Two tips-wishes for improvement

Features wanted...
selukwe
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Two tips-wishes for improvement

Post by selukwe » 12 Apr 2012 11:07

Two tips-wishes for improvement:

- XYplorer claims to be portable. It truly is in the sense of not storing its data in the registry and not been dependent on any external runtime files, etc. But by installing its data folder into the user folder by default it is not. It does not suffice to just copy the application's folder on a USB drive and use it with the same features as on one's home PC. This could be remedied by installing the data folder into the aplication's folder by default, called e.g. XYdata. The Startup.ini file would thus have to point by default to Path=XYdata. Any other location of the data folder would have to be a user-customizable decision and operation. Why I am suggesting this is that not all users are sufficiently skilled in figuring out where to look for the data files and also making their backup is not as straightforward as when residing within the same folder structure as the app iself

- my second suggestion deals with the manner how the configuration is scattered within the data folder. Why this? Why cannot all program's configuration data be stored in one INI file where the currently separately stored data could be placed as its separate sections. It would make all the data folder unnecessary and the program would need only one single INI file stored in the app's folder, with no need for any subfolders. I really do not see any specific advantage in having the program's configuration stored in the current way. Everything would be simpler and more transparent. Incorporating an option for automatic INI file backup with user-configurable number of backups (new backup being made as soon as new settings are stored and deleting the oldest) could be another worthwhile enhancement.

Just ideas...:-)

highend
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Re: Two tips-wishes for improvement

Post by highend » 12 Apr 2012 11:24

XYplorer claims to be portable
It doesn't only claim, it is...

Copy XYplorer.exe & XYcopy.exe to a totally different folder. Quit XYplorer. Open Windows Explorer. Navigate to the new dir, start XYplorer.exe.

The DATA folder structure is stored right there. What exactly is non-portable there???
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selukwe
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Re: Two tips-wishes for improvement

Post by selukwe » 12 Apr 2012 11:58

highend wrote:
XYplorer claims to be portable
It doesn't only claim, it is...

Copy XYplorer.exe & XYcopy.exe to a totally different folder. Quit XYplorer. Open Windows Explorer. Navigate to the new dir, start XYplorer.exe.

The DATA folder structure is stored right there. What exactly is non-portable there???
Yes, you are right, I just checked it. This works when you do not use the instalation package when installing the program and file startup.ini is never created.

The problem arises with installing the program from the installer. Irrespective, whether the user decides whether he wants the program installed for anyone using this PC or just for him, the startup.ini file is pointing to: Path=%appdata%\XYplorer, and... the configuration data always goes to the user folder! That's the problem. For unskilled PC users this is not easy to sort out. For me at least, a program to be called portable, shouldn't use the user folder at all and should store its data within the program's subtree. Check the portable apps expectations at http://portableapps.com/ That's what portability is about.
Last edited by selukwe on 12 Apr 2012 12:35, edited 3 times in total.

eil
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Re: Two tips-wishes for improvement

Post by eil » 12 Apr 2012 12:11

selukwe wrote:- my second suggestion deals with the manner how the configuration is scattered within the data folder. Why this? Why cannot all program's configuration data be stored in one INI file where the currently separately stored data could be placed as its separate sections. It would make all the data folder unnecessary and the program would need only one single INI file stored in the app's folder, with no need for any subfolders. I really do not see any specific advantage in having the program's configuration stored in the current way. Everything would be simpler and more transparent.
centralized settings store is good only when there few settings, otherwise it's a "time-bomb". there are already much data stored in main .ini(for example buttons = some of mine have internal scripts about a full-monitor-size), and can you imaging adding there all the other stuff?(catalogs, tabsets, panels, tags) =that will only slow access to all these elements. yet, current organization allows "modularity"(start XY with command line refering to other "data folder", open any tabset, attach any tag database and any catalog etc.)

highend
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Re: Two tips-wishes for improvement

Post by highend » 12 Apr 2012 12:40

The problem arises with installing the program from the installer.
Didn't we talk about portability? Installing an application = you decided to use it in a non portable fashion.
Irrespective, whether the user decides whether he wants the program installed for anyone using this PC or just for him, the startup.ini file is pointing to: Path=%appdata%\XYplorer, and... the configuration data always goes to the user folder!
Installing an application "for anyone" does mean, that every user account will be able to see the app in his own start menu (and that it is installed in a common location and not e.g. in the users application folder). It does not mean, that all users share the same configs^^.
For me at least, a program to be called portable
You installed it, you didn't use the portable version *sigh*
shouldn't use the user folder at all and should store its data within the program's subtree
The portable version doesn't use the users folders and stores it's data in the program's subtree... The installed version does not and should never! try to, because it would fail to do so under any modern windows OS (Vista+). Reason: missing privileges.

You are on the wrong track. Totally. Please learn to distinguish between "installed" and "portable" and what that means from the pov of the operating system.
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selukwe
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Re: Two tips-wishes for improvement

Post by selukwe » 12 Apr 2012 13:03

highend wrote:
You are on the wrong track. Totally. Please learn to distinguish between "installed" and "portable" and what that means from the pov of the operating system.
Really?

To my best understanding, there is no such thing as a portable package of this program, there is Installer Package and No-Install Package (http://www.xyplorer.com/download.php). How is the user supposed to know that portable is only the second one? And, BTW, many portable apps use installers so this is definitely not the sign of difference... All Portableapps.com programs (and not only) are based on using installers.

I'm glad I managed to sort this out for myself in the case of this program but many others may not. A solution would be to clearly describe the Non-Install Package as delivering the program in portable mode (i.e. without startup.ini file, which is then not created and used at all), ready to be copied and run with their saved configuration also from external media...

highend
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Re: Two tips-wishes for improvement

Post by highend » 12 Apr 2012 13:25

To my best understanding, there is no such thing as a portable package of this program, there is Installer Package and No-Install Package
From the download page: "Extract to any folder and run the application." Doesn't this imply that it can be run from any folder / drive? It's not a description on how to install a "no-install" package ;)
And, BTW, many portable apps use installers so this is definitely not the sign of difference
Sorry. These "installers" are nothing more than a selfextracting file that let's the user choose the folder to where it will be extracted. If you call a selfextracting file an installer... Ok, I won't ;)
A solution would be to clearly describe the Non-Install Package as delivering the program in portable mode
This was the case a few months ago. Don decided to rename the package. A few forum users said: It's not a good thing to rename it from "portable" to "no-install" but it's his software...
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eil
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Re: Two tips-wishes for improvement

Post by eil » 12 Apr 2012 14:17

selukwe wrote:And, BTW, many portable apps use installers so this is definitely not the sign of difference... All Portableapps.com programs (and not only) are based on using installers.
it's rather confusing, btw. first few times i met such "installers" years ago, i just deleted them, as thought i was "miss-leaded" to actual/real installers. :?
yet, mentioned portable apps use extractors for another reasons(which can shift "sense" of portability even more :wink: ).

PeterH
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Re: Two tips-wishes for improvement

Post by PeterH » 12 Apr 2012 14:20

And don't forget: extracting the non-install to where you want, and adding a startup.ini allows you to direct the configuration files to wherever you want. (Same for the installed version...)

You can use some permanent location (i.e. on a local/non-removable drive), or you can use a portable location - on the "portable" drive. Just as you like.
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admin
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Re: Two tips-wishes for improvement

Post by admin » 12 Apr 2012 14:25

If users here can agree on some clarifying words to add to http://www.xyplorer.com/download.php I will add them.

But remember there is only one and the same EXE in all packages. The difference is the presence of startup.ini which has become necessary due to UAC.

Note also that I never got any complaints about this until now, so the need for clarification is little.

selukwe
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Re: Two tips-wishes for improvement

Post by selukwe » 12 Apr 2012 15:15

Some clarification would obviously be welcome, but what in particular, that's best left up to the author... I, for that matter, didn't know until today that the startup.ini file is not necessary for the program to run at all and that when deleted, the program runs in truly portable mode, automatically creating the data folder (called Data) in the program's folder and not re-creating this file anymore.

Using the installer to install the application installs it in a non-portable mode (unless file startup.ini already exists), though it can be later configured to be fully portable. I think this would be worthwhile to point out.

Stefan
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Re: Two tips-wishes for improvement

Post by Stefan » 12 Apr 2012 15:59

admin wrote:If users here can agree on some clarifying words to add to http://www.xyplorer.com/download.php I will add them.
perhaps smtg like
Please note that both packages contain the same.
Both are "portable" ("green") application and works exactly the same.

The difference of the "Installer Package" is the presence
of startup.ini which has become necessary due to UAC.
The setup copies the XYplorer Data Folder to your user profil
and the startup.ini points to that data folder. This refer is relative to the user,
so each logged in user will get his own XYplorer Data Folder in his profil.
Also the installer helps you on creating the XYplorer Application Folder
and an start menu entry for you. Also it provides an uninstaller.
Please note that the nature of an installer is to leave tracks behind on an PC.
Refer to this FAQ entry to switch your installed to an portable version.

The "No-Install Package" is portable per se anyway.
The XYplorer Data Folder is here created on first launch as an sub folder "Data".
There is nothing changed to your files or registry by using this version.
You have to remember on which place you have un-packed it yourself.
Refer to this FAQ entry to switch your portable to an installed version.

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Re: Two tips-wishes for improvement

Post by admin » 12 Apr 2012 16:16

Haha, thanks. But I meant something really short, 5 words or so. Ah come on, lets simply forget it, it's no problem for 99,999% of the users.

aurumdigitus
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Re: Two tips-wishes for improvement

Post by aurumdigitus » 12 Apr 2012 21:39

Given this discussion of the different XY install packages what is the best and safest method to migrate all of a carefully honed working version several years in the making to a new computer? :veryconfused:

Stefan
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Re: Two tips-wishes for improvement

Post by Stefan » 12 Apr 2012 21:59

aurumdigitus wrote:Given this discussion of the different XY install packages what is the best and safest method to migrate all of a carefully honed working version several years in the making to a new computer? :veryconfused:
If you have all stored in your "Application Data Folder", (use menu "Go > Go To Application Data Folder" to see)
it is enough to execute menu "File > Settings > Backup Application Data Folder..." and store it on your USB-Drive.

If you have something in your "Application Folder" other then the default files (see
>here< for an list)
then you may copy this files too. Use menu "Go > Go To Application Folder" to see.
Maybe the file "Startup.ini" is from interest here to copy too.

On your other pc, install XYplorer, start it, use the links in the GO-menu to go to the XYplorer folders
and copy your saved files back. Be sure to not overwrite newer executables with older ones.




I have onces tried over there to describe it in more detail, but never really finished it.
So, If you are not afraid to be even more confused, read >this< too

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