Mozilla Unveils Prism: (Another) Web-App Framework

prismlogo

Mozilla has just launched another web-app framework. Prism, kinda like Adobe AIR and Microsoft Silverlight, allows you to take websites with you to the Desktop.

It works this way: first you install Mozilla Prism. Then you start the app and type in the URL of the website you want to take with you to the desktop. Whooptedoo and you have a “standalone application”. Really, it’s like a dedicated Firefox for your application: no toolbars, just the website.

It works. It works well. I like that I can ALT+Tab to Gmail instead of previously having it as an open tab in Firefox.

So far, while you can take websites to the desktop, you can’t take them offline. To my knowledge, there’s no local storage going on, but I’m sure if this is a hit, some offline functionality will arrive, even if it’s just a mashup of Google Gears.

For now, Prism is interesting. It works as advertised and does what it says on the label. Personally, I’ve got desktop versions of Gmail and Google Calendar handy.

Be sure to also read Alex Faaborgs details on the visual direction and brainstorming session on Prism.

5 thoughts on “Mozilla Unveils Prism: (Another) Web-App Framework”

  1. Vindberg, A. says:

    Prism is like a browser window with no controls or addressbar. I simply can’t see the benefits of locking the window on one site. Why remove the addressbar!

    Instead of moving websites into the OS, I think Mozilla should focus on bringing the OS into the browser. They should embed the taskbar into the browsers toolbar (and taking control of alt+tab), then webapplications would start to make sense, in particularly when they become accessable offline.

  2. Joen says:

    Prism is like a browser window with no controls or addressbar. I simply can?t see the benefits of locking the window on one site. Why remove the addressbar!

    First of all, you choose yourself what taskbars you keep. Secondly, I think this is still mainly an experiment. Third, I do see good potential in allowing people to dedicate icon and appspace to single websites.

    Instead of moving websites into the OS, I think Mozilla should focus on bringing the OS into the browser. They should embed the taskbar into the browsers toolbar (and taking control of alt+tab), then webapplications would start to make sense, in particularly when they become accessable offline.

    … and have a Mozilla runtime running all the time? It could work, but I honestly prefer this way.

  3. Dylan says:

    Firefox 3 is supposed to have an offline API I think, so I’m pretty sure Prism will too. Plus I think Prism may currently or probably at least in the future will allow for Google Gears to be installed.

    @Vindberg, A: I really don’t think turning the browser into an OS is the right path. By “locking the window into one site” it creates the appearance of being an OS level application, allowing the OS to manage the window and freeing it from the constraints of the browser. I really don’t think we should abandon the OS for an application running on the OS, that just creates another unnecessary layer.

  4. amnon says:

    Would be interested to hear opinions on JNEXT (http://jnext.org)

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