Extracting Web Apps From the Browser: Fluid and Prism [en]

[fr] Prism et Fluid sont des applications OSX qui vous permettent de créer des mini-applications qui sont en fait une fenêtre de navigateur (Firefox ou Safari) qui n'ouvre qu'une seule URL. Pratique si vous avez l'habitude de consulter Gmail, Twitter, Digg etc. via leur interface web.

This has been a productive morning for a lazy Saturday. A tweet from Tom Morris put me on the track of Fluid, and then Prism. (This is for Mac users, by the way.)

Fluid and Prism are both site-specific browsers, the first based on Safari, the second on Firefox. If you’re the kind of person who always had a Gmail tab open in their browser, and maybe another for Twitter, and for blog comments, and Google Docs, and for Friendfeed, and god knows what, you’ll like this.

Personally, the reason I like desktop clients is that they separate the web service I’m using from the browser. I can Cmd-Tab to it. I don’t see it all the time when I’m in my browser. I don’t lose the tab when my browser crashes.

Site-specific browsers basically allow you to create a simple application which is in fact a single browser window that opens up one single web page. Links in that web page, when clicked, get opened in your default browser.

I have now created “apps” for Identi.ca, Wave, and Gmail, so far. It’s as simple as filling in a small form with URL and title fields.

My only gripe is that I haven’t yet figured out how to replace the URLs favicon by another larger one as the app’s icon. Blown-up favicons are really ugly. I’ve found some sources of icons online, but am not finding all those I need, and clearly not managing to “install” them (I’m sure I don’t need to re-create my apps).

9 thoughts on “Extracting Web Apps From the Browser: Fluid and Prism [en]

  1. I agree. Even more with “google apps”.
    I have my professionnal email, my private domain name, my @google email. I would love to have just one entry point.

  2. Seems there was a mistake in my Google wave URL — corrected now. If you tried it and were told you were not participating in the wave, try again!

  3. Under Windows and with Prism, to change the icon you just need to modify the file stored in C:Documents and Settings{username}Application DataWebApps{WebApp name}iconsdefaultwebapp.ico

    Having never worked with MacOS X, I don’t know where the same icon file is stored but maybe this trail will help you find it.

  4. Woops, a few backslashes where stripped from my comment… The correct path is (with “{bs}” representing a backslash) : C:{bs}Documents and Settings{bs}{username}{bs}Application Data{bs}WebApps{bs}{WebApp name}{bs}icons{bs}default{bs}webapp.ico

  5. here’s a german screencast on how to change the icons, I hope it helps. I’m sure the author is willing to help if there’s a problem with it. His english is quite good as well. Like the idea of a facebook.app so checking this out as well.

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