I just encountered an unexpected error while creating a portable development server on a USB stick using the latest version of XAMPP portable. This particular application runs on the CakePHP framework and was copied directly from another functioning Windows based machine.
After scratching my head a few moments I realized that the default configuration for XAMPP’s php.ini may be different.
The fix is easy. Go into your php.ini for your php installation and change the following from ‘OFF’ to ‘On’:
short_open_tag = on
Then simply go and restart your apache to apply the changes.