Portable Development Environment

Building websites on the side has been a very productive way to make a little extra cash now and then. I don’t tend to take on overly large clients but more mom and pop type companies, smaller non-profit organizations, churches, that kind of thing. I cut them a fair deal and they don’t tend to be overly demanding, however there are times that something needs to be changed sooner rather than later or there is an issue that has surfaced that I need to deal with right away. This has happened enough that I know that I don’t want to leave all of my development tools behind anytime that I go anywhere. However, I don’t always want to carry my laptop with me every time I go on vacation. I have discovered a compromise in the way of portable apps. Portable apps are just what they sound like. They are applications that are capable of running off a flash drive without needing to install the software on to the host computer. This allows me to run applications such as Visual Studio Code, Notepad++, FileZilla or even Fiddler from any computer that will allow a .exe file to be executed.

There are many different ways to store and run these applications. You can simply copy them to a flash drive and load them directly from their respective .exe file. However, there are also launcher programs that will allow you to more easily access these programs from one central location. PortableApps.com is the first and most common portable apps launcher and resource currently online. I use the PortableApps.com website to find and download portable versions of the applications that I want to use. LupoPenSuite.com is the launcher that I prefer. Both launchers operate in much the same way I simply prefer that I have more customization options with Lupo.

To get started simply download your choice of launcher. I would recommend downloading the “full” version of either suite as they will come with a wide variety of some of the most common portable apps pre-installed so that you can start using launcher and apps immediately. Once the installer has downloaded, insert your flash drive into the computer USB port. I would suggest an 8 GB or larger drive. Run the installer files and set the flash drive as the destination folder of where to install. Once the installation is complete open up the flash drive in windows explorer and double click the launcher icon at the root of the flash drive to start the launcher (if it does not start automatically). You can now launch any of the programs currently contained on the flash drive from the simple launcher interface.

I will take my portable apps drive with me whenever I am going to be anywhere that I know that I will have access to a computer. This way just in case I would get a call from a client and need to address an issue all I have to do is plug in my flash drive and I can download, upload and edit files, modify or create graphics or even run debugging programs to help me fix the issue as quickly as possible.  All without needing to haul my laptop everywhere that I go.

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