Using Mozilla Prism To Run Web Apps Seamlessly

Prism is a new side project by the Mozilla team. It’s a nifty way to run specific web applications in an embedded browser of sorts.

If you haven’t seen it yet, imagine a letterboxed web browser – all you see is the content. There is nothing else showing in the window – back/forward navigation buttons, location bar, status bar, all gone.

I’ve found a dozen uses for it, but I think my two favorites are embedded videos (like Chris Pirillo) and Google Reader.

Prism is available for all major platforms – Linux, Mac and Windows. It’s really simple, just install it (or unzip it) and open up the Prism progam, and fill out the information it asks for, like URL or Name.

Prism does not share cookies or any other settings with Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari. This is nice if you have separate accounts and don’t want to mix things up.

In Ubuntu 7.10, I setup a Widget Layer rule in Advanced Desktop Effects Settings (ccsm) to match all windows set to be “Always On Top” using the following rule: state=above This setting lets me easily toggle windows to be set as a widget (or not) by simply setting the window as “Always On Top” after right clicking the title bar. Really simple to setup, then just F9 by default to view the widget layer.

Here’s a screenshot of my current setup:

Do you use Prism or Widget Layer rules in a creative way? Let me know in the comments.

  • jambarama

    I use a number of browsers. In firefox I use tinymenu and slide all my menu bars onto a single top bar. In epiphany I tossed the bookmark bar. In kazehakase I removed everything – menubar, tab bar, bookmark bar – so it is quite a bit like prism for me.

    I find the great value in prism to be that it keeps all the cookies & whatnot seperate. I’ve been using it for sometime to monitor a webpage where I have multiple accounts.

  • railk

    you know you could just use class=Prism for prism apps? I found state=above problematic because things like the switcher end up in the widget layer, too.

  • Blogger is a good one to use Prism with, you can use it to create a fast desktop blogging application. Also, Pownce currently lacks a desktop application in Linux (due to the fact that Adobe AIR isn’t yet available for it) but you can use Prism to make a fair substitute. Googlemail and Google Reader also work well.

  • AdamB

    That is a REALLY neat way of using that widget layer! Thank you!!

  • Yeah I love prism, use it mostly for Pandora. Frees up a tab in FF and seems to use less memory 😉