Saturday, August 2, 2008

Recommending 'Prism'

I've been using Prism for quite some time now, around 3-4 months, and i've found it useful. Thought i should share it with others.

'Prism' is an open source product from Mozilla labs. Actually, Prism is the new name for what was called 'WebRunner'. In simple words, Prism creates a web app out of a website B-) The idea is extremely simple, but effective. The concept is not new, although it isn't popular yet.

Prism is based on the concept of a 'Site Specific Browser' i.e a browser using which one can visit only a given specific website. The website's URL is input as a part of the setup, rather than giving it every time you wish to visit it. A SSB does not need to have an address bar or tabs or even any toolbar. There is not a singe button in the window. The only thing it displays is the website. You have to create as many instances of Prism as the number of different websites you wish to browse. A new Prism process, independent of any already running Prisms is created for the new site. I've created apps from my email and RSS reader websites.

The main advantage i've got by using Prism is - it is extremely stable. Firefox, with all the extensions, flash, applets, tens of open tabs, bookmarks etc etc becomes unresponsive at times and even crashes. So far, Prism has never crashed. Also, without the address bar and toolbars, there is more space for the website to use (as a note - Firefox 3(but not 2) provides even more space when used in fullscreen mode). Another small advantage is, since the website is treated as a separate app, i can have a shortcut to it placed on my desktop or quick-launch. I personally, like to use the keyboard more, so i've assigned keyboard short cuts to the webapps. And, of course, nobody stops you from putting your favorite webapps into startup :) Prism uses the same technology (XULRunner + Gecko) as Firefox, so websites should look no different in Prism. Any links pointing outside the domain of the webapp open in the default browser, so no fear of navigating away from the website for which Prism was instantiated.

Overall, its a useful software, worth giving a try.

Here is where you can find it: http://labs.mozilla.com/projects/prism/

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