Firefox: Prism, the Firefox add-on/stand-alone application that turns web sites into desktop windows, has hit a 1.0 release, promising to let you monitor and launch sites like Gmail from your Mac dock or Windows tray.
When we last looked at Prism, we dug its ability to let you separate the sites that are more like mini-applications—Gmail or Yahoo Mail, Remember the Milk, calendar apps, and, these days, Twitter, to name a few—from your browser, running them in their own window, protecting them from browser crashes and restarts, and, with a few tweaks, keeping them open but out of sight in the system tray.
Mozilla’s caught on to this kind of open-when-needed use, adding built-in support for tray icons (on Windows) or system dock shortcuts (on Macs), along with minimizing the sites to those areas. The other good new things are font control and private data clearing for each window (which was a not-too-small complaint about the previous Prism), and support for notifications and icon updates when you’ve got a new message, chat, or other ping from your web applications (for those sites that support it). I couldn’t quite figure out how to get new mail notifications or icon indicators showing up, but the Prism Features page touts them as present.
Here’s a quick demonstration from Mozilla on creating a Prism app from a site, using the Firefox extension; they’ve also posted a tutorial for stand-alone Prism:
Got a great idea on turning a site into a useful desktop item? Looking for more from Mozilla’s clever little side-project? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.