Testing help request for a new "portablizing" app - DonationCoder.com
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Author Topic: Testing help request for a new "portablizing" app  (Read 4672 times)
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« on: October 24, 2006, 03:23:32 PM »

Hi all.

This is going to be a long-winded yarn. My apologies beforehand.

The reason I'm here is due to an email exchange between mouser and myself way back in February, about me possibly joining the site as a coder. Although things didn't work out, he indicated that it would be okay to stop by occasionally and ask for help, when needed, for beta testing.

So I'm here asking for some testing and UI functionality help on a new app I've been working on over the last several months. I would like to eventually put the app up as a freeware from this site, with the possibility of a more enhanced version going as donationware from this site (nothing going to me; just as a way of saying thanks to the site for the help.) And due to my life situation, more than likely I would like to pass on the project to another of this site's coders, in the hopes that it stays alive and is developed to its full potential (unlike my other projects.)

The app itself is an attempt to help "portablize" non-portable apps. Its base functionality is the redirection of another app's registry modifications and/or special file system modifications, into a portable registry and portable file system. By special file system I mean those directories that an app typically writes to during install or during runs for user data storage: Program Files, AppData, etc. And by portable registry I mean a .reg compatible text file somewhere "relatively near" the app's executable.

The list of apps I've personally tested it with so far are: 7-Zip, CatSpy, EBB, Eraser, Firefox, FoxitReader, FreeDownloadManager, GoogleEarth, GoogleTalk, FuturePinball, HDTune, HottNotes, ImageBurn, iTunes, K-Meleon, Marine Aquarium, Maxima, MetaPad, PEView, PowerTabEditor, RegEdit, RegPad, RocketDock, Samurize, Scorched3D, SeaMonkey, SkiFree, SoulSeek, Sunbird, TabbyFile, TextToExe, WikidPad, WinAmpFull, Wink, WinMerge, and Xplorer^2. The few that installed via MS Installer failed but I'm working on a solution for that. And there's still a couple of issues with the file system redirection for a few. But most have worked fine within the limited amount of testing I was able to give for each.

Now, that might seem like enough to test with, but each app has its own way of working with the registry and file system apis, so I really need a much more diverse group of apps tested before I can even begin to say that it's working as it should. They also need to be more thoroughly tested. For instance, no one has yet tried to install and exercise an app on one system, and then take the portable results of that and run it on a completely different system. I have done this a few times via a virtual machine, but much more testing of this sort needs to be done. Also, I'm eager to get on with the more high-level functionality and more complicated portability scenarios. Again, my usage pattern is very limited; I'm only interested in getting app data out of the registry and special file system directories. But this is only one way to use the app and I don't have the necessary equipment to test it in other ways of use.

I currently have a group of 4 people from another site who have done some testing, but their tendency is to try out an app or two, quit when they encounter a problem, I'll make the necessary fix(es), and then I never hear back from them about bug resolution, new apps they tried out, etc. Between the 4 of them they've tested about a fourth of the apps that I have. And except for one guy, I have had no input with regards to how this should all work from a UI functionality standpoint. So I'm very, very frustrated right now. But I'd like to give it one more try if I can find the people willing to put in the necessary hours to help me out with the testing and UI functionality.

I really don't have the time to do it all on my own and I'm already giving just about every free moment I have in an attempt to get the app to at least a releaseable alpha state. Just writing this posting has used up about a third of the time I can give for today. And time is short and I'd like to at least see it "out in the wild" before I hand it over to some other dev (hopefully by the end of this year.)

So if you're interested and are willing to consistently devote at least a couple hours a week for the next couple of months, please post on this thread. I'll take as many of you as I can get at this point. And just fyi, we'll have to communicate during the testing via email, as I don't want to abuse mouser's invitation.

And if you're a donationcoder dev and are interested in helping out now or eventually taking over the project, please give me a shout.

Thanks for reading all of this mess. Sorry for wasting your time if you're not interested.
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« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2006, 04:19:36 PM »

I'm very interesting in knowing more about how the code works and possibly helping in its development. There is a definite need for this sort of capability. ie. The ability to run apps without them touching the users PC in any way. This is something I want to do for my program, Surfulater. Unfortunately I don't have much time to help in testing though.

Neville Franks, "Save anything you see on the Web or on your PC" with Surfulater
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2006, 05:27:58 PM »

Welcome to the forum redlar - sounds like a really interesting project!

My experience with getting beta testers goes something like this:

If you are google or another big named company, OR if you have some very clever hype/marketing experts, you can round up a few thousand volunteers to test an electric chair.

But if you're a normal little developer, it really helps to be specific about what you'd like tested and make a download available, or some other way to make it as easy as possible for people to help out. 

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« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2006, 07:45:45 PM »

I'm a big fan of portability and gladly welcome an application to effecitvely portify otherwise unportable applications -- I've never been a fan of having to use a different batch-based hack for each application.  I'd be glad to run a few of my favorite applications through it -- starting with Opera smiley
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« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2006, 10:03:13 PM »

I'm with Mouser here. I wouldn't mind a bit of testing, but don't expect too much commitment from each tester, necessarily. Open it as wide as you can, with appropriate warnings/caveats to protect your butt. Make a download available and specify a few simple guidelines/requests for testing. Then make it as easy as possible for people to submit feedback and bug reports (forum without signup maybe, or email or form, or all 3). Sure you'll get lots of people just grabbing and not giving feedback, but you're also much more likely to get in touch with people through demonstration who are actually excited about the idea and will really want to help out as much as they can. So in essence, if you build it they *might* come. Wink

Your app definitely sounds very interesting indeed. I'd love to test it myself, but I just don't have the time right now I'm afraid. Perhaps when I get back from vacation in a few weeks I'll see how things are going and chip in if I can (and it's needed). I sincerely hope you get a good load of testers though as it sounds like this is both a needed app, and one that would require a good bit of testing.

- Oshyan

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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2007, 09:20:40 PM »

Sweet man, I would like to help you with testing this program, I have been trying to find a program that makes other programs portable. I will help you in any way I can, but not with coding or anything like that, I can't do that. Please and thank you.

[Insert really cool signature here]
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2007, 04:50:37 AM »

Sounds interesting and needed.
I'm in, although I don't have much free time...
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