IE9s "Pinned Websites"

Paul Thurrott has the lowdown on the new IE9. It takes the Chrome approach: websites are apps, and the browser should get out of the way. One new thing is that Windows 7 users will be able to pin bookmarks to the taskbar just as though they were apps:

IE 9 allows you to pin web site shortcuts to the Windows taskbar and Start menu just as you would application shortcuts. To do so, you drag the site icon from the One Box (address bar) to either location. If you’re familiar with how this works with applications, there are no huge surprises. But when you do pin a web site, the IE window will reappear with automatic customizations: The Home button is gone, replaced by a new site home button that appears to the left of the Back button. The Back and Forward buttons are colorized to match the site design. And the pinned shortcut gets some default jump list items, assuming the site hasn’t customized that.

Paul has already done this to his own site, and perusing “View source”, I found out more. The pinned taskbar icon will be derived from the sites favicon (good luck with that, Mozillas tried to tackle their low res back in the day). In addition to this, Microsoft wants you to add a few lines of vendor specific meta tags:

<meta name="msapplication-tooltip" content="SuperSite for Windows" />
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Windows 7;action-uri=/win7;icon-uri=/images/icon_win7.ico" />
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Windows Phone 7;action-uri=/mobile;icon-uri=/images/icon_phone.ico" />

This is a different approach than that of Google, which — to be fair — pioneered this whole “the web is the app” strategy. Chrome Web-Apps may not be integrated in your Windows 7 taskbar, but they will be pinned to your Chrome browser and synced. Chrome Web-Apps are bundled in zip files containing icons and permission lists, and you’ll be able to buy these bundles in the Chrome Web-App Store. While either strategy may fail, Googles is certainly the most ambitious one.