Make life easier with Fluid

Use Fluid to create a standalone application from a web page. Their site declares, “Your web browser is for browsing.” We alt-tab to quickly switch between desktop applications, but we option-alt-arrow (or some other combination) to switch between browser tabs. As applications increasingly move to the web, I often find myself instinctively reaching for alt-tab when my application is actually running within a browser tab. Also, it is easy to quit the browser completely, closing a web application I actually need.

For example, when I develop a web application, I typically run Cyberduck and Smultron from the desktop and phpMyAdmin and the web application I am developing in Camino, my preferred web browser. Now, I can run phpMyAdmin in its own, separate desktop application, allowing me to alt-tab to it whenever I please. Yes, I know that I could run a desktop mySQL manager, but I prefer phpMyAdmin.

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You could also use Fluid to keep a Facebook, Twitter, or Yahoo! Sports window open separately from your browser.

Fluid’s about page explains that other, similar projects exist, one even open-source and cross-platform.

Fluid seems awfully similar to Mozilla Prism. What gives?

Fluid was very much inspired by the excellent Mozilla Prism project, Adobe Air, and other, earlier Site Specific Browsers like Bubbles. Many people think Prism was the first product in this category, but actually, Prism itself was preceded by other SSB products. Fluid’s goal is to be the best, most native-feeling SSB for Mac OS X Leopard. Prism is cross-platform, which is a huge benefit for lots of users. However, many Mac users prefer a more tightly-integrated, Mac-like SSB application. That is Fluid’s niche. Fluid is a thoroughly native, Cocoa Mac OS X application. No compromises or least-common-denominator tradeoffs.

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One day, we may exclusively use web applications. In the meantime, Fluid seems helpful.

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