Virtualization of operating systems is all the rage these days; the benefits to software developers and testers are clear. What if you could virtualize applications? According to Xenocode, you can. The company today released Virtual Application Studio, a US$40-per-seat environment that turns an application into a self-contained executable, able to be e-mailed or transported on a USB drive and run on any modern Windows PC.

“The big problem is that [developers] have to install the .NET framework on the client machine,” to enable someone without the framework to run their application said Xenocode CEO Kenji Obata in a phone interview. “If you built an app for .NET 1.0 and you ran it on .NET 2.0, it was broken.”

One of the company’s early products was a virtualization engine for.NET. “We assured that you had a known-good environment to execute your application,” he said. With today's release of Virtual Application Studio, the company adds Java, browser and native Windows apps to the mix. “We virtualize the registry, file system, kernel and core operating system MDIs,” passing along all of the application’s dependencies to the underlying Windows XP, 2003 or Vista operating system, he said. “You’re not at the mercy of what’s installed on the user’s device—what version of Java, Windows. We make apps available anywhere, instantly and reliably. You double-click a file and it runs immediately. There are no intermediate steps or other dependencies.”

The company offers free, full-featured 14-day bombware, at That period can be extended, Obata said, but for $40 per seat and no royalties or deployment limitations, it’s hardly worth it.

The tool adds about 500KB to the application payload, Obata added, and does not affect the application’s execution or underpinnings in any way. “It adds negligible performance overhead. You can run dozens and dozens of Xenocoded apps without any significant performance degradation.” Don’t try that with VMware.

Xenocode isn't portable.
I tried it myself...

The registry isolation isn't as good as ThinApp's.