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Suggestion: Cirrus-on-a-stick

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  • Suggestion: Cirrus-on-a-stick

    For several reasons (some to be explained elsewhere), I'm investigating "portable" apps: applications that can be run from a USB drive/thumb/stick without needing installation and without leaving any trace on the "host" computer. So naturally it occurred to me that Cirrus would be a good candidate for a portable app. It wouldn't take much:
    • What is currently stored in the registry is already minimal - that information could easily be stored in an .ini file in the installation directory instead;
    • Currently, all other configurations (sessions, file formats, etc.) are stored in XML files, but with a predefined location: the only thing to change here is to make the location of those XML files configurable, and store that setting also in the .ini file in the instalation directory;
    • Finally, shell integration obviously would not work (it requires entries in the registry) but this is already optional in the installer;
    • The installer could just offer "portable" as an installation option and not even offer shell integration if that is chosen; the application could simply look for a local .ini file first, and if not found, look in the registry.


    I may have overlooked some details, but I'm pretty sure it's not much more complicated than outined above. And I'd love to have Cirrus as a portable application so I would only need to "borrow" a computer (or use one in an Internet cafe) if some quick or emergency changes would need to be made to a website when I'm not at home!

  • #2
    Marjolein,

    This is already possible with BC2:

    Running Beyond Compare from Removable Media
    Installing Beyond Compare on a U3 USB Flash Drive

    I am sure the Scooter team will support this when BC3 licensing is implemented.
    BC v4.0.7 build 19761

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    • #3
      Cirrus supports almost the same portable setup that BC2 does, so Michael's links are a good reference. In short: copy all of your files from the AppData directory to the install location and Cirrus will use them instead.

      The information written to the registry is intended to allow third-party apps to find and use BC without requiring user configuration, so storing it in the exe directory won't help much. Once we have everything settled down there will be a way to suppress writing to those locations to make it completely no-impact.

      I haven't looked into U3 support (Chris and Aaron have done some work on it), but I think it includes light-weight install and uninstall steps when the drive is inserted and removed, so I think we could actually make the shell extension work in that case.
      Zo P Scooter Software

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Craig View Post
        Cirrus supports almost the same portable setup that BC2 does, so Michael's links are a good reference. In short: copy all of your files from the AppData directory to the install location and Cirrus will use them instead.
        Lovely, I'll experiment with that. (My nerd-on-a-stick is coming ever closer!)

        Once we have everything settled down there will be a way to suppress writing to those locations to make it completely no-impact.
        That, or course, is the idea: leaving no trace on the host machine.

        I haven't looked into U3 support (Chris and Aaron have done some work on it), but I think it includes light-weight install and uninstall steps when the drive is inserted and removed, so I think we could actually make the shell extension work in that case.
        That sounds like a useful feature but I'm not too fond of the U3 idea - it's a very proprietary solution, and an expensive one at that. (And I doubt I could install both OS X and Windows software on a U3 stick.) Anything that can run from a generic USB stick or drive would have my preference.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Marjolein Katsma View Post
          That sounds like a useful feature but I'm not too fond of the U3 idea. Anything that can run from a generic USB stick or drive would have my preference.
          We'll definitely support the non-U3 case. BC has supported a generic no-impact/standalone/removeable version since it could comfortably fit on a floppy in 1.x and that's not going to change.
          Zo P Scooter Software

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Craig View Post
            BC has supported a generic no-impact/standalone/removeable version since it could comfortably fit on a floppy in 1.x and that's not going to change.
            Splendid! (I'll say that again since my message was "too short" according to vB... splendid!)

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