Do you move around a lot? Use multiple computers? How many times have you wished that you had your favourite applications to work with on all computers? Then portable apps are for you.
What is a Portable App?
A portable app is a computer program that you can carry around with you on a portable device and use on any Windows computer.
A portable app does not have to be installed on a Windows computer to be used. It can be used directly from the portable media (like USB flash drive) you are using. Without the hassle of installing on every machine, you can carry your favourite applications with you and start using them with a single click.
Don’t assume that the portable app suite has simple and trivial applications, it has open source applications that make everyday working easier. Wait till you see the portable apps list. It includes applications from multimedia players to office suites to anti virus applications. It does not stop here, applications to come include operating systems.
It is all about Convenience
Carrying my office suite, along with my templates and settings, provides lot of convenience and comfort of working. The office suite offers word processors, spreadsheets and presentations (Open Office and AbiWord). There are portable internet applications like browsers (Firefox), email clients (Thunderbird), ftp clients (FileZilla), instant messaging (Gaim) and more.
If you are still not blown away, checkout the Wikipedia’s extensive list of portable applications. The portable applications are not convenient only because the applications are accessible. The value is in ability to carry data along with preconfigured applications. Calendar without the appointments and tasklist is like starting from scratch. People who use vim as their editor know the hassle of not having their personalized settings and plugins accessible. When a whole suite of applications are made portable, it is like carrying your desktop with you.
Portable Apps v/s Web
With the new Web 2.0 hype, focus seems to have been shifted away from desktop applications. Portable apps and Web are not in the same league but they offer some common advantages, especially of being portable across computers. Perhaps a comparison with the web based desktop managers is more justifiable. The biggest advantage of the Web is that it is independent of even the operating system of the computer you are using. The portable apps offer the advantage of being able to work on multiple computers without an Internet/network connection. Both have their places, and are probably not directly against each other. In my opinion, portable applications can satisfy lot of cases and offer better value where the Web adds a dependency of an Internet connection.
Just like in the Web, the disadvantages of networking and using multiple computers still apply. Safe Portable Apping is a good guide to stay away from viruses and malwares. Give them a try and give your opinion.
Copyright Abhijit Nadgouda.