All posts tagged ‘Prism’

Mozilla Labs Retires Prism Project

Mozilla Labs is retiring its Prism project in favor of the new Chromeless experiment. Prism allowed you to create desktop-like apps out of individual websites. Chromeless is a similar, though much more ambitious web-to-desktop project.

Because of the overlap between the two, Mozilla Labs has decided to stop developing Prism. If you’re a fan of Prism, rest assured that you can still use any apps you’ve created with Prism, but there won’t be any further development on the project. It’s unclear what that will mean in the long run for apps like Zimbra, which rely heavily on Prism.

The Chromeless project, which was announced last year, also aims to bring web development to the desktop. But where Prism essentially captured a website and isolated it as a standalone app, Chromeless adds a new set of APIs that allow apps to interact with the desktop like a native application.

One of Chromeless’ lofty goals is to allow desktop apps to be written using standard HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Using the same underlying code that powers Firefox, along with a few extra APIs to interact with the underlying operating system, the Chromeless project may one day make it possible to author desktop applications that are indistinguishable from applications written with OS-native tools.

For now though Chromeless is still a very experimental effort and a long way from complete. If you’re interested in learning more, head over to the Chromeless page on Mozilla Labs.

See Also:

File Under: Browsers, HTML5, Web Apps

Mozilla Gets Ready to Put Prism on Your Desktop With New Beta Release

Soon, you’ll be able to pull your favorite website — like Gmail or YouTube — out of the web browser and run it as a stand-alone application on your computer’s desktop. Mozilla has announced that its Prism software, one such technology that makes it easy to run web apps on your desktop, is very close to a final release.

The Prism team is getting ready to push out a third beta release of Prism 1.0, which will include all the changes due to arrive in Firefox 3.6. If you’d like to help out testing Prism, you can download the standalone Prism 1.0b3pre from Prism developer Matt Gertner’s website.

In out testing setting up a Prism app couldn’t be simpler — just plugin the URL, decided whether or not you want to see the URL bar and give your app a name. Prism will then fetch the website’s favicon, turn that into an icon and put the new app in dock, desktop, system menu or anywhere else you want.

If you opt to use the Firefox plugin, Prism gets even easier — just right-click on any webpage and you’ll see an option to turn that page into a stand-alone, Prism app.

Keep in mind this is a beta release (technically a beta pre-release), but in our experience Prism was stable and fast.

Prism faces some stiff competition these days from the likes of Microsoft’s Silverlight, which allows for similar actions, and perhaps more so from Adobe’s AIR platform, which has gotten a boost in popularity since it’s become the platform of choice for the popular stand-alone Twitter clients Seesmic Desktop, Twhirl, and Tweetdeck.

But while AIR and Silverlight both require proprietary tools to build and run applications, Prism uses the same open-source foundations you’ll find in Firefox.

Perhaps Prism’s closest competitor is FluidApp, which is more or less the same thing, but uses WebKit to render web apps. Although it became life as a proprietary project, Fluid went open source at the end of 2009.

See Also: