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Platform 2.0 App Organization Ideas and Planning

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John T. Haller
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Platform 2.0 App Organization Ideas and Planning

If you've tried the new app organization in 'smart' mode, you may notice that it's not quite what we'd like as a default view. Currently, it lists favorites first. Then all other apps are listed by the number of times they've been run. I'm thinking it may make more sense to sort them by when they were last run instead. Possibly even adding in the ability for an app you just added to filter to the top for a day or so. What do you think?

Simeon
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Ideas

About smart view: I think its good to have them listed by the number of times they were run. Maybe add a button to delete the count. I could say: add all your suggestions to the options-dialogue but thats a bad idea as it would make things too complicated imho.

"What about Love?" - "Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate." - Al Pacino in The Devils Advocate

John T. Haller
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Remove From This List

Windows does that via the "Remove From This List" context menu icon. It resets the run count on apps and makes them fall off its smart list. We could add something similar that is only shown for entries in the smart list.

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

Ken Herbert
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Last run would make more

Last run would make more sense to me, but there may be those who would prefer times run over last run, so it may be worth implementing it in both forms.

And just a suggestion, probably quite a job in recoding it, but hopefully it wouldn't bloat the code too much, but how about modifying the App List Organization section of the Options to allow you to select what view you have in the first screen and what view is in the second, with the following options:

  • Alphabetical
  • By category
  • Last run
  • Most run

With checkboxes for EACH screen to:

  • Show/hide favourites
    • Display favourites as category (thus collapsible)/static
      • Display favourites category first/alphabetical
    • Show/hide favourites in app list (Thus you could have them in a favourites category as well as their original category)
  • Show/hide recent apps
    • Display recent apps as category /static
      • Display recent apps category first/alphabetical
    • Show/hide recent apps in app list

This would give more than enough options to make anyone happy about how their apps are displayed.

the developer formerly known as winterblood

Myp
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Hotkey

At least you should add the boolean flag into the config which will define whether the hotkey has to be registered or not.

procedure TFrmMenu.FormCreate(Sender: TObject);
...
begin
// Put the check here
intHotkey1:=GlobalAddAtom('HotKey1');
bolResult:=RegisterHotKey(Handle, intHotkey1, MOD_ALT+MOD_CONTROL, VK_SPACE);

Though the best solution is moving the hotkey into the config.

Gayan Perera
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Sub Folders

Regarding folders - Is it currently possible to create sub folders, e.g.: Internet > Browsers > Firefox, etc?

Ken Herbert
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No it isn't. Categories are

No it isn't. Categories are just the appinfo.ini category, with PortableAppsMenu.ini as an override, which is where user made categories are stored.

the developer formerly known as winterblood

lordgreggrega
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Not possible right now... but

Not possible right now...
but man, that really is important for trying to organize a large list of apps.

Also remembering the categories that were open last would really help out.

horusofoz
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Search?

I think a view with your favourites listed and a search bar at the bottom such as that found in the Vista/Win 7 Start Menu's would be very useful. Make it search based on app name and description.

PortableApps.com Advocate

gluxon
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I personally think it's

I personally think it's perfect the way it is now. Just because I just ran an app I needed for one quick moment does not mean it should stay up on the smart list until I run 20 or so more apps.

iD
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yepp

yepp

iD

cyanfish
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Frecency

Have you considered a "frecency" algorithm, like the Firefox awesomebar? Mozilla's algorithm is outlined at https://developer.mozilla.org/en/The_Places_frecency_algorithm.

Basically it involves recording the total number of runs and the dates of the last 10 runs, then multiplying the frequency (number of runs) by the recency (average recency score of up to the last 10 recorded runs).

One advantage of this kind of an approach is that (unlike a most-recent list) if you run a bunch of apps, those you use often won't get pushed off the list; but at the same time, apps you ran often a long time ago but haven't touched in ages get a low score (unlike a pure run count).

iD
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drag drop rearrange would be nice...!!!!

drag drop rearrange would be nice...!!!!

i dont need this hokus-pokus abut what i use frequently and so on i need to know where i put it last time that is where i will look for it...
then i find it..;)

iD

saliva
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Isn't "Favorite" created for that purpose?

What I would like is to be able to draw lines or separators (like the one demarcating the "favorite" area from the rest) to create multiple favorite panels. Put it differently, I would like to split favorites into two or more sections.

Also I want to sort favorites by manually dragging. Why must they be sorted alphabetically? I like the category features but please enable the option to toggle on/off the alphabetical feature.

saliva
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Rearrange Manually

It appears that some apps are placed in the wrong group/category. I would like to be able to simply drag-and-drop the application in question from one group to another without having to dig into the ini file.

John T. Haller
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No INI

Just right-click any app, select Category and pick the category you want. You never have to edit an INI to recategorize.

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

saliva
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Awesome. Thanks for the

Awesome. Thanks for the help.

BTW please see my above comment (3 responses up).

saliva
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Missing space between icon and app name

Not sure if this is just me, but all the app names appear at the edge of the icons making them difficult to read. It would be nice if you could add an extra space as shown on the right-side of the platform (eg. My Documents etc.)

http://img835.imageshack.us/img835/9426/pa2r.jpg

John T. Haller
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120dpi

That's due to your computer being set at 120dpi, which doesn't play nice with lots of apps (or even windows itself). We'll have an option for the menu not to rescale in an upcoming releasing making it the proper size and not scaled and messy.

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

vinieux
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My own folders

While waiting for the platform update, I had created my own set of folders with my apps in them. Unfortunately, I cannot use this folder structure as my Categories and it seems I will have to copy out all my apps into the Portableapps folder in the platform and mess up my own categories.

Am I missing something? Is there a way I can use my existing folder structure within the platform?

Aluísio A. S. G.
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Folders != Categories

Keep the default folder structure; use the Platform to set categories.

Previously known as kAlug.

vinieux
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That's the problem

I have about 10 folders with tons of apps within each that I have carefully structured over the past year and a half because the platform wasn't at this level.

So now I have to copy each and every app out of my folders and into the Portableapps.com folder.

1) I have to lose my current folder structure.
2) Viewing in Windows Explorer shows me a mess of apps without any folder structure.
3) I have to redo my synch and backup from scratch

Any solution for this?

John T. Haller
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Never Supported

Putting apps within sub-folders of the PortableApps directory on the drive itself was never supported and, when asked, we always stated that it never would be supported and would break upcoming features. It simply doesn't work with the menu, updater or app directory which are all based on the AppID (Example: SkypePortable) used as the directory name within the PortableApps directory.

As there's generally no reason to be opening up the app folders themselves, having them all under your X:\PortableApps directory isn't a big deal. When you do need to get to them, you can right-click right in the PortableApps.com Menu (on Skype Portable for example) and select Explore Here and it'll take you right to X:\PortableApps\SkypePortable. This means you'll never have to browse through the apps in the X:\PortableApps folder.

My advice is to backup the drive (just to be safe) and then move all your apps to the X:\PortableApps folder and ensure they are all using their standard names (example FirefoxPortable, etc). Then run the updater to ensure they are all up to date. The categories for all PA.c apps will be picked up and displayed automatically. All non-PA.c apps you can then categorize as you wish. You go through this process just once and then all will work automatically from now on.

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

vinieux
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Thank you

Thanks for your reply and for the awesome platform.

I will use the weekend to do just that...

RogerL
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Smart view confusing for me

My preferences:

1. No smart view - I agree with iD (https://portableapps.com/node/28594#comment-180184), I want the position in the list to be constant.

2. Allow seperators

3. Alphabetic sort in separated sections

4. Open submenus when I pause on them with the mouse pointer (Saves all that mouse clicking opening and closing lists)

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Smart View

1. If you want positional consistency, you can set favorites or switch to another view. The default view is designed to help users get to the apps they use more easily over time by learning. The algorithm needs refining, though. And the different views need better explanation to the user.

2. Separators between.... what? Favorites vs the rest of the list show a separator.

3. This is a bug in All by Category view where favorites are not ordered properly. Is that what you mean?

4. I think this would be confusing to many users as it is non-standard when compared to other Windows interfaces. Plus, it's slower than clicking. If others are interested, it could be added as an option, though.

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

RogerL
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Seperators and consistent entry positions

1. I simply want all my menu entries to be in the same place each time I go to them.

2. Separators between groups of apps in a catagory - I have 42 programs in Utilities - not managable to me. I want to be able to order them in sub-groups and put separators between these sub-groups. All Windows Program menus are designed like this, e.g all the menus in Firefox have separators.

4. Hardly non-standard windows interfaces - My XP start menu -> all programs works like this. So do many pull down menus in Windows Apps, e.g. run your mouse pointer down Firefox's Bookmarks menu - on mine the sub-menus appear then disappear.

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A Bit Off Base

We're off-base from the purpose of the thread, but here's the responses:

1. So, pick a selection that allows you to do that. Either All Alpha or all by Category and set your favorites up top. They'll always be where you left them.

2. We don't have the functionality currently to allow arbitrary ordering, which is necessary to support what you want.

4. My Windows 7 menu doesn't. It just sites there when you hover over a folder within All Programs. Same with the folders within Windows Explorer. Firefox's menu is different, it's a drop-down or popup menu which is a different UI paradigm from this. Dropdown/popup/file menus are supposed to show the submenu when you mouse over a bit with an arrow on the right. This is more akin to the modern Windows start menu with folders in it, which has no reaction to hover.

Let's keep this on-topic further. The things you are asking for are enhancements, aka feature requests to support new functionality. Some are planned for later releases in the future (sub-folders, optional arbitrary ordering which disables all alpha functionality), some are not (dividers, hover expansion). The purpose of this thread is to attempt to pick the best view of the 4 we have and to enhance the 'smart' algorithm.

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

RogerL
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Apologies for taking this off-topic

and thanks for taking the time to explain.

Cranston
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General question

Why is there no option to download a complete Portable Apps suite with everything included?

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Coming

Support for this is coming in a later pre-release.

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

solanus
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That would be one big honkin download - besides...

Besides, there's an option that is far better.
Use the Manage Apps>Get More Apps function.
If you REALLY want every single app, you can Select All.
It will then download and install every app one after another.
The total download and install time would be about the same as if you downloaded one big 2.2GB file.

However, I'm assuming that, realistically, you don't want every possible app, but you want something closer to the current Suites that are available for 1.6.1.
Again, you an use the Get More Apps function. The current full suite for 1.6.1 only has 12 apps, that wouldn't take long to select 12 apps.

My preference would be to build the suites into the Get More Apps function, as buttons that would automatically check off the apps to be included in the install.
So, when you fire up Get More Apps, it would have buttons like
Standard Suite
Music Production Suite
Graphic Designer Suite
Developer Suite

Click on the Standard Suite button, it would check those 12 apps. Click on the Graphic Designer Suite, it would check off GIMP, Blender, Inkscape, OpenOffice, Firefox, XnView, etc.
Then you click next to install them.

It makes more sense than to host separate giant files, which in reality are redundant and take up space and DL Bandwidth.

I made this half-pony, half-monkey monster to please you.

Cranston
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reply

you're that would be a better solution.
thanks for the reply!

davidben2001
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I'm using Show All with

I'm using Show All with Categories, and for the most part it's working good. What I didn't like was it sorted my favorites by what category they are in, not alphabetically. Currently the only way to get the favorites to sort alphabetically in that setting is to make a new category and put all the favorites into it.

The smart sorting is rather clunky to use, puts most of my apps on the second page, and appears to fill the first screen with apps I don't use as often.

John T. Haller
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Bug

Favorites not being alphabetical is a bug and will be fixed.

Smart is based on the number of times you have run apps. After first installing 2.0 PR1, they're all at zero, so just alphabetical. As you run them, the order changes. Anything you always want first, set as a favorite.

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

saliva
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We Need Subcategories

Sorry if this has already been requested here or elsewhere.

I notice PortableApps.com offers 5 different subcategories in its Music and Video directory (https://portableapps.com/apps/music_video). Why can't we create similar subcategories in the platform?

Needless to say, it's just one big mess at the moment with everything stashed in one category.

John T. Haller
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Manual Version

We're going to add in the ability to manually classify apps into sub-categories at some point in the future. Sub-categories aren't as solidified yet and will likely change as we add a few hundred more apps whereas categories are finalized. As most users only seem to install a couple dozen apps and regularly use under 10, sub-categories actually get in the way for most users as it's extra clicking to get to their apps. So, for users that want to get finer-grained, we'll add in a manual system to be able to sub-categorize apps for users that like to view things that way. It's on the todo list, but things like file associations, custom themes and caching the app list are higher priorities.

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

dexterlemmer
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Re: We Need Subcategories

I haven't upgraded form 1.5 yet (exactly because I can use a mod that allows subcategories for 1.5) so I can't test this. But wouldn't custom categories like "Music & Video: Audio Editors & Converters" work until subcategories are added? This way the subcategories will appear right below each other. OK so it's extra effort and it'll cause your menu to be longer than if you had proper subcategories, but it might still be worth the compromise.

[Edit: Changed "manual categories" to "custom categories"]

saliva
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Select Two or More Apps

With so many apps that are misplaced in wrong categories, it takes a bit of an effort to right-click every app to select the correct category. Why not allow CTRL-Click to select multiple apps at the same time?

Also the same function could be used to open two or more programs simultaneously.

RaphaelRB
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Don't move favorites apps

When we make an application favorite, it moves to top, that means, it disappears from its category.

Id like that it could appear on top but remains also in its category.

RaphaelRB - Brazil
Using PortableApps in 64 GB USB Flash drive (among others)

Rapscallion
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It does... Sorta

If you use either of the Smart menu options instead of Show All, then a favorited app is Duplicated in the favorites. In fact the favorited app is displayed in bold so you know it is a favorite.

The difference between the Smart options and Show All options is Smart options create a second page accessed by "All Portable Apps". Since there are 2 different pages, it makes sense that you would want to see the app on both pages.

It amazes me that on the internet you can be anything you want, and yet so many people still choose to be idiots.

shookmon
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Got lost in the confusion of replies...

but, to me (ME, ME, ME, I, I ,I, It's all about me!!!!) I like the most frequently used list rather than a favs list (although the 'recency' thingy sounded really good as a next gen kinda thing) since I have all my REALLY important apps set up with hot keys via AutoHotKey.

But I'll tell ya what would be really cool would be to have assignable favorites that show up as links in the systray icon when it's right clicked AND have a built in hot key for each.

So the 3 or 4 I'm in an out of all day long don't actually require calling up the PAM, for everything else it's sorted by recency then categories.

This would work really well if I tell windows to always display the systray icon and I could remember how to turn off the taskbar icon. Smiling

Michael D. Shook

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Sort Option Button

Giving the user options to create their own sort method. It could have a basic selection like;

A-Z
Z-A
Run Most-Last
Run Last-Most
By Category
By Install Date
By Other

I have a preference for using categories myself, plus I like having my Favorites at the top.

One thing I have done for myself with the version 2.x versions, is replicate the PortableApps folders as an App within a Root PortableApps folder. The only apps I run in the root are Firefox, Thunderbird and VLC Player, because they are my preferred and most regularily used apps. Everything else is in a PortableApps folder named after it's category gleened from the Portable Apps download lists.
Folder Structure Example,

+ PortableApps2.0_beta5.0
-+ Documents
-+ PortableApps
--+ CommonFiles
--+ FireFoxPortable
--+ PA_Accessibility
--+ PA_Development
---+ Documents
---+ PortableApps
----+ Notepad++Portable
----+ PortableApps.com
-----+ App
-----+ Data
-----+ Other
----+ UnicodeNSISPortable
--+ PA_Education
...
...
--+ PortableApps.com
--+ ThunderbirdPortable

I try to keep folder names small because of the windows problem with folder path lengths in XP. Yes, I'm still using XP on old machines.
Using this method, I have different menu themse for each category, including my custom made and random apps. I also change the image icon in the top right hand corner to represent the category. Works well for me and performance is sweet, because only a short list opens up. I pretty much like having all the apps, including portable apps that are not listed for download from PortableApps.com.

I see the recently added ability to group the apps into their categories is added to 3.0, but I would like it to be customizable. One other thing I have noticed, is performance is reduced as opposed to using my method.

So, in saying that I would like to see a way to spawn new menus running in a separate process. This will cut down the performance loss when opening the new menu screen. Perhaps a cut-down version of the PortableApps menu that calls on common components called from the common folder.

PortyFan
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Example of my PortableAppsMenu.ini

[DisplayOptions]
Language=English
LargeFonts=False
HideDesktopIcons=False
Theme=TerminatorCrDark
StartPositionHorizontal=Right
StartPositionVertical=Bottom
AlphaBlendMain=255
[AppsRenamed]

pa_accessibility\startportableapps.exe=~ Accessibility
pa_development\startportableapps.exe=~ Development
pa_education\startportableapps.exe=~ Education
pa_games\startportableapps.exe=~ Games
pa_graphicsandpictures\startportableapps.exe=~ Graphics and Pictures
pa_internet\startportableapps.exe=~ Internet
pa_musicandvideo\startportableapps.exe=~ Music and Video
pa_office\startportableapps.exe=~ Office
pa_security\startportableapps.exe=~ Security
pa_utilities\startportableapps.exe=~ Utilities
pa_utilitiesother\startportableapps.exe=~ Utilities Other
pa_launchercreator\startportableapps.exe=- Launcher Creator
firefoxportable 3.6\firefoxportable.exe=Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition 3.6
firefoxportable\firefoxportable.exe=Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition 6.0
[AppsFavorite]
firefoxportable\firefoxportable.exe=1
thunderbirdportable\thunderbirdportable.exe=1
pa_accessibility\startportableapps.exe=1
pa_development\startportableapps.exe=1
pa_education\startportableapps.exe=1
pa_games\startportableapps.exe=1
pa_graphicsandpictures\startportableapps.exe=1
pa_internet\startportableapps.exe=1
pa_musicandvideo\startportableapps.exe=1
pa_office\startportableapps.exe=1
pa_security\startportableapps.exe=1
pa_utilities\startportableapps.exe=1
pa_utilitiesother\startportableapps.exe=1

John T. Haller
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Very Messy

We won't be supporting having apps in sub-directories anytime soon as it'll break the app store and updater. It only loads faster because not all your apps load, so you have to wait whenever you click on one of your directories. Things will be improved once caching is complete in the next version or so as it won't need to search all your sub-directories on each launch or refresh.

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

Hartmut
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Different foldernames

I propose that users can determine the foldernames, where the folderlinks on the right side point to. E.g. Dokumente (documents) --> EigeneDateien or what I want, Video --> Filme or Multimedia/Video and so on ...

Hartmut

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That feature is coming

If you look at the Platform Bug Report and Feature Tracker, you'll see it says

Customization of the folders' (Documents, etc) name, icon and location to open.

Follow that topic instead as this one is a tad outdated.

avmaksimov
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Suggestion about Data's place

I have on flash a virtual encrypted other disk. So I try to locate program and no so important or secret files is on non-encrypted disk, e.g. programs. And I try to locate data of program on encrypted disk. So, before using any of programs, what have data on encrypted disk, I simply run program and disk was maked.
To resolve problem I forced to create a symbol link, so programs "think", what data is on same disk. But it's not so easy and I suggest better create a option: locate folder for data (I think, not all programs must have this options: some programs can save data on same folder, e.g. winmerger and other utility).

Best regards, Andrei.

V@no
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I think the best solution is

I think the best solution is give users the option to select how they'd like it to be displayed. In this case everyone's is happy Eye

gayathri
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Platform redesigned

Dear Mr.John
Is it possible for the platform to be resigned so that it would open in full screen mode and the apps arranged to appear like icons in a windows desktop?. This might in fact act like a Portable Desktop Environment.Hope u will consider the suggestion
with regards
Gayathri

I am in love with technology, but I am a master of none !!

MMalinow
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Perhaps Weighted Measures?

I hope I'm not too late to the party. IMHO, the utilization rate (count of times executed) makes a ton of sense but I also have sympathies for the MRU (most recently used) cause.

I see where @cyanfish suggested "Frecency" on 2011-July-20/11:01, which IMHO makes a lot of sense. I was going to suggest an algorithm that uses a weighting factor for both the utilization rate (optionally, over some period of time, e.g. the last month or the last 12 months) and the MRU list, e.g. (Util_Weight * Util_Ct) + (MRU_Weight / MRU_Rank). This is just a first pass formula which likely needs some adjustment/tuning and it could get complicated especially since it could be helpful to allow the Util_Weight and MRU_Weight to be parameterized. I suspect the suggested "Frecency" algorithm is a much better idea.

Merci beau-coup,
Mike M.

+ Every rule has its exception; excepting this one.

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