Mozilla Prism
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Do you remember the WebRunner browser that we wrote about last week? It was created by Mozilla as a way for websites, such as Google Reader, to provide a standalone application for their users. That way people don’t have to keep their main browser open all of the time if all they want to do is read news on Google Reader, or browse Facebook.

At the time shortcuts (called a WebApp) had to be downloaded for each of the sites that you wanted to use with WebRunner, or you could create your own which was slightly complicated. Now WebRunner has been moved to a Mozilla Labs project, and it was renamed to Prism.

There are two really great things that were introduced with the release of Prism: a create your own WebApp GUI, and inline spell checking. In the screenshot above you can see what the GUI looks like when you run Prism for the first time. It asks you for details on creating your own WebApp, and takes just seconds to do.

Tip: Enabling the location bar does not mean you’ll be able to type an address into it. The location bar is a read-only bar that accepts no input, so it doesn’t serve any purpose other than telling you what site you are currently on.

And spell checking! Oh how I love the inline spell checking. It is arguably Firefox’s best feature, and now you can use it in Prism. This is great news for anyone who wants to use Prism for writing emails. Not to mention Prism’s extremely low memory footprint, which means it will be friendly on your system’s resources.

I believe that Prism really has a great future, and it will be interesting to see if offline support ever finds its way into the project. That would really make it even more superb!

Prism Homepage [via Mark Finkle]
Kudos to RangingTrip for the tip!

There Are 13 Comments

  1. I love the new stuff coming out of Mozilla these days. I have to give this a try this weekend but at first look I am not sure if I’ll find this useful for my browsing habits. I am the kind who works with 20 faviconized tabs and hardly ever get on the web to do just one thing. May be it’s just me.. :P

    On the other hand, most good things aren’t obvious at first to a person like me. :mrgreen:

  2. Well, I know some people have seen terrible memory leaks in Firefox while using Google Reader. With this you would actually be able to have Google Reader open in Prism so that if a memory leak occurs you don’t have to restart the entire browser.

  3. This sounds like a great idea- and something I might actually use! Especially for the few sites that I visit everday and wouldn’t mind having open in its own browser.

  4. Looks at present like Microsoft’s HTML Applications (HTAs). But of course it’ll get more powerful.

  5. It’s a cool idea, but too buggy to use in its current state. If I run a web app with it while Firefox is open, then close the web app, it will crash and hog all my CPU and RAM until I kill it with the task manager.

  6. Ian Cammarata wrote:
    It’s a cool idea, but too buggy to use in its current state. If I run a web app with it while Firefox is open, then close the web app, it will crash and hog all my CPU and RAM until I kill it with the task manager.

    I’m sure the bugs will get squashed pretty quick. They are just trying to pump out new versions as fast as possible to gain the public’s interest.

  7. and from here you can download some installers for your favorite websites (from gmail to meebo):
    [wiki.mozilla.org]

    make sure just not to let the OS open the file as zip, cause prism should recognize them. after it opens, click on the button on the lower right corner, and select install to desktop, to create the shortcut.

  8. You could do it that way, but it’s so easy to create your own configurations and sites that it’s almost not necessary to do that.

  9. does any1 know how i can setup proxy for prism? since i need it to run it from my office. i didn’t see an option for that anywhere really.

  10. No, I don’t think a proxy is an option with Prism. That is something they should probably include in the future though because a lot of people won’t be able to use it without being able to customize a proxy.

  11. silly me – after a quick search in Prism forums i found this guide the claims to enable you to setup a proxy server in prism by using the about:config
    [labs.mozilla.com]

    i haven’t tried this yet, but i hope it will work. and i guess through the use of about:config, you probably can make prism do other things as well.

  12. Jack of all Trades wrote:
    silly me – after a quick search in Prism forums i found this guide the claims to enable you to setup a proxy server in prism by using the about:config
    [labs.mozilla.com]

    i haven’t tried this yet, but i hope it will work. and i guess through the use of about:config, you probably can make prism do other things as well.

    Ha, I would have never thought about the about:config thing. That’s pretty clever.

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