Aside from categories, which I know y'all are sick of hearing about (and this will be the last mention of them in this topic), here are some ideas I've been tossing around for a future version. By future I don't mean 2.0 or 2.5 or 3.0, I mean... an idealized vision of where I think the platform should be headed. In my opinion, of course.
Be able to configure a proxy setting that all portable apps abide by. A new version of the format will make net-connected apps route through that proxy, and it would be toggleable through the options, perhaps with a GUI "light" that comes on when it's active. Maybe it could support up to X proxies with X number of light colors. For example, when you're at work, it glows green, but when you're at school, it glows blue, and it does this just by you going to Options > Global Proxy > Work (or School, or Home, or None). Perhaps clicking the indicator itself would bring up a quicklist for fast access. Why? Well, not every app's proxy settings are easy to find. Some don't have them, I don't think. If the Platform had it, and all PAF apps were routed to it automagically, this could save a lot of hassle for people on networks. And you want people to use PA on any computer they like, so this would work to add that extra level of accessibility to people on networks.
I know work is being done on a portable file associator, but I think this should be integrated into the Platform. Especially since it's no longer the PortableApps.com Menu but the PortableApps.com Platform. Why? The word Platform means that it goes above and beyond just listing applications, and in fact provides a platform of portability that bridges the portable applications to the operating environment in a way that is familiar to most Windows users (i.e. double-clicking on a document, e.g. a video file, to open that document in its portable handler, e.g. VLC, or CoolPlayer).
We already have a desktop wallpaper changer and an option to hide the desktop. The wallpaper changer has no GUI and is automatic. I suggest merging the features. Under Options, you'd have a new menu called Portable Desktops, and under that, a toggle option to enable/disable Portable Desktop 1, and a Configure link. Portable Desktop 1 could be renamed to whatever you like, a wallpaper of your choice set (this would let the user choose the resolution, for wide vs. 4:3 screens), and shortcuts enabled or disabled. The shortcuts would, of course, be the portable apps as detected by the platform. Additionally, the documents, music, pictures, and video folders, as well as a "My PortableApps.com Drive" which would point to the root. Maybe just that and Documents. And you could rename the former, e.g. to "My USB Flash Drive" but the default would say PortableApps.com. Why? That the wallpaper switcher doesn't have a GUI and is sort of a hidden feature never sat well with the community. The addition of a second, wide wallpaper was a clever hack, but maybe not the most user-friendly. And the option to hide desktop icons doesn't do anything for the user. Sure, it makes it look cleaner, but what does it add to the experience? Not much. Configuring portable desktops would be fun and it would be more useful all around.
Of course, I realize the PortableApps.com Updater will be included in a future version. I just think, at some point, it should strive to be more like Synaptic in Ubuntu and similar updaters. It could optionally run in the background as part of the platform, and periodically check for updates. Another feature would let you browse portable apps by category, or some kind of cleaner interface. It would also install dependencies, which I believe at this point is limited to Portable Java. I mean (for those not familiar with Synaptic), you go to get a Java app, and it tells you "hold up, you don't have Portable Java, download and install that first?" Choosing yes would get Java, and then the app, and cancel would cancel the request immediately. Idiot proof. And finally, the useless uninstaller. While most of us on the forums know that uninstalling an app means deleting the folder and refreshing the menu, not everyone does. And the uninstall can leave the Data directory behind if the user wants. Why? The updater is coming anyway, and if it were modeled more after one of the arguably best features of Linux that Windows hasn't got, well, that would go a long way towards pushing FOSS.
I know cross-platform development is no picnic, but any efforts to make the apps 100% compatible with WINE (and I know many are), or even if native Linux versions of the apps could coexist with the Windows versions, and use the same Data folder. I realize the apps would almost double in size, but I'm not sure you can even get small flash drives anymore. My PortableApps folder is 3GB, but that includes a 2GB FPS. Minus that it's only 674MB. But that's a lot of apps, not all of them PAF either. 2GB drives, more than enough for most people, are ten bucks. 16GB drives are fast approaching the $20 sweet spot. And with the ultra-portable, bus-powered hard drives around $50-$75 for 250-320GB, ones to tens of megabytes are not an issue. As a compromise, Linux compatibility could be optional and/or the aforementioned updater/uninstaller concept could remove Linux compatibility by removing those files. Why? Well, just like people switching to Firefox makes the Net more secure twice, so does people switching to Linux. The "twice" means that first they make themselves more secure, and second, Microsoft makes its own products more secure. Imagine how great Windows 7 would be if the IE 7 effect took place; that is to say, if Microsoft lost 20% of its user base to Linux. I know Microsoft isn't PA.c's enemy, but FOSS is at the heart and soul of everything PA.c does, and Linux is a big part of that. While Linux is no longer the top dog in the open-source world (that honor goes to Firefox), more people using Linux means more people in the open source world. More potential developers, more potential end users, increasing both supply (in theory) and demand (in reality). Why again? The biggest problem with Linux, for myself, and I imagine, a lot of people, is that X Doesn't Work in Linux. My wife, for example, doesn't care what OS I have installed as long as she can go on the Net and play music. Firefox has her covered on Linux, but Mp3 support is shaky in Linux. But if you have VLC Portable, and it's already configured, you're good to go. And with portable file associations, as I mentioned above, it's already set up to play anything you throw at it.
Firefox is a great browser, no two ways about that, but to use the icon and logo, certain requirements must be met. And while it's fine to maintain and offer Firefox to get folks in the door, a PortableApps.com browser could be the best of both worlds. Using the PA.c logo (or one layered over the default, free-to-use globe icon that comes with Firefox) and a custom name, the PA.c dev team would be free to do what they want with it, to make it optimally portable. Updates would be disabled, certain extensions could be included by default, a PA.c theme perhaps, or maybe go the way of K-Meleon and use the Windows APIs to render the toolbars, rather than CSS or whatever. That would speed things up for sure. Then, all kinds of tweaks could be applied to ensure that the Firefox spinoff works best when run from flash drives. Hard drive users will probably still want Firefox itself, but for those of us that know all the spinoffs are Firefox at the core and they all do the same things (albeit from different approachces, at times), we'd be able to use the optimal one. Why? It's no secret flash drives are generally slow. Certain things must be taken into consideration when making software to run on them. Even on Corsairs.
Anyway, those are my big ideas for the Platform. They're not meant to critique existing features or the dev team themselves in any way, shape, or form. Just throwing them out there, feel free to add your own and/or comment these. And... sorry for the wall of text.