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Prism 1.0

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Prism 1.0

File Size: 7.98MB

License: Free

Operating Systems: Windows Vista, Windows 2000, Windows XP

HomePage: https://wiki.mozilla.org/WebRunner

Prism is a simple XULRunner based browser that hosts web applications without the normal web browser user interface. Prism is based on a concept called Site Specific Browsers (SSB). An SSB is an application with an embedded browser designed to work exclusively with a single web application. It doesn’t have the menus, toolbars and accoutrements of a normal web browser. Some people have called it a "distraction free browser" because none of the typical browser chrome is used. An SSB also has a tighter integration with the OS and desktop than a typical web application running through a web browser.

SSB Objectives

*Looking at what has already been done and discussed about desktop/webapp integration, the following is a suggested roadmap for SSB experimentation:

*Separate process: When the webapp goes down or locks up, I don’t want anything else affected. Thankfully, Firefox does have session restore, but that is beside the point. When I open many tabs and have several webapps running in a browser, things get slow and unstable after a day or two.

*Minimal UI: A generic browser UI is not needed for webapps. If any UI is present, make it specific to the webapp I am using.

*Basic desktop integration: Create shortcuts to start the webapp, add ability to show specialized icons in the tray or dock and ability to display notifications.

*Platform with extensions: I don’t want to download a full browser runtime for each webapp. I do want to be able to add some custom code/features that are not directly supported in the webapp. I should be able to install one runtime and then get packages or extensions for each webapp. Think Firefox extensions or Greasemonkey scripts. These extensions should be able to tweak the SSB UI as well.

*Open external links in real browser: If I click a link in the webapp that opens a new site, don’t change my webapp browser window. Open all external links in my default/real browser.


*Window title tracking

*Context menu for basic clipboard and selection operations

*Simple Print support via context menu

*About support via context menu which is useful for checking the XULRunner runtime version

*Launch Prism with commandline parameters to host specific webapps

*Web application profile support - parameters for a web app can be saved to an INI-style *.webapp file

^Support for webapp owned popup windows - some email webapps can use a popup to compose email

*Show float-over link destinations in the statusbar so users can see where the link will take them

*Support download manager

*Support for inline spellcheck and suggestions on context menu

*A tool to create new webapp profiles so new webapps can be installed from Prism

*An extension to allow Firefox to create webapp profiles since most of this process starts in the browser

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That is the wiki, they have a website too.


It is kind of like a browser but with just the rendering engine, and no user-interface widgets.

I tried it out when it was beta.

I can see it being pre-loaded with netbooks and nettops and used in cloud computing.

I can also see it used in companies where it is common with a simple webform interface to a database.

It would also be suitable for use for web desktops.

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