Several co-existing definitions. These depend mostly on the use that is made of its applications … However, we can agree on several points.
In absolute terms, is a portable application:
- An application that does not use system installer .
- A “compartmentalized” application in a folder, ie that the files used by the application, user preferences, etc. are stored in the folder (or subfolder) of the executable .
- A “discreet” application and it is a consequence of the previous point. Specifically, the application is “compartmentalized”, you leave very few traces of use or ” footprint “of this application on the system on which you use it. Whether files, or entries in the registry .
- An “autonomous” application . Result of the foregoing, only the system in use in the RAM of the computer is needed to run the mobile application.
- A “portable” application . The executable uses “relative references” to the files used (as opposed to absolute). This means that it will not rely on an “address” of a file it wants to use, with the letter of the mount point , but the location on its implementation location . This therefore means that we can actually use a mobile application from a USB key , HDD external (or other removable media) mounted on a system with the letter “E” and “X” on another system.
If the first 4 points are usually respected and regarded as prerequisites to define the application “portable”, the last point is often overlooked.
See also: Definition and references on Wikipedia for “portable application“.
Why use portable applications?
Several situations of use and enable IT apprehension to give advantage to the use of portable applications.
Here are concrete situations of users and their IT:
Mary is a student , she put her browser and email client on a USB key.
Therefore, she can go to college and use any PC in open access or from a course mate, she will always have his contacts, his diary and links its data close to hand while leaving no trace. Lately, she has even opted for the mobile customer Instant messaging: no one comes up behind her on a PC knowing who she smells good chat!
Tom is an “e-yourselfer” . While there are prepared tray S, IT is his thing! He spends a lot of time on his PC as well as for use to play a lot of software … It has just discovered portable applications and their interest …
Regularly it reinstalls the operating system becomes “unstable” force to install / uninstall software. A day of hassle especially that must put all its options within the software!
All this is over!
It has an external USB2 hard drive on which he had all his music, his movies and data. It has created a folder where it will put all its portable applications. So, if he wants he can rebuild his system in no time, its applications are immediately available, personal settings preserved!
Dave is a family man and he is tired that his children put him whenever havoc on computers where they spend! Portable applications will help him be less stressed when he wants to quickly open a PC to the house to check his bank account on the internet.
He has just installed a network drive accessible from the 3 pc of the house. He has created a record by a family member and there has passwords. No software (or almost) is installed on the PC, everyone, regardless of the PC used, accesses its network folder and uses its portable applications and data.
With portable software, it’s over! He created a user folder on the server are supported in portable applications. An update, a simple “copy / paste” the provision of the application for each user folder and voila!