Windows, Mac: You probably have a few websites that you use all the time — perhaps a special CMS you need for work, a time-tracking site you use to track and bill hours for clients, or a web game you just can’t get enough of. If you’re tired of pulling up your browser each time you need to access it, you have an alternative: Transform it into an app.
I say that with a caveat, as the web service Web2Desk isn’t really doing a crazy amount of heavy lifting to convert your favourite web apps into desktop apps. It’s creating an Electron wrapper for websites.
These wrappers eat up a not-so-insignificant amount of space on your hard drive and will use a good chunk of system memory if you “convert” every website you like into an “app” and run a few of them at once — so choose carefully.
Still, for one-off uses, Web2Desk is certainly handy (even if the service isn’t all that unique). While I wouldn’t use it for any web service that already has an offline app — such as Trello, Twitter or Whatsapp, to use three examples Web2Desk highlights on its site — it’s certainly helpful if you want to, say, let your favourite idle clicker game chug along in a window independent of whatever you’re doing in your web browser.
I also find Web2Desk handy when a web app only has a desktop version for an operating system you don’t use. And if you just don’t want to wait while your browser loads those 40+ tabs you swear you’ll get through someday, “converting” your critical sites into “apps” can save you a little time (and probably eat up fewer system resources than your bulging browser).
To get started, simply hit up Web2Desk’s site. If it doesn’t already have an app for a service you like, just enter the website’s address, give your app a name, pick an icon (or create your own — PNG files only), enter your email, and wait for web2desk to create an app for you to download. You’ll get a link in your email when it’s done.
As mentioned, I wouldn’t do this for every web app you use. A wrapper for the online game Cookie Clicker ate up more than 100MB on my machine, which seems like a lot to me.
Still, Web2Desk is a great tool to file away in your Folder of Useful Bookmarks in your browser, just in case you want an easier way to access some of your favourite web services outside of your primary browser.