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.
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Among all the projects available at the Mozilla Foundation, one little application, Prism (formerly known as WebRunner), hasn't gotten much attention. Understandable, in a way, because Prism seems like just a stripped-down Firefox window in which to view web sites—which it is, but that can be a great thing. With the help of a few utilities, web applications in Prism can be just as convenient to launch and use as your standard-installation desktop programs. Let's take a look at where Prism really works and how to get more out of it after the jump.
If you're already using the Hardy Heron Beta, the next version of the Ubuntu Linux operating system, you've also got a dead-simple means of getting web apps like Google Docs, Google Calendar, Facebook, and others running in Mozilla's online/offline access program, Prism. The Ubuntu 8.04 repositories already have a lot of Google and a few other apps available for installing (sudo apt-get install prism-google-mail installs a Gmail interface, for instance), but you create more using the official Firefox add-on. Hit the link for Tombuntu's expanded explanation, and leave your impressions of the Ubuntu/Prism integration in the comments. Easily Install Prism Web Apps in Ubuntu
Ever since Google updated the web-based Google Talk gadget, I've firmly felt that the web-based Google Talk is head and shoulders above the desktop client (if you don't need file transfer or voice calls, that is). Last week we told you about Prism, Mozilla's update to the stripped-down browser and web application environment WebRunner. Put the two together (using this URL when you create the Prism application) and you've got what feels very much like a desktop version of the Google Talk gadget. Prism is still very early in development, currently Windows-only, and—honestly—requires way more memory than I'd like (around 30MB for my Google Talk), but with more time and development, the single-use approach to web applications as desktop apps could catch on. Thanks Jon!