PortableApps Launcher wishlist

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webfork
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PortableApps Launcher wishlist

#1 Post by webfork » Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:46 pm

This idea came from the fact that the PA launcher has been coming along very well for quite a while now. As far as I know, its the only actively developed open source launcher around. Although I've been impressed by some of the innovative additions recently, I complained that no tool is a replacement for my current launcher Pstart, despite the issues, age, and lack of development.

This is not a criticism of the program that for the vast majority of users is very useful and intelligent. Still, I was asked what was missing for me and here's what I came up with:
  • Command-line parameters are the most obvious, since so many programs here on the site require it.
  • Permanence - a way to keep the box visible on the screen at all times. (I just found right before posting that this can be fixed with an INI edit.)
  • Directory Freedom - right now the system is setup to just add a folder and the EXE will pop up. This is great for most people, but I'd like to add programs that are below the main directory. For example, xmind insists on storing its executables in \xmind\XMind_Windows. I recall seeing a work-around to make it work with PA, but I'd really just like the flexibility to put a bunch of EXE files into a few subcategories and have them show up in my menu. I have an idea about how to handle that with the current easy system working now, if anyone's curious.
  • Confirmation button - (with an available "don't show me this again" checkbox) when you hit eject / close. Mostly because I've accidentally hit this button.
  • Minimalism - Capability to make the PortableApps logo and tagline at the top of the window shrink as small as possible. Less important is the ability to collapse/hide the various elements along the right side of the window (Documents, Options, Backup, etc), which I probably wouldn't use.
  • Available subcategories. I have a hard time thinking of how to implement this without the next items:
    • Drag-and-drop category/file management
    • Right-click rename ability for categories and items
Anyway, those are some things I would really need to make the switch from Pstart. I came up with a long list of things that would be cool, but I thought this would be more interesting / relevant.

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Re: PortableApps Launcher wishlist

#2 Post by ashghost » Fri Dec 09, 2011 3:48 pm

Somewhat related to "Directory Freedom", I would ask for more polite activity (or at least more transparent) on installation and update. I recently was notified that the launcher required an update, and I allowed it to update itself. I have it "installed" in F:\Apps\PortableApps\, but it installed the update in F:\PortableApps\ and wrote an autorun.inf file to the root of the drive (a fixed HD) that changed the name of the drive in Windows Explorer.

Performing these two actions (especially the latter) without the user's consent or even knowledge is not polite at all. Needless to say, I won't be doing that again.

I don't want to take the time to categorize my hundreds of apps again, so I won't switch to the PA launcher anyway. I'll to stick with Launchy (when I know which app I want) and PStart (when I know which of my categories of apps I want).

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Re: PortableApps Launcher wishlist

#3 Post by JohnTHaller » Sun Dec 25, 2011 9:53 am

Thanks webfork and ashghost for taking the time to test things out and for posting your thoughts. I'll address them individually:
  • Command Line Parameters - You'll see this popping up in 11.0 next month and it will apply to both PortableApps.com Format apps (PAF) and non-PAF apps. We'll likely add other bits to assist with adding non-PAF apps to the menu as well, like setting a custom working directory.
  • Staying Visible - As webfork noted, there is an INI option to keep the menu visible all the time. I'll add an option in advanced options in the GUI so you can just tick a box to make it easier for folks who want this
  • Directory Freedom - We're also adding the ability to manually add shortcuts to the menu, so this would take care of outliers like xmind that require specific directories. (We'll also likely be getting XMind in PA.c Format as we fully launch Java apps.) As for monitoring other directories, that's a bit unlikely as we're trying to keep everything consolidated and that would make for some recoding of the app store and updater as well. Basically, you'll be free to keep things where you want in the new version, but it'll be easier and encouraged to just keep all your apps in the PortableApps directory. If enough folks were interested, we could add in a secondary directory (like OtherApps) for you to keep non-PAF apps in to keep them separated.
  • Confirmation Button - That's not a bad idea, as it's possible to accidentally click eject/close. I think I'll get that implemented in the next major version.
  • Minimalism - We actually have a set of themes that will have 1/2 the space at the top along with a 1/4 size logo that we're working on. We just didn't have them done for 10.0. Hiding the elements on the right is something that will be possible with custom theming (allowing a themer to move elements around, hide them, etc) which we are working on as well. We expect to have several themes available that will only use icons for the elements on the right-hand side for folks who want to keep things small.
  • Subcategories - We're going to be implementing these for folks with lots of apps. We're debating between having an automated component to them or not (as we do with categories and apps now). You'll be able to rename categories in the next release (though possibly not the built-in ones as that would get confusing when apps are automatically added to them). Drag and drop is on deck, too.
  • ashghost update issue - That's a bug (and a severe one) in the platform's installer and I'll ensure that this is fixed before the next update is pushed out. Most folks have it in X:\PortableApps which is likely how this was missed. As the platform advances, I hope you'll give us another look as we'll be at the point to replace PStart and Launchy within another couple versions.
Thanks again for your feedback. The more constructive feedback and suggestions we get, the more awesome we can make things!
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Re: PortableApps Launcher wishlist

#4 Post by webfork » Sun Dec 25, 2011 2:50 pm

JohnTHaller wrote:Thanks again for your feedback. The more constructive feedback and suggestions we get, the more awesome we can make things!
Very cool. Glad those suggestions were useful.

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Re: PortableApps Launcher wishlist

#5 Post by webfork » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:08 pm

Old thread update:

Haller just posted a look at the new minimalistic theme he mentioned above, and it looks very sharp:

Image

More news:

http://portableapps.com/news/2012-12-27 ... 2-released

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Re: PortableApps Launcher wishlist

#6 Post by JohnTHaller » Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:16 am

I'd accidentally included the Beta 1 screenshot in the story originally. The Beta 2 theme is refined a bit more.

Image
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Re: PortableApps Launcher wishlist

#7 Post by Marc » Thu Apr 21, 2016 12:56 pm

Since it's been a while I wonder - are subcategories still on the road map? For a large collection of portable apps (1500+) it is close to impossible to remember what app does that. I'm currently using ASuite but I would prefer toswitch to PAL.

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Re: PortableApps Launcher wishlist

#8 Post by 3D1T0R » Thu Apr 21, 2016 5:38 pm

Someone is welcome to correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe what you (Marc) are referring to is on the PortableApps.com Platform Bug Report and Feature Tracker under the "Possible Future Features (Suggested by Users, Under Consideration)" section as "Ability to display sub-categories as folders".

This is an oft-requested feature, but the changes necessary for this feature to work properly are non-trivial.
It may be a while before this gets implemented. (If it ever does.)
~ 3D1T0R

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Re: PortableApps Launcher wishlist

#9 Post by Marc » Sat Apr 23, 2016 6:20 pm

Thanks 3D1T0R. Yes that is. I remember automatic updates took a while to be released, but it did.
How long did it take? I can't really recap.

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Re: PortableApps Launcher wishlist

#10 Post by JohnTHaller » Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:56 am

Marc wrote:Thanks 3D1T0R. Yes that is. I remember automatic updates took a while to be released, but it did.
How long did it take? I can't really recap.
Automatic updates was released in 2008 as an optional add-on to the PortableApps.com Platform. It was added to the platform proper (aka installed with the platform by default) in 2010.
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