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Grasping at straws here...

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Bruce Pascoe
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Grasping at straws here...

Okay, well since there are no official PAF specs and the unofficial ones carry "don't use this" status, I figure I'll ask a different way: what do I have to do to my app if I wanted to release it on PA.com now?

I mean, if there's no specs and we're not supposed to use the unofficial ones, how is anyone supposed to release anything?

ZachHudock
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Best I can say is look at an

Best I can say is look at an existing official app, preferrably one that was recently released (try PeaZip, GnuCash, PDFTK Builder, or TaskCoach) to see what the directory structure should be, and to see all the needed files. here are expanded views of the dir structure that lists the files.

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Travis Carrico
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yep, just start with an

yep, just start with an official app (mby look at multiple ones to find one that may match your needs better), then modify everything to be specific to your app, then release it, then get Patrick to gripe at you about everything that's wrong, then fix it. Smile

LOGAN-Portable
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Currently reverse

Currently reverse engineering existing installed / launcher scripts seems to be the suggested way of creating installer / launchers. Also existing apps are pointers to the folder structure. Other posts / pages offer information on 'how to make a portable app' though everything seems a bit scattered around.

Besides the pure technical parts of making a launcher the biggest problem is the portabilization itself. The app has to be prepared in such a way it doesn't leave any folders and registry entries behind, and stores it's settings in the Data\settings folder. This part is the biggest problem of the whole process and needs to be handled correct.

Also important is the folder lay out and compression. For the folder lay out refer to the existing apps and the unofficial specs. For compression refer to the PortableApps compression kit available in the beta forums.

A true full featured manual on how to make a portable app (including specs) has yet to appear, but this site gives a few pages with generic information.

I made a small info texts myself, with steps for producing a portable app for personal use but that doesn't cover the actual steps to make an app portable as it differs on a per app basis.

Sometimes I feel there should be an (unofficial) community driven wiki covering many aspects of making an application portable improving as we go along. Sadly I think this method of gathering information will not be appreciated by everybody because of the announced official documentation. Wether this documentation will be for the current of a next version of the PortableApps platform is currently unknown although hist have been given it will cover the next incarnation.

This leaves current new developers a bit in the dark, and almost points to a trail and error method to start creating a portable app. Lucky for us all there are many developers willing to lend a helping hand.

I'm sure community driven documentation could be as good as any official documentation and therefore I hope PortableApps.com will back any community effort in that direction. If we make that effort available under the creative commens license it can be used and reproduced by all interested.

Ryan McCue
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It's not that you can't use them

It's not that you can use them because they are unofficial, it's that they are unofficial and as such aren't supported. They are still 100% accurate though Smile

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Bruce Pascoe
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Icon formats

Quick question about icon formats: I know XP and 256-color icons are required, but would it be okay to add formats, e.g. Vista 256x256 icons? I've seen no mention anywhere of whether that would be okay or not...

John Bentley
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The only issue is disc

The only issue is disc space. I don't think John likes them though.

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Patrick Patience
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Lol

He was gonna remove the 48's a while back until I convinced him otherwise. Blum

ZachHudock
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THANK YOU

THANK YOU Smile

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Patrick Patience
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Lol

Yea, it looked ridiculous to save a few KB. Blum

ZachHudock
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right

right

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ZachHudock
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I like the vista format

I like the vista format cause it provides some nice, high-quality images that can be used for a website/splash screen, i think it would be fine to use for the main app, but the launcher should be limited to the documented sizes and formats.

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Bruce Pascoe
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The issue

The issue for me is polish. Switch to large icons in Explorer and the current PAF launchers look outdated, like they were designed for XP and just happen to run on Vista. It's the same as looking at a "designed for XP" executable and seeing an ugly upscaled 32x32 icon in Tiles mode. It's a really jarring experience. Sad

ZachHudock
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I know what you mean. The

I know what you mean. The vista format increases icon size, and therefor resulting launcher size by quite a bit, we'll wait for John to give his thoughts on this.

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LOGAN-Portable
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Launchers are normally used

Launchers are normally used by the menu. That means users don't usually see the launcher's icons in explorer. As it is like that these 256x256 pixel icons would be useless and only making launchers bigger.

On a side note... I even thought about using 16 color icons for use in systems using 256 colors.. but it seems hardly no one uses 256 colors (besides maybe save mode).

Bruce Pascoe
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...

I thought the purpose of the 256x256 icons was for DPI independence. If you set the DPI higher in Windows, icons get scaled accordingly. The high-res icons were implemented in Vista with the prediction that displays would eventually have ~300dpi resolution. A standard 16x16 icon (as used in PAM) scaled to 300dpi is 50x50, which is already past 48x48...

LOGAN-Portable
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You seem to forget the menu

You seem to forget the menu shows 32x32 icons. So normally interaction from the user goes through the menu. As long the menu is not DPI independent using large icons only make the launchers bigger. Also bigger icons makes bigger (and slower) launchers.

ZachHudock
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not everybody uses the/a

not everybody uses the/a menu, but yeah, adding the 256x to the launcher will increase size by quite a bit. I see no issue in including a 256x in the base app though

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rab040ma
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John has said what format he

John has said what format he wants, so that's what we try to implement. We can argue, cajole, provide information, but ultimately it's his spec. If he wants 256x256, we'll make it happen.

MC

Bruce Pascoe
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...

That was my point in asking, though. I see all over what icon formats we MUST use, but there's no documentation on what we SHOULDN'T use. All the PAF guidelines in existence say "make sure you have these icon formats" but nowhere do they say "but nothing else."

Patrick Patience
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I Say Only

I normally say only those formats. Smile And from my point of view, 256s are ridiculous, 128 is more understandable, but 256 seems a little over the top.

Bruce Pascoe
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Not really over the top

Vista was designed with the idea of DPI independence (in fact, I seem to remember that Vista icons were originally going to be vector, but that was dropped, sadly :() and since 48x48 is the default icon size in Vista, 256x256 actually makes sense. 48x48@96dpi upscaled to 300dpi is 150x150--already past what a 128x128 icon can represent. 256x256 lets you go all the way up to 500dpi without losing icon quality.

Obviously I'm no longer arguing for using such an icon in my launcher--I have no problem leaving it out if it's not wanted--just trying to refute your point about it being "ridiculous" (remember, there was a time when the idea of more than 640k of RAM was considered ridiculous!).

BuddhaChu
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tangible numbers

Everyone is droning on about Vista icons making everything "much larger". Give us some tangible numbers like "the appicon.ico file went from 22KB to xxxKB when I added a Vista icon to it".

I don't have Vista to try this out on my own. Use the @icon sushi program to add the icon to a pre-existing appicon.ico to see the size increase and let us know.

http://cubegames.net/development/pre-deployment_checklist#portableapp_icons

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Bruce Pascoe
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...

The icon for my game, Spectacles, has four formats: 256x256 XP (PNG compressed), 48x48 XP, 32x32 XP, and 16x16 XP. The .ico file weighs in at 61k. Removing the Vista icon brings it down to 15k. That comes to ~46 for the Vista icon, which isn't really that huge.

Typical Vista-ready icons have two 256x256 formats: XP and 256-color (God knows why; neither Vista nor XP will even let you SELECT 256 color, and XP icons work just fine--alpha channel and all--in 16-bit mode), and considering a 256-color image is only a quarter the size (8 bits versus 32), that comes out to ~30k if you take dithering into account (dithered images don't tend to compress well). That's ~76k total for my icon. A respectable amount, but not ABSOLUTELY HUGE like everyone seems to think it is.

I've personally never seen a Vista-ready .ico that's more than around 250k, and that includes other formats.

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