Two years ago today, VMware released ThinApp to the world. The ThinApp product was originally released under the product name "Thinstall" in March of 2001 by a little company named Jitit. VMware acquired Thinstall in January of 2008, and after obtaining the trademark "ThinApp", it re-released the product as ThinApp 4.0.
The first version of Thinstall only supported the ability to bind DLL files with EXE files to eliminate the need to ship multiple-file applications for things like vb6 applications. Soon after it's initial release, Thinstall introduced the concept of a virtual registry which allowed vb6 developers to use COM components embedded in their application without system registry changes. Because developers needed to ship components that were compressed or contained checksum validation code, Thinstall added support for a compressed virtual filesystem. Over time, the ThinApp became a general purpose means of packaging and distributing custom and off-the-shelf applications. Thinstall 3.0 was a big milestone because it introduced the ability to use full machine snapshots to automatically create packages from existing installers.
Below is a screen shot from an early version of Thinstall (2.0).
The Thinstall/ThinApp virtualization solution has been used by a combination of end-users, independent software vendors, and corporate IT Administrators to deploy hundreds of millions of application instances around the world to every Intel based version since Windows 95.
ThinApp has come a long way since it's inception in 2001 and first VMware debut in 2008, Happy Birthday ThinApp!