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Stand alone chrome for Windows and Mac

Posted on 2012-04-13
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Last Modified: 2012-04-28
I have a website, really simple static content.

Meaning pure HTML (5) and JavaScript.

Problem is that I cannot count on two things my customers need to see my website:

An HTML 5 capable browser (ideally chrome or even firefox)
An internet connection

Therefore the solution involves a CD with all the HTML, CSS and JS files plus images and PDFs which solves the internet connection problem. But I'm left with dealing with the customers' browser. I CANNOT expect them to use chrome. So I must provide a Standalone Chrome which requires no installation and loads only the website attached, with no menus, no address bar and no tabs.

Is this possible? If so how?

Thanks
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Question by:robrodp
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BillDL earned 500 total points
ID: 37845738
There is a website dedicated to providing applications in a "portable" format that will run from a USB Flash Drive and can be carried from computer to computer:
http://portableapps.com

Although the aim is to make all of the application's resources available from the Flash Drive and not have any reliance on the operating system or other files installed on the hard drive, and also to create an application that does not write files to the hard drive or the host computer's registry, no "portable" application can ever be completely compliant in these respects.  Whenever anything is run on a computer it will always leave traces of something.

I have experimented a lot in the past with supposedly standalone browsers, and there were only a few that did not write some settings to the hard drive.  Unfortunately the ones I tested are now pretty old and will certainly not be HTML5-compliant.

Running anything that tries to update its own settings while being used or as it is closed obviously needs write access to wherever it stores those settings.  This has always been the problem with the Read-Only medium of a CD.  Referring back to the older standalone browsers I used, the updating of the program's *.INI file that existed in the program folder of the CD had to be altered so as to tell the program to never write back to it, ie. "don't save settings on exit".

Whilst there IS a version of Google Chrome that has been made portable for Windows users:
http://portableapps.com/apps/internet/google_chrome_portable
I am pretty sure that this will need to write back something to its own files.  So while this will certainly run from a USB Flash Drive and will qualify as "standalone", I have my doubts as to whether it will work without error when run from a CD or DVD.

There are other "portable" browsers such as Firefox and Opera:
http://portableapps.com/apps/internet
but I think the same issue will be common to all of them when run from CD.

Read this:
http://portableapps.com/apps/internet/firefox_portable
http://portableapps.com/support/firefox_portable#cd

You would then have to go into the fierfox configuration pages ("about:config") and disable things like automatic updating, and scanning for plugins before writing the whole lot to CD:
http://kb.mozillazine.org/Plugin_scanning
It is still possible that an existing installation of firefox and its various plugins on the computer into which the CD is inserted could be picked up by the CD version and cause errors.

I see one on the above page named "Private Browsing" that works with portable firefox to enhance privacy, which I would have thought has a close relationship with what traces are left on the medium it is being run from.  Perhaps that, or the browser named "Iron" on the same page might eliminate the necessity of the browser to write any data back and allow it to run from CD.

You might want to look into the following, but again "portable" may be fine for read/write enabled media, but not necessarily CDs:
http://www.qtweb.net/qtweb.php

So, a "portable" version of Chromium purportedly runs from CD:
http://www.downloadplex.com/Windows/Network-Internet/Browsers/chromium-portable_331814.html
but that doesn't necessarily mean that it is completely self-contained unless it specifies this fact.  Someone else has referred to his own version of Opera as "portable" and gone as far as mentioning running from CD:
http://www.kejut.com/operaportable
but it's hardly portable when it does what he describes:
- No traces left after exiting - files are overwritten, not just deleted
- all program files and data are stored in a temporary place on the host computer


Unfortunately I don't really have the time at the moment to be testing out portable browsers, and my CD-RW is bust anyway, but perhaps another expert who has recently used a portable browser from CD will contribute.

Bill
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by:ahoffmann
ID: 37845887
> .. provide a Standalone Chrome ..
http://portableapps.com already mentioned

> .. with no menus, no address bar and no tabs.
some browsers can be started in kiosk-mode
  chrome -kiosk
  opera -fullscreen
  opera -kioskmode
  (firefox  - not directly, you need to hit F11)
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Author Closing Comment

by:robrodp
ID: 37907107
For the PC, the chromium portable and a .bat file that specified windows how to open chromium in --app mode with the right local URL did the trick.

For Mac it was kind of trickier, had to use the deprecated "Titanium Desktop"
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by:BillDL
ID: 37907190
Thank you robrodp.  Glad you managed to get something working.
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