Bring a web application closer to the desktop via Prism

Posted by on May 11, 2009 in Firefox, Windows

Although not necessarily a blog topic of choice I couldn’t resist myself  to not introduce Mozilla’s Firefox latest extension for “Prism”.  This little add-on allows you to convert a website to a desktop application in a matter of a couple of clicks.  The web applications that immediately came to mind included Google Apps, Facebook and YouTube.

So I went ahead, downloaded the add-on from here and installed it on my Firefox browser (currently running Firefox 3.5b4 on my MAC OS X).  From here it’s pretty straight forward, you browse to the site you want to convert as a desktop application, click on Tools and click on convert website to application.

prism firefox

The only trick here is by default, Firefox will detect the favicon icon from the website which in most cases is very small, so it’s worth doing a google search for a larger icon and changing it to that through settings.

You can then specify where you want the shortcut to appear and whalla! That’s all that is needed to convert a web site to a desktop application that you can launch, minimize, maximise and close like any application running on your desktop.

The addon supports the following as per Mozilla’s website;

* Auto-update support
* Preferences for fonts, colors and proxy settings
* Clear private data
* Submenu support for tray icon and dock menus
* Improvements to OS X 10.4 (Tiger) support
* Support for SSL exceptions

Prism will run wherever Firefox is supported including Windows, Linux and MAC OS X.

Below is a screen capture of my Gmail Account running as a separate app on my MAC.  Notice the MAC Toolbar application buttons on the top left corner.

gmail, prism, mozilla

I have already converted Facebook and Gmail as desktop applications, YouTube is next.  Below are the icons listed in my OS X Dock.  I now wonder how well it will work with the latest Exchange 2010 Beta Outlook Web Access where the premium client is now supported in Firefox.