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 Post subject: Finally a launcher for all portable programs?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 6:42 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:02 am
Posts: 35
Hello everyone.

I'm Gianluca the developer of SyMenu (http://www.portablefreeware.com/index.php?id=2394 http://www.ugmfree.it).

Yesterday I released the new version of my program (4.00) that implemented a new feature to integrate virtually all the existant portable programs: it's called SPS.
SPS stands for Standart for Portable Software and it is a standard for documenting portable programs.

What does it mean?

It means that a portable program documented with SPS allows SyMenu to automatically:
- download it from the author web site or from an online repository;
- unpack it to add the program to you portable program collection;
- link it to the SyMenu list of items so you can launch the program from inside the menu;
- update it when a new version is available and of course it is documented in a new SPS;
- remove when you are tired of it.

Someone could object that a similar feature is already available on some other launchers such as the PortableApps one.
You are right, but the PortableApps updater only manage programs packed with its own format (PAF).
What does that mean? It means that someone who wants to add the program to the PortableApps suite, have to create a package suitable to be linked with PortableApps application, you have to work hard on it.

Conversely with SPS you only have to describe how the program is packed (with zip, rar, exe...), where to find the main executable, what the executable name is when it is unpacked, what is the download url and a few other things... This is the reason for which SPS is a documenting standard and not a packing standard.
Virtually almost everything you publish on the PortableFreeware web site could be documented in this way to create an SPS file and therefore could be linked by SyMenu.

SPS is an open standard, well I'm yet working on it, but it is quite stable, and for that reason it allows other launchers to implement it. In that way an SPS suite could be included in more than one launcher.

Last things.

You can learn all you need on SPS from SyMenu forum http://www.ugmfree.it/forum/topics.aspx?ForumID=6
I created an application to help filling the SPS files for your preferred program. You can download it directly from inside SyMenu, its name is SPS Builder, or from my web site http://www.ugmfree.it/SyMenuSPS.aspx
Download SyMenu and have a look at what SPS is able to do. In a few days two people were able to create a suite of almost 50 programs.
SPS is surely inspired to your way to document the programs for this web site, you'll find fields like Stealth, Dependencies, License... it is only a more formal way to document a program because it is not for the users but for the launchers.
If the community of PortableFreeware likes the SPS we could create a PortableFreeware SPS suite that I'll include in SyMenu as an official supported suite otherwise if you want to cooperate to increase the little SyMenu suite, be my guest.

Gianluca


Last edited by UGMFree on Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:42 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Finally a launcher for all portable programs?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:23 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 9:57 am
Posts: 2902
Location: Romania
Wow, I'll definitely take a closer look at this one! Thank you!

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 Post subject: Re: SPSBuilder
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 4:49 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:09 am
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I tested SPSBuilder (currently v0.60; http://www.ugmfree.it/SyMenuSPS.aspx) and really enjoyed its simplicity and straightforwardness. Most of all, I liked its standalone nature, which will make it useful for people like me, those who aren't SyMenu users -- I prefer portable launch bars to menu apps.

SPSBuilder has a single form interface and stores settings in its folder; 'SPS' files containing extensive info about programs can be stored wherever the user chooses (I kept mine inside a 'SPS' sub-folder for easy location), but they have to be manually loaded through the SPSBuilder menu; I find that drag and drop capability would be a most welcome addition. (Existing 'SPS' files can be downloaded from http://www.ugmfree.it/forum/topics.aspx?ForumID=6, where they can also be shared).

The main originality of SPSBuilder is being aimed at portables: with the appropriate 'SPS' file, they can be retrieved online and auto-extracted to the desired location on your local storage, using the misleading "Test SPS online" button on the top right of the form... Further SPSBuilder help is online at http://www.ugmfree.it/SyMenuManual.aspx#SPSForm.

    Image

'SPS' files are simple XML files with the program icon encoded; they seem to follow a schema that is unavailable yet.
    Code:
    <?xml version="1.0"?>
    <SPSSchema xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
    xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema"
    xmlns="http://spsconsortium.net/schema/SPS.xsd">
      <ProgramName>JCloisterZone - Carcassone clone</ProgramName>
      <Version>3.0.2</Version>
      <ReleaseDate>2014-11-02</ReleaseDate>
      <Category>Boardgame</Category>
      <Description>JCloisterZone is PC implementation of Carcassonne board game</Description>
      <License>Freeware</License>
      <ProgramPublisherName>Farin</ProgramPublisherName>
      <ProgramPublisherWebSite>http://jcloisterzone.com</ProgramPublisherWebSite>
      <PackerFormat>zip</PackerFormat>
      <InstallationArguments />
      <MainExeNames>
        <Exe>
          <ExeFullRelativePath>JCloisterZone\JCloisterZone.jar</ExeFullRelativePath>
          <ExeName>JCloisterZone</ExeName>
        </Exe>
      </MainExeNames>
      <Dependency>Java 7 or higher</Dependency>
      <DownloadUrl>http://jcloisterzone.com/builds/JCloisterZone-3.0.2.zip</DownloadUrl>
      <DownloadSizeKb>17250</DownloadSizeKb>
      <ProgramIconBase64>iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAABAAAAAQCAYAAAAf8/9hAAAABGdBTUEAALGPC/xhBQAAAAlwSFlzAAAOvwAADr8BOAVTJAAAAPFJREFUOE+tkksOgjAQhlswgK+oLNh4BhdewLVHMDEGgx7D43gMjUfwEiYmGhY
    +F4ZYZ5A2hQ648U++BNr5pi2UaYkBAew18P10X3gCgefKrAAsynEJ26mMXKPmG8ZKEwBGAylLYKwy
    /21wmPhGgzhsJDZnNhZTScXjtGWIBhG9GzHoOrRA4hpNRI2b5y7jAWSeSnoEZDfukdIXc2UZ1QCh5fI
    /wQElN2xOysht3iSbKBnBbVKyBAU9CaBkx/r9Ic+z+gtFjBIlxdWfS1dYnNX0MQRqc9Ea5AsDz+pjQXH8Slym7dA3L1I2x9ajziY
    /54kPqWRSDbc6b8MAAAAASUVORK5CYII=</ProgramIconBase64>
      <SPSPublisherName>SyMenu Suite</SPSPublisherName>
      <SPSProgramReport>http://www.ugmfree.it/ContactMail.aspx?LANG=en</SPSProgramReport>
    </SPSSchema>

@webfork: this topic doesn't really belong in the [Site] "Suggestions/Discussions" forum; I think "Submissions" would be more appropriate. Please move. Thanks. :)


Last edited by Midas on Fri Jan 16, 2015 6:52 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Finally a launcher for all portable programs?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 6:48 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:02 am
Posts: 35
Hi Midas.

I know, SPS Builder needs a lot of work to be perfected :D
The drag & drop of SPS files is one feature I have to implement for sure in some future version.

The most important thing you correctly underline is the missing schema. Since I'm still working on it I don't want to spread it out because as a standard it must be stable, stable and stable. But when it is ready my intention is to surely publish it to allow others to create compatible launchers or launch bars or whatever they want.

What I need now is feedback and SPS files.


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 Post subject: Re: Finally a launcher for all portable programs?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:03 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:09 am
Posts: 3857
Location: Sol3
UGMFree wrote:
The drag & drop of SPS files is one feature I have to implement for sure in some future version.

    Mighty glad to hear that. :)

UGMFree wrote:
The most important thing you correctly underline is the missing schema. Since I'm still working on it I don't want to spread it out because as a standard it must be stable, stable and stable.

    I agree 100%.

UGMFree wrote:
What I need now is feedback and SPS files.



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 Post subject: Re: Finally a launcher for all portable programs?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:53 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:02 am
Posts: 35
Midas wrote:
Well, here's another suggestion: how about one of those button's validates and autoshare's the SPS file to your forum? Better yet, there could be some form of assigned universal ID, so once a program is submitted, future versions get appended instead of creating yet another entry...

The forum was the faster way I have to solve the submission problem but it is a pain because I have a lot of manual work to do to make the SPS available in SyMenu. My idea was to create a web page dedicated to the submission but you are perfectly right, SPS builder could become an open door for the submission process and it is already ready.
What I really care are SPS files not the entries in the forum since from the SPS of a program I could automatically create the related web page... the SPS is a documentation file so I can take what I need to fill the web site too... well this SPS is coolest than it looks :D

The universal ID already exists: it is the program name. You can't have two SPS files with exactly the same program name inside a single suite. If you have two file with the same programName tag means that one is the updated version of the other.
Well I know, it is not so academic as a numeric id or a GUID but it works the same.

Midas wrote:
And some more pointers to keep you busy. :mrgreen:

Well with all the work about the SPS thing I hope to have some hours to go deeper with your links... Is there a recap anywhere? :D


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 Post subject: Re: SPSBuilder
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:12 pm 
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Midas wrote:
this topic doesn't really belong in the [Site] "Suggestions/Discussions" forum; I think "Submissions" would be more appropriate.

It's either that or the Development forum, but I think the author has some ambition that this will become part of the site rather than just a portable program updater. Let's wait and see what happens.

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 Post subject: Re: Finally a launcher for all portable programs?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 3:13 am 
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Posts: 35
Hi to all.

Thanks to the Midas suggestion I changed the SPS Builder and now it could save and subsequentially load the SPS files directly to/from the cloud.
When a new or an updated SPS file is submitted through SPS Builder it will pass a manual validation from a moderator (me for now) and then if it is valuable it joins the SyMenu program suite.

Now I'm working on a system to automatically produce pages for the UGMFree.it web site starting from the approved SPS files so the publication in the forum will become unnecessary. The new system will be online within the end of the week. I'll leave an alert here when everything is ready with the final url.

Anyway the SPS Builder is already working and available for download through the web site http://www.ugmfree.it/SyMenuSPS.aspx or directly from inside the SyMenu SPS manager.
If you want to share your favorite programs give it a try!


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 Post subject: Re: Finally a launcher for all portable programs?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:56 am 
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Excellent work with SPSBuilder v0.70, Gianluca. 8)

Now, if we could get drag and drop, it'd be perfect... :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: Finally a launcher for all portable programs?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 10:52 am 
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Well the v0.80 is available... with the drag and drop!!

Let me know how it works... it's hard to release two version in a single day :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: Finally a launcher for all portable programs?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:44 pm 
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Posts: 167
we need something like this. portableapps.com annoys me.

plus you've got a cool name. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Finally a launcher for all portable programs?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:26 am 
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Just retested SPSBuilder v0.8.0 and it's great to have drag and drop. 8)

But I got a new batch of suggestions -- and an error... :o

    - Menu shouldn't be all caps and "About" should be added
    - File menu needs a "New SPS" entry
    - For easier input, fields should be sub-grouped, as in "Application Info", "Publisher Info", "SPS Metadata", etc. (with mandatory fields on top)
    - "Stealth" label would be clearer if changed to "Non-Stealth"
    - UI label strings should be moved to external file ('en-US.ini') for future localization collaboration
    - User should be able to decouple downloading and extracting (with "Test SPS Online")
    - Tooltips are not being displayed in v0.80 (XP Pro SP3)
    - On new SPS file creation, after "Program Name" and "Download URL" (which BTW should be under "Release Date", IMHO), "Test SPS Online" should be able to gather some info from downloading action (at least "Download Size KB" and "Publisher Web Site")
    - Configurations file paths are being stored as absolute, complicating portability
    - Forum credentials are being stored as clear text in 'configuration.xml'(!)
    - I got an error on updating 'SPSBuilder.SPS' online (there could be an option for submitting errors online, too):

      Image


Last edited by Midas on Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Finally a launcher for all portable programs?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:29 am 
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Posts: 35
Hi Midas.

Thanks for your report.
All your suggestions are precious for me because the genesis of SPS Builder has been so hasty that I haven't do a serious analysis on that. Practically you are doing my job :-)

The reasons for which SPS Builder has been so raw are essentially two:
- it is not born as a real application but like a tool to validate my SPS files;
- at present my focus is on SyMenu that is the real recipient of the SPS.

But you are surely right, if SPS Builder is used only by me it could be rude and raw but if the user are others too, well I have to transform it in a real application.

In the next release I'll implement more features as possible, in the meanwhile you can upload your first SPS because I've just solved the bug. No need to update SPS Builder because it was a server error. BTW it affected only new users and that's the reason for which I haven't noticed before.

Let me know if it is really fixed.


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 Post subject: Re: Finally a launcher for all portable programs?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:42 am 
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Everything is just fine now... :)

Code:
---------------------------
Commit result
---------------------------
SPS committed with the name SPS_Builder
---------------------------
OK   
---------------------------


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 Post subject: Re: Finally a launcher for all portable programs?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:54 am 
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Posts: 35
Great.

Anyway your SPS won't be publish because the SPS Builder is already included in the SyMenu suite collection.
Have a look here http://www.ugmfree.it/SyMenuSuiteSPS.aspx or simply search for it through SyMenu SPS Manager.

In any case it's not a problem since I'll simply ignore your SPS during the publication and instead it was a good test for the application itself and for the SPS cloud repository.

If you want to try documenting other programs first check if they are or not inside the suite yet.


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