No, this is not about creating applications that can run on multiple platforms. Instead this is about being able to move from one computer to another and being ready to code immediately without first having to install a bunch of applications.
Imagine being able to move between your work PC, your computer at home and a PC at a client/customer and always having you favorite tools ready to be used. Imagine being ready to create new ASP.NET page on a new PC without first having to install IIS, Visual Studio and whatever other applications you need. That is what I tried to realise lately.
The “easy” solution is to grab installation files of all the needed programs and dump them on a usb flash drive or maybe even your phone. This way you will have everything at hand and just need to install the program instead of first having to find and download all install files. But installation still takes time and if its only a temporary work pc you will eventually have to remove all those applications again.
Portable - for real
The real solution is to install your applications directly onto the flash drive and run them from the flash drive instead of from the PC. This way your apps are ready immediately and they never “touch” the PC and thus, don’t ever need to be uninstalled. Many applications won’t install that way. They insist on modifying things on the PC. But some work just fine without such an installation and many others have special portable versions which can handle these restrictions. These portable applications are usually also a bit smaller than the normal versions of these apps. They can be found all over the web, but a nice collection is at portableapps.com.
Portable developer apps
I have gathered portable versions of my favorite developer apps:
Portable non-developer apps
I have also added a few non-developer apps:
All these apps combined only take 500MB of space, of which OpenOffice takes 250MB. The Cassini version is (.3202) from Dmitry Robsman is available and compiles just fine in Visual Studio 2010. There is another version available with a slightly different GUI, but I have had some problems with it so I defaulted back to .3202.