Mozilla Prism has been around for sometime,but I chose to write about it as its a must have application for all the avid internet users. I find it quite useful to quickly access my Web-Mail and Social Networking accounts as well as Online calendars, without opening my browser.
The Mozilla Prism application is based on the concept known as Site Specific Browsers (SSB). Unlike the usual browsers, a SSB doesn’t have any navigation or status bars. Being a single window, it displays the application or service that you have selected independent from your regular browser. Now the advantage of this approach is, you can choose to open this service without evoking your browser, which can get bloated by several add-ons and plugins and thus has a huge start up time.
In case of the SSB like Mozilla Prism, you can create a shortcut for say your Gmail or Hotmail account, and you can choose to keep it always signed in. So if you need to check your email or maybe Online calendar, all you do is click on the shortcut and take a look at the email or schedule and close it.Thus Mozilla Prism provides a tighter integration between the OS and the Web Applications. The Application shortcuts in the new Google Chrome has taken a cue from Mozilla Prism.
Its quite Fast and Easy – Lets see how it works.
Setting up Web Application Shortcuts in Mozilla Prism:
To get started you first need to download the Mozilla Prism application. You can get it here.
The download is a zip file. You don’t need to install this application. Just extract the application zip file and run the Prism program. You get a window where you need to fill in some information about the application which you wish to access. Lets say you need one click access to your Google Calendar so we fill in the information as shown below.
It gives you various options like enabling navigation and status bars if you want. Also the option to create shortcuts at various locations is provided. By default Prism will pick up the Favicon as the shortcut icon, but can can select your own shortcut image in the setting. Once you fill in all the required details click ok and your shortcuts are created. Easy eh!
Other approach to get Prism is by installing the Mozilla Firefox Addon. Using this addon, you can create shortcut for any website when you are surfing it.
Delete Mozilla Prism Shortcuts:
If you need to delete any shortcut that you have created via Prism, you can go to C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\WebApps and delete the folder of the shortcut you don’t need anymore.
Various Sites/Web Apps for which Prism can be used:
1) Your Online To-Do Lists
2) Your online FM station or Music or News Radio website.
3) Your social bookmarking website.
4) All the Google services like Google reader, Calendar, Gmail, Google Analytics etc
5) Online Feed Readers like Bloglines and Newsgator.(Make them single window feed reader – Almost like a Desktop feed reader)
6) Various Email services like Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail and Gmail.
All these and many more readymade Web App shortcut bundles are present on the Mozilla website. Being an open source project several guys have pitched in and created various application bundles which would get you going quite fast. You can get them here.
Few Advantages of using Mozilla Prism:
1) I always have several tabs opened in every session of Firefox for later reference. So If I need to access my email or calendar I would need to open the browser with all those tabs, just to check the email. However due to prism I can skip that step and just view my email and close it.
2) Another advantage is it provides distraction free viewing. If I have many tabs opened up in Firefox, I tend to open 10 more to read more about the topic. However Prism helps me to focus on thing at hand better. For example plan the week ahead, without reading news and blogs every 2 minutes.
3) Multiple account can have multiple shortcuts. If you have more than 2 Gmail accounts – you can create shortcut for each. In Prism each window has individual session, so you can open two Email accounts simultaneously via Prism.
In a similar way people would find Prism to be useful in various situations as need be.