generally only affect apps that are patched between versions, like a Revision 2, not new versions of the apps themselves. Or the release of LibreOffice (basically 3.6.1 Rev 2 but they require different version numbers for their servers). It is NOT used for normal app releases as nearly all files change, making an incremental update of only the changed files pointless.

You will notice a difference in file download size and install time in actual use. There's no reason to have an extra indicator of partial versus full update to the end user because it doesn't matter. The user is updating to LibreOffice Portable and the download size is 9MB as indicated in the updater, since they are currently running 3.6.1 and doing an update (and they get the incremental patch update). If the user were upgrading from 3.5.x, they'd get a 120MB download (the full update) and the updater would say that. So, yes, the updater tells you the proper size for every update you are doing (incremental or full), it all happens automatically, and there's no reason for any extra indicator because it's just extraneous information.

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

John T. Haller's picture

Hey gang. I've posted a question for everyone in the forums I'd like your feedback on: Faster 11.0 release and then a 12.0 release to get more features 'stable' faster or longer 11.0 beta? (Same overall timeframe). It concerns the timeframes and rollout of new features and we'd love your input. Please give it a read and post your thoughts there. Thanks!

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