|Customizable Remote Administration Panel (CRAP)
|App Version Reviewed
|2.0.6 build 1
|Test System Specs
|Tested on 1.6GHz netbook and 3 more powerful PCs
|Tested on Windows 7 x64 and Windows 10 x64
|Via Forum topic
|Trial Version Available?
|Author Donation Link
|Donate to hamradio, the Author
|Reviewer Donation Link
|Donate to oblivion, the Reviewer
|Screencast Video URL
|Relationship btwn. Reviewer and Product
| None, although the reviewer wrote the document that was used to build the helpfile included with the current version
Initially built for NANY 2013 in response to an idea. The evolution is documented in the forum topic above so I won't repeat it here.
What it actually is is a launcher specifically designed to be used for processes aimed at interacting with systems that are remote from the end user. It can hold a list of variables (such as the names of systems accessible on the network) and allows the user to build commands and assign them to buttons.
That's more exciting than it sounds.
Suppose I want to reboot a Windows PC locked in a basement room several miles away from where I'm sitting.
I can use Remote Desktop to access the system, log into it, then reboot it.
Or I can fossick around for the syntax for the shutdown command, remind myself how to pass appropriate login credentials and the remote machine name to the command and issue it at a command prompt.
Or I can define a button that contains the static bits of the command and a set of variables that contains the names of machines I might occasionally want to reboot, then when I need to do it I select the variable (which I can have a friendly name for, like "Dave's basement PC" but which delivers DVPCX97126 when I choose it) and press the button and that's it.Who is this app designed for:
This is aimed squarely at systems administrators and computer support types who work in networked environments.The Good
I won't say for sure that this occupies a niche that's otherwise empty, but I have a suspicion that it might.
For anyone who needs to remotely access a number of networked systems, particularly when some of those systems need regular or repeat visits, this provides a framework for a set of tools that might well be unique to their circumstances but which makes everything available in one place -- or a set of places. The program supports the creation of sets of buttons in a "layout" and, if you want or need, multiple layouts that can be loaded by picking them off a menu or even assigning them to specialised buttons.
The way buttons can be built is very flexible and configurable. If you want to define a button that runs locally but using a different set of credentials (via the runas command, occasionally a bit of a pig to get working at the commandline) you can.
Buttons can have icons extracted from .exes and .dlls, or even appropriately sized .pngs. The needs improvement section
Most of the things that you might want different are cosmetic. For instance, button arrangement within layouts is via a layout editor that moves items up and down a list, there's no drag and drop. And although the application is themable, themes apply across the whole app, you can't have a layout associated with a theme that's different to other layouts.
In terms of functionality, I'm not sure I can think of much that I'd want it to do that it can't already. But I have my own views of things and other people may well have different takes on it!Why I think you should use this product
This is not a program for an average user. You need to be reasonably familiar with the commandline to make use of it, and unless you're doing something akin to remote administration of at least a handful of systems, you're not going to need it.
But if it IS something that looks potentially useful, you'll probably surprise yourself at just how useful it can become -- particularly in creating related toolsets and paths between them.
You create commands that consist of a prefix, the content of the selected variable, and a suffix. It supports the use of aliases (like <programfiles> for example) so you could create a portable toolset too. You can have captions and tooltips for extra visual cues and if you have access to a graphics tool that lets you make icon-sized graphics, you can customise to your heart's content.How does it compare to similar apps
I'm not aware of anything quite like it.Conclusions
I'd recommend this to anyone with any sort of remote administration needs. It's not a solution in and of itself, but it gives you the ability to create stuff you'll use regularly and it will save you time when you're doing it.
I liked it enough that I volunteered to write a helpfile / document for it. I use it every day, and its new features (particularly aliases for favourites) have only improved my life further.