Greetings all and welcome to a long overdue PortableApps.com update. Much has been afoot over the last few months, so I thought it time to get things back up to date.
We've had quite a few new apps released by many of our new app developers over the past few months. ConvertAll by Travis, DVDStyler by Zach, Frets on Fire by powerjuce, WinWGet by Patrick, Celestia by Nathan, Stellarium by Kevin, BPBible by Chris, JkDefrag by Travis, Xenon File Manager by John, SpeedCrunch by Patrick and aMSN, Cornice and AppCompactor by me. We've also had updates to nearly all our apps like FileZilla, Firefox, Sunbird, Thunderbird, Sunbird, Task Coach, GnuCash, etc. Big thanks to all the developers for helping make this happen.
Upcoming App Releases
We've got a number of big releases coming up, too, including InkScape, Songbird, XChat, Virtual Volumes View, Assault Cube, XN Resource Editor, HM NIS Edit, NSIS, Money Manager Ex and Blender.
Our biggest next release is, of course, OpenOffice.org Portable 3. We're working more closely with OpenOffice.org on this one so the release is a bit more official. Testing has gone well and we're finalizing the graphics and packaging.
To speed up new releases of apps and to get me out of the loop, we've been setting up a Release Team to watch releases from Development Test to Pre-Release to Release stage. Consulting with our other moderators and developers, we've picked the founding members of the team. They'll be announced and the special mailing list and wiki pages to which they all have access will be set up on the website on Wednesday, November 19th.
Over the next couple weeks, I'll be reaching out to our current translators as well as new ones to setup our official translation team. Members will have access to a custom mailing list for developers to request translations for PortableApps.com Format apps and their own custom pages for supporting their language for the installer, launcher and platform/menu. All will receive credit within the menu and on-site as well.
IRC Moderators and Live Chat
With the assistance of our IRC channel founders, moderators and developers, we've setup a system for our IRC members following Ryan's recommendation. Our forum moderators, developers and power users are now part of the IRC hierarchy and can help give assistance and ensure the channel stays useful.
We've also setup our Support Chat page on the site with directions for configuring Pidgin, Miranda IM and XChat for use on our IRC channel as well as a Live Support Chat page on the site so people can chat with us right in their browser window courtesy of Mibbit.
PortableApps.com Installer and PortableApps.com Format
The PortableApps.com Installer has reached a stable point. From here, I'll be releasing the auto-building that builds installers based on the info in appinfo.ini. This will allow all users and developers to package apps in a PortableApps.com Installer without writing any code. The PortableApps.com Format will be enhanced to utilize the new entries I proposed back in May. This will also mark the advent of multi-lingual installers in our official lineup allowing us to better serve our non-English users. This will be coming out on Monday, November 24th in a test release. This will also mark the debut of outside developers being able to package non-GPL, freeware and commercial software in PortableApps.com Format officially.
Hardware and Software Partners
I've been working hard behind the scenes on a number of partnerships with hardware and commercial software vendors that will allow us to increase the exposure of the platform, increase the amount of software on the platform and ensure the future financial stabilty of our project. I have our contracts completed with our legal counsel that allow them to use our trademarks, etc and I'm currently in negotiations with more than a dozen vendors of flash drives, MP3 players and wireless USB modems. This will allow us to add hosting of non-open source software, additional translations and even allow us to fund development of open source software directly in the near future. I'm flying to California today for some of the negotiations. I'll keep you all appraised of the progress.
Platform/Menu Release Schedule
The new Platform has been a bit behind schedule (mainly due to hardware and software negotiations) but is shaping up nicely. Alpha 1 will be released on
Monday, November 17th Wednesday, November 19th and will contain some of the new features ready for testing like renaming icons, hiding icons, pinning icons to the top or bottom of the menu, full PortableApps.com Format support (faster loading by loading icons directly rather than extract from launchers and enabling us to use a generic launcher for apps), auto-close of running apps on eject, custom icons/names/location for right-hand icons, right-click menu on icons allowing RunAs Admin/Explore/etc, Simple PortableApps.com Theme support (zip files containing PNGs and color defs for all elements) and OEM branding.
Alpha 2 will follow approximately 2 weeks after with more of the new features including categorization (aka folders, both automatic for our apps and custom), auto-detect of ejection, simple password protection (with hiding of folders), Advanced PortableApps.com Format support (menu size and all element positioning allowing different shapes and layouts), TrueCrypt integration, application removal, built-in updater and other features that have been previously discussed.
We've ironed out the issue of processing our bounces from our newsletters and will send out another monthly newsletter following our Alpha 1 release. Also, on Ryan's suggestion, we'll be having community contributed sections of subsequent newsletters where we have guest writers from our developers, moderators and users.
Press and Popularity
We continue to get lots of great press including mentions in lifehacker, Download.com's dispatch newsletter, Channel 9 in Australia, Information Week, Computer World, Wired, various US and international newspapers and other publications. We've surpassed 80 million apps downloaded and are closing in on 100 million. And our website traffic is still head and shoulders above our commercial competitors. Congratulations to all the developers, translators, users and others for helping in our success.
When I return from CA next week we'll be starting our community logo program allowing users to put PortableApps.com banners and buttons on their websites, blogs, emails, forum accounts and other locations online. Eventually, we'll even be tracking references in the same way as SpreadFirefox.com with a leaderboard of those who are referring the most new users.
That's it for now. I'm pretty psyched about what we've been doing and, especially, about what's coming over the next month. Until then, have a good one.
UPDATE (November 16th): I switched the Alpha 1 release from Monday to Tuesday as my flight got canceled on Friday morning and I got stuck in Atlanta when they shut down all NYC airports due to fog, so Friday wound up being a non-work day. Rather than rush it, I'll release it the following day.
UPDATE (November 18th): I'm offline this evening to deal with a family illness. So the release will be tomorrow but probably during the day rather than at night since I only have a few more hours of work left on it.