Portable Ebooks and Publications

Applies to HTML Viewer, IE Browser publications.

Deployment Options

HTML Executable can create portable versions of your publications and ebooks. With a portable publication:

  • no installation is required, your publication is stored on a removable device such as a USB flash drive/stick, enabling it to be used on multiple computers.

  • user preferences and publication settings are stored with the software (i.e. they are written to the USB drive). Thus, your users will keep their preferences even if they start the publication on another PC. The Windows registry is not used.

  • no permanent modification is made to any PC the publication is run on after being used.

Self-Extracting publications are portable programs by design.

Portable publications create one or two data file(s) at least in addition to their EXE file:

  • the state file (user preferences, global variables…) is named: [name of the EXE].userpref

  • the license file (trial and registration information) is named: [name of the EXE].license

They are saved in the same folder as the EXE file. Consequently, the storage device should not be read-only. If the publication is unable to write the files in the same folder as its EXE file, it will use the default location on the hard disk. The default location is a subfolder in the User Data directory as explained here that you may customize.

If you don’t want the publication to write the state file, enable “Do not create a user preference file”. Useful if nothing should be written to the storage device.

If you do not create a portable version, you may now specify the name of the folder where a publication should store its settings. By default, it will be a subfolder in the User Data directory. You can obtain the full path at runtime from the global variable HEPubStorageLocation.

Avoid using expiration features for a portable publication. In fact, portable publications store their settings on the USB disk. Consequently, trial settings are saved on the disk too: an end user could easily reset his trial period by removing the settings files. For portable publications, you should forbid the entire access or use Security Profiles to partially lock your publication.

How to lock a portable publication to a given USB disk

If you create a restricted publication, you can configure it so that it works only on a given USB disk/stick. For instance, clients of a publication should have the option to show the secured publication on every computer but should not have the ability to copy it to another USB-stick or computer.

Some disks or USB sticks do not have a manufacturer serial number. Only USB sticks with such serial number will work properly. In order to find out whether this is the case or not, you can use the Disk Information tool that comes with HTML Executable: in HTML Executable, click and choose the Tools / Disk Information menu.

Possible Steps

1) Make sure you have a portable publication (Application Output > Deployment page).

2) Go to the Security > Certificates page and enable “Create a restricted publication”.

3) Double-click on Default and turn on “Do not allow access to the publication without prior registration”.

4) Choose OK and double-click on Registered. Choose Activation Properties, Registration Key and enable “Use hardware-locked registration keys”. Choose OK.

5) IMPORTANT for portable publications: click Advanced Options and select Use the Manufacturer-allocated serial number of the USB disk option.

6) Build your publication and copy it to the USB disk.

7) You can activate the registered certificate of your choice yourself: end users who will run your publication do not need to enter anything as the publication is already pre-registered by you.

To do this, in the Security ribbon, click Key Generator. Enter the name of the registered user, and verify that the destination USB drive with the publication EXE file is ready.

key generator

Click Generate License File: HTML Executable reads the system ID of the USB drive, and generates the appropriate license file directly on the USB drive. Your USB stick is finally ready for distribution.

Of course, you can let end users register your publication themselves, you can replace registration keys with online activation or use different certificates… HTML Executable is versatile on this point and allows a lot of possibilities thanks to certificates and security profiles.


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