Mac users rejoice! Am I the only one who thinks Adobe Air has been pretty underwhelming despite such promise at inception? Anyway, here I was, wasting the whole day surfing for productivity & GTD apps [oh the irony], and I stumbled across Fluid. Fluid is Mac’s answer to Prism, and Prism is the beta version of awesomeness that Air could’ve been. Am I making sense?
Remember one of Chrome’s features is the ability to bookmark any webapp as a Chrome app, with it’s own icon and sandboxed window? Well Fluid does that, now, on a Mac, so we don’t have to wait for Chrome. What’s the big deal, you ask? Productivity! Features like Speed Dial [and variants] among others really cause users with pseudo-ADD [like me] to go into extended closed loops of surfing when all they originally wanted to do was check Gmail. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have a browser window that lets you check mail, but nothing else? Yeah, thought so. Like a specialised widget, just fully functional?
Two birds with one stone definitely; gone are the times when laggy tabs in another page crash the entire browser in the process. I’m also pretty sure there is a RAM benefit that I’m unable to verify from my Activity Monitor; someone do the honours?
Of course you didn’t think that was the only benefit, did you? Think of
Fluid also has extension support [not Firefox extensions but custom Webkit extensions] which could see customisability later in its lifetime.
So how does it work? Fire up Fluid, and it gives a popup form to fill up the url of the page you want to make into a webapp, the name you want to call the app, where you want the app to be saved and the icon for the app [by default it adopts the favicon of the webapp, but this may not please some people’s aesthetics]. Enter all that in, and it generates a sandboxed app that works like Safari would, including tabbed browsing. The only difference is the conspicuous lack of an address bar [which is a GOOD THING].
It’s sandboxed in the sense that, once generated, it’s independent of the Fluid app, and also other webapps made by Fluid. This is important to note, because you can’t save Facebook [for example] userscripts in the Gmail app’s userscript folder and expect the Facebook app to comply.
I think it’s pretty sweet. What say you?
PS: Looking up the “creator” of Fluid yielded a link to his blog: http://www.ditchnet.org/wp/
Turns out the dude was an Apple Engineer working on Dashboard and Dashboard widgets so I think the Webclip similarity is no coincidence.