Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Portable Development

There are quite a few freeware applications that run on an external drive. These sites have a list of them. The advantage of them is that you do not need to install anything (except maybe to get the files to copy to the drive). When you use these applications you can develop your applications or websites on any (Windows 2000/XP) PC that can read your drive.

An example of how portable development can be done is web development. If you follow the instructions at Apache/MySQL/PHP on a usb flash drive, you can run an Apache Server off of your drive, so you have a portable web development environment. If there is a text editor you like and it is portable (for example SciTE) you can edit your pages and test them with PortableFirefox without ever installing anything, then upload them to your site using PortableFileZilla.

Console is also a good application that improves you experience with the command prompt, mostly cosmetic changes (tranparent console background, background image, change font). You can set a batch script to run when it loads (by creating a batch script containing start \Console\console.exe -c "/e:on /f:on /k \Console\config.cmd", so you can add macros (that you could use to run your portable applications).

Example config.cmd

@echo off
doskey /insert
doskey filezilla = %cd%PortableApps\PortableFileZilla.exe $*
doskey firefox = %cd%PortableApps\PortableFirefox.exe $*

Another example of a useful application is MPUI - it allows you to play many video and audio formats, regardless of codecs installed on the host PC.

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