Writer as a free-standing program

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Writer as a free-standing program

Postby peterws » Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:26 am

I need to know whether it is possible to install Writer as a free-standing program on a flash drive. I suspect it is not possible, but if it is I would like to know how to do and bypass the default loading onto local hard drive. Many thanks ;)
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Re: Writer as a free-standing program

Postby TheGurkha » Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:49 am

Hi and welcome to the forums.

What you need is the portable version of OOo.

See: PortableApps. (But this is the whole of OOo, not just Writer. Actually, because of the centrally shared core of OOo you save very little space leaving a component out - the central core of the product has to be there for any single application.)

If this has answered your question please go to your first post and use the Edit button, and add [Solved] to the start of the title. You can use the green tick icon at the same time if you like.
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Re: Writer as a free-standing program

Postby peterws » Mon Apr 20, 2009 6:16 am

This has been tremendously helpful, for which I thank you.
However, having downloaded the portable version of OOo, I wonder what can be stripped out of it to make a very basic version of Writer. (I noted what you said about there being little difference between the whole suite and writer only, but it still takes a long time to transfer from HD to flash drive and I need to be able to do it in 2 or 3 minutes, rather than 20 to 30.)
I don't need to include a whole selection of fonts for this purpose, as I am only using Arial and Times New Roman in the document to be read off the flash drive, so I am sure most fonts could be deleted, along with many other files and/or folders.
What say you?
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Re: Writer as a free-standing program

Postby r4zoli » Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:32 am

You can save only 20-30MB when not installing other parts, no reason to do that.

However, having downloaded the portable version of OOo, I wonder what can be stripped out of it to make a very basic version of Writer.)but it still takes a long time to transfer from HD to flash drive and I need to be able to do it in 2 or 3 minutes, rather than 20 to 30.

If you use portableapps version only once installs. customization takes longer if it possible (I never tried.).

I don't need to include a whole selection of fonts for this purpose, as I am only using Arial and Times New Roman in the document to be read off the flash drive, so I am sure most fonts could be deleted, along with many other files and/or folders.

OOo uses sytem fonts.
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Re: Writer as a free-standing program

Postby TheGurkha » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:38 am

peterws wrote:but it still takes a long time to transfer from HD to flash drive and I need to be able to do it in 2 or 3 minutes, rather than 20 to 30.


What are you transferring? The idea with OOo portable is that you run it from a USB stick or external USB drive.
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Re: Writer as a free-standing program

Postby peterws » Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:39 am

transferring the word processing program
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Re: Writer as a free-standing program

Postby TheGurkha » Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:45 am

Why are you doing this though? You can just run it from the USB device. That's the whole idea. The application sits on your USB stick and is Portable from PC to PC, and you run it from the stick.
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Re: Writer as a free-standing program

Postby Villeroy » Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:50 am

peterws wrote:transferring the word processing program

There is no word processing program. Open some text, spreadsheet, presentation and call the task manager. All you see is one process soffice.exe handling all of the documents.
If you could remove Draw and Impress completely, Writer would not show graphical elements anymore. Serial letters would be impossible without any database functionality.
The WIndows installer offers to install Writer without anything else, but since the whole Writer functionality covers most of the other component's code, you do not save as many resources as you might expect.
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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Re: Writer as a free-standing program

Postby peterws » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:14 pm

TheGurkha wrote:Why are you doing this though? You can just run it from the USB device. That's the whole idea. The application sits on your USB stick and is Portable from PC to PC, and you run it from the stick.


The answer is simple. We are selling USB flash drives with a pre-loaded MS Word document, but want to escape all the compatibility and security problems associated with MS software. (see www.flashID.org) It seemed that OOo portable was the way to achieve a free-standing document that was not dependent on external software, but provided the level of security we needed. However, as it takes some 20 - 30 minutes to load OOo onto the flash drive, it looks as though we are stuck with MS Word until something better comes along.

Unless we can strip OOo down to the essentials and reduce the transfer time significantly.
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Re: Writer as a free-standing program

Postby peterws » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:14 pm

TheGurkha wrote:Why are you doing this though? You can just run it from the USB device. That's the whole idea. The application sits on your USB stick and is Portable from PC to PC, and you run it from the stick.


The answer is simple. We are selling USB flash drives with a pre-loaded MS Word document, but want to escape all the compatibility and security problems associated with MS software. (see http://www.flashID.org) It seemed that OOo portable was the way to achieve a free-standing document that was not dependent on external software, but provided the level of security we needed. However, as it takes some 20 - 30 minutes to load OOo onto the flash drive, it looks as though we are stuck with MS Word until something better comes along.

Unless we can strip OOo down to the essentials and reduce the transfer time significantly.
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Re: Writer as a free-standing program

Postby Villeroy » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:17 pm

PDF :?:
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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Re: Writer as a free-standing program

Postby TheGurkha » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:27 pm

The answer is simple. We are selling USB flash drives with a pre-loaded MS Word document, but want to escape all the compatibility and security problems associated with MS software. (see http://www.flashID.org) It seemed that OOo portable was the way to achieve a free-standing document that was not dependent on external software, but provided the level of security we needed. However, as it takes some 20 - 30 minutes to load OOo onto the flash drive, it looks as though we are stuck with MS Word until something better comes along.


That's the sort of information that would have made me understand a lot quicker if it had been provided a lot sooner! but Villeroy's right: PDF sounds like it fits the bill. You can get portable and very lightweight PDF readers. That might suit your needs better.

How about: Sumatra Portable
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Re: Writer as a free-standing program

Postby peterws » Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:24 pm

Sorry if I erred on the side of brevity.
No, a PDF reader will not work because people need to be able to provide the information required in the pre-loaded document and my understanding is that with a pdf reader no changes can be made to the document It still looks as though I'm stuck with MS Word.
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Re: Writer as a free-standing program

Postby TheGurkha » Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:31 pm

Ah, I thought you were making the documents for them as part of the service. So the end-user has to be able to edit it - OK let me think on it.

 Edit: Perhaps you could do something with HTML? Easily editable by whatever editor the user has, its very small, it opens in any browser. You can get portable browsers too. 
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Re: Writer as a free-standing program

Postby Villeroy » Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:35 pm

PDF forms :?:
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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Re: Writer as a free-standing program

Postby peterws » Tue Apr 21, 2009 12:19 am

TheGurkha wrote:Ah, I thought you were making the documents for them as part of the service. So the end-user has to be able to edit it - OK let me think on it.

 Edit: Perhaps you could do something with HTML? Easily editable by whatever editor the user has, its very small, it opens in any browser. You can get portable browsers too. 


I have tried HTML but it doesn't provide any data security for users. (I have been working on this for three years and have tried many alternative means of delivery and really thought I was onto a winner with portable OOo, but alas it appears not.)

As it stands at the moment, the buyer completes fields in the Word document then password protects it so it is Read Only for anybody else - say emergency services, hospital, etc. I have looked at PDF forms but understand the readers do not allow changes to documents. I have looked at HTML, as I have said, but there is no security against tampering with data. I have looked at ASCII txt documents, but they look like crude and are far from user-friendly.

I have also looked at retiring to a desert island, but that is not the answer either :D
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Re: Writer as a free-standing program

Postby TheGurkha » Tue Apr 21, 2009 12:24 am

Maybe you need a new process. Perhaps the user fills in a form on-line and your system emails them a PDF?

Actually the free version of PDF-Xchange (a PDF reader) has a type writer tool that allows you to type text in PDFs.

A tricky one. I'll think further on it.
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Re: Writer as a free-standing program

Postby peterws » Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:06 am

TheGurkha wrote:Maybe you need a new process. Perhaps the user fills in a form on-line and your system emails them a PDF?

Actually the free version of PDF-Xchange (a PDF reader) has a type writer tool that allows you to type text in PDFs.

A tricky one. I'll think further on it.


PDF-XChange works in that respect but offers no security.

I have managed to thin OOo Portable down to 52.4 MB with functionality for my purposes but obviously that still takes much too long to transfer to a USB. There are may dll files and so on, but I don't possess the expertise to determine what must stay and what can go. So far I have used a process of trial and error to determine which is which, but there are still some significantly large folders in the OOo suite. We can't go the online route because one of our selling points is that the owner of the device owns and controls the information placed on it - or in it??

Once again, I must say how much I appreciate your help
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Re: Writer as a free-standing program

Postby TheGurkha » Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:15 pm

Coming at it from another angle, could you supply a 'golden image' that the manufacturer of the sticks could mass-produce for you, so they arrive with the software already on them?

Apart from that, my thoughts keep coming back to a scheme I had to come up with once, that had a not too dissimilar set of needs.

The customer comes to a web site and fills in a form. The data they enter is used as the body text to create a PDF. The PDF is protected by a randomly generated, long password, and the settings within the PDF can be set to limit the printing, copying, etc, to suit your needs. The PDF and another file is emailed to the user. This other file is a small text file of 256 seemingly random hex numbers. In fact, hidden in here and scattered throughout the file is the password.

I once used a cheap PDF toolkit to make a simple PDF reader. With such a toolkit you could rapidly create a simple PDF viewer that doesn't have to be anything complicated, just enough to display the document. But because you have created the reader yourself, you can have a routine in it that understands the encryption/obfuscation of the 256 byte text file, so it can retrieve the password from the key file and use it to open the PDF. But only the PDF reader on that particular stick could open it, and only if it has the correct 256 character key file. All passwords would be different, and all key files would therefore be different.

No user data needs to be stored on the web site.

The only file you need to put on the USB stick is the PDF reader, and that should be small and lightweight.

(The scheme I had to come up with also tied the installation to the target PC by encrypting some PC specific info and then hiding that in the key file too, so that it only opened when used on the 'legitimate PC', by adding data to the key file during the installation, and it was all check-summed etc. But you probably don't need to go to that level of paranoia.)
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