Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Fluid - Free Site Specific Browser for Mac OS X Leopard

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Are you a Gmail, Facebook, Campfire or Pandora fanatic? Do you have 20 or more browser tabs open at all times? Are you tired of some random site or Flash ad crashing your browser and causing you to lose your (say) Google Docs data in another tab?

OS X Leopard Dock with an icon for Facebook.app right along normal apps like Dashboard, Mail, and TextMate.

If so, Site Specific Browsers (SSBs) provide a great solution for your WebApp woes. Using Fluid, you can create SSBs to run each of your favorite WebApps as a separate Cocoa desktop application. Fluid gives any WebApp a home on your Mac OS X desktop complete with Dock icon, standard menu bar, logical separation from your other web browsing activity, and many, many other goodies.

Small OS X window titled 'Fluid' with label 'Convert to Desktop Application', two text fields labeled 'URL' and 'Name' and 'Create' button. The 'URL' text field value is 'facebook.com' and the 'Name' text field value is 'Facebook'.

Fluid includes Tabbed Browsing, built-in Userscripting (aka Greasemonkey), URL pattern matching for browsing whitelists and blacklists, bookmarks, auto-software updates via the Sparkle Update framework, custom SSB icons, a JavaScript API for showing Dock badges, Growl notifications, and Dock menu items, and more.

The Fluid Thumbnail Plug-in allows you to browse the web with CoverFlow or iPhoto-like thumbnail previews for links on the current page. Watch the screencast in the sidebar on the right to see the Thumbnail Plug-in in action. How does the Thumbnail Plug-in know how to find the links on the current page from which to make the thumbnails? Simple... Use CSS selectors to select links or images for a given URL pattern (like *google.com*). Add CoverFlow support for your own site with a simple CSS selector!

How does Fluid work?

Fluid itself is a very small application. When launched, Fluid displays a little tiny window where you specify the URL of a WebApp you'd like to run in a Site Specific Browser. Provide an application name, specify a Location and an Icon, click 'Create' and you'll be prompted to launch the new native Mac app you've just created.

Use Fluid to run YouTube, GTalk, Flickr, Basecamp, Delicious, .Mac webmail, or any other WebApp as a separate Mac desktop application.

(Shown here: Fluid, Campfire, Flickr, Fluther, Gmail, FriendFeed, github, Google Reader, Yahoo! Messenger, Muxtape, Tumblr, YouTube)

Anytime you click a link to another site in an SSB, the link is opened in your system default web browser, keeping your SSB dedicated to the original site you've specified.

Fluid also offers the ability to convert your favorite webapp into a MenuExtra SSB - an SSB that exists only as an icon in your OS X system Status Bar next to other MenuExtras like the Clock and Spotlight. Click the MenuExtra SSB's icon and your chosen webapp appears as a drop down window. Perfect for sites you access multiple times a day (like Twitter clients, email, or Digg).

Fluid was inspired by the excellent Prism (formerly WebRunner) project by Mozilla Labs. Check out Prism for much more information about SSBs and the benefits they provide to WebApp lovers.

Fluid is very similar in nature to Prism, but is based on Safari's WebKit rendering engine. And SSBs created by Fluid are true, native Cocoa OS X applications offering seamless integration into the Mac OS.