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Bring your Web App Home – Get Fluid

Recently I have been writing a lot of reviews of web applications and the trend today reflects people’s preferences. Everyone is moving their favorite desktop applications online. The cloud is my home, not the desktop! Web applications like Gmail, Facebook, Campfire, WorkFlowy, Freshbooks and Pandora are becoming more and more like desktop applications every day. However running each of these web apps in an individual tab in your browser can be a real pain. I have twenty five open tabs at any given time in my browser window and while that is not over the top, apps that are AJAX or Flash driven consume too much memory for my browser’s liking.

Fluid

The Solution

Fluid lets you create a Site Specific Browser (SSB) out of any website or web application, effectively turning your favorite web apps into desktop apps. Using Fluid to create an SSB out of your favorite website is simple. Enter the website’s URL, provide a name, and optionally choose an icon. Click “Create”, and within seconds your chosen website has been converted into a fully native Mac desktop application that appears in your Dock. Take Google Reader or Gmail for example, you’ll be able to even see unread counts as a dock badge on your dock icon not to mention Growl notifications.

Tether the Cloud to your Desktop

Converting a web app into a Mac app is easy, launch Fluid and you’ll be greeted by a user friendly window. Enter the URL of the web app you’re converting, the name of the app, and choose between using the website’s favicon as a dock icon (not recommended as your icon will be blurry), or choose your own icon (highly recommended). Yes, I know I started this article with a quotable quote ‘The cloud is my home, not the desktop!’ and yet, I want to tie the cloud to my desktop.

And Fluid offers me just that. There is no off-line usage , but then who is offline these days? I remember the last time my Internet connection went offline and the panic attack that resulted ended in my service provider offering me assurance messages on Twitter while the service was restored all of seventeen minutes later. So if you spend more time online and have successfully migrated all your vital application to the cloud, look no further than Fluid to manage them on your desktop.

Features

  • Open Plug-in Architecture
  • Built-in Userscripting
  • Userstyles
  • Global Keyboard Shortcut
  • Single-Window Browsing Mode
  • BrowsaBrowsa Plug-in for Sidebars
  • TinyURL creation/expansion
  • Full-Screen Mode
  • Customizable URL Shortcuts
  • Hidden “Closed” Windows
  • Twitter Timeline Plug-in
  • Thumbnail Plug-in for CoverFlow
  • Session Restore
  • Full WebInspector
  • Custom User-Agent Strings

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