Montag, 5. März 2012

creating my mobile toolbox (for windows) I

I am somewhat tired to re-install the same set of software again and again, every time I (have to) switch to a new PC. Probably it's me, not the PCs, but it takes some tome to have the system setup, and me productive again.
Somehow it's like a craftsman has to setup a new labor space with new tools in every house they visit. But craftsmen are clever, they bring your tools with them - and take them away if not needed anymore. In best case they do not leave any traces (except the work done).
I try to mimic this approach: I'm creating my own toolbox. Mine is not made of leather or plastic, it's made of an USB-stick, and some additional modifications.

First I chose the programs available in portableapps app directory: Notepad++, Google Chrome, KeePass,  PuTTY and WinSCP. I tried to keep the list small, but you can make your own decisions,  of course.

Unfortunately I need some more tools: As a DBA, sometimes I not only like  to access the database servers, but the database directly. I did not find any proper tool in the app directory, therefore I decided to include Oracles SQL Developer into my toolbox and followed the Portable Apps Format Specification. It's not that complex it looks at first sign. Here my steps:

  1. create the proper directory structure:
    + App
      + AppInfo
      + DefaultData
    + Data
    + Other
      + Help
        + Images
      + Source

  2. download SQL Developer and unzip it into the App folder

  3. in AppInfo create the file appinfo.ini:
    Name=SQLDeveloper Portable
    Description=Oracle SQL Developer is a graphical version of SQL*Plus that gives database developers a convenient way to perform basic tasks

  4. In SQLDeveloperPortable create the file sqldeveloper.bat:
    REM ^/\x
    SET IDE_USER_DIR=%~d0\PortableApps\SQLDeveloperPortable\Data
    start /b %~d0\PortableApps\SQLDEveloperPortable\App\sqldeveloper\sqldeveloper.exe
    By setting IDE_USER_DIR all configurations will be stored on the USB-stick, not on (changing) PCs.

  5. creating a proper icon for App\sqldeveloper\icon.png

That's it - works like a charm!

Next I prepared Xming for the portable world. X11 is still needed in the world of an Oracle DBA.
The steps where similar to those of SQL Developer, therefore I only describe the differences here:
As I don't want to extract the installer of Xming, I just let it install onto my PC into C:\Program Files. Then I copied the full structure C:\Program Files\Xming into XmingPortable\App.
Also in this case a bat file as a wrapper is needed, as Xming needs some parameters to go into tray without a window:
start /b %~d0\PortableApps\XmingPortable\App\Xming\Xming.exe :0 ‑clipboard ‑multiwindow

By these 2 examples you can see it's nice and easy to have the private toolbox at your hands all the time.
I do not provide the packages for any of these programs. First, I don't want to take care of any legal implications. Second, I have no interest in this kind of work. I just have no skills in doing so. period.


Tim... hat gesagt…


I loved portable apps when I was a Windows user. I have no need for them now, but I'm almost tempted to set a stick up again just for the fun of it. :)

Nice post!



thatjeffsmith hat gesagt…

if you set


that should also work, and a lot less typing!

Martin Berger hat gesagt…

Thanks Tim for stepping by.

Jeff, there is a small difference:
with SET IDE_USER_DIR= . I get my config directory system. in F:\PortableApps\SQLDeveloperPortable\App\sqldeveloper\sqldeveloper\bin
But IDE_USER_DIR=%~d0\PortableApps\SQLDeveloperPortable\Datalocates the configuration in F:\PortableApps\SQLDeveloperPortable\Data.
I prefer my config away from the binaries. Especially when a upgrade path is something like jsut remove the binary directory and replace it by the content of this zipfile.