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solanus's picture
Last seen: 9 years 1 month ago
Joined: 2006-01-21 19:12

I've tried my hand at developing full-fledged apps, with mixed success; I started DeskSkin, but stopped developing it because I found a far superior solution in my mind (Toolbox), and for Hugin Portable, I'm struggling with the PAL while waiting for a Windows build of their latest rev.
In the meantime, I've worked out some small tricks that I use to enhance the Platform, based on the extremely flexible ini approach of the PortableApps Format. I'm calling them MiniApps.

If you configure your appinfo.ini correctly, you can launch some native windows functions (like batch files, hta applications, vbs scripts, explorer, etc) that are simple and don't write data to the registry or file system.
There's really no need at all for an exe file in these cases.
For instance, while the Platform does not allow modification of the folder paths for the icons on the right, I found a simple way of putting shortcuts to folders on the left among the apps.
I've also made a batch file that can launch multiple apps simultaneously from a single icon, for example Firefox and Thunderbird. (QuickLaunch)
The last thing I just made is an HTA app that presents a splash screen, that I intend to use as a branding tool when I run my next workshop. (MySplash)

None of these MiniApps have an exe launcher, so the PortableApps Installer packager doesn't know what to do with them. But it's easy enough to use PeaZip to create self-extractors with the .paf.exe extension, and they install just fine.

At the present, I'm just making them and putting them up on my Homepage along with my themes. I don't currently have any intention to putting them through the machine to make them official, but can I still offer them? They are exceedingly simple.

My hope is that some of these will be useful to some people, and that users with low-moderate skills at writing batch files, scripts, and web pages can borrow my approach to make their own MiniApps.

CAVEAT: To be sure, it is possible to make batch files, scripts and HTA apps that write to the registry and file system; those would need to use the PAL to corral them, and at that level of complexity I wouldn't call them MiniApps, they would be full fledged PortableApps.

Comments? Criticisms? Complaints?