WebRunner becomes Prism – A Mozilla Labs Project

Today, WebRunner is becoming a Mozilla Labs project. We are also rebranding WebRunner as Prism, see the announcement for more details. Alex Faaborg also has a post covering some of the user experience goals for Prism. Mozilla Labs gives us access to a user feedback forum, support infrastructure and some great resources for planning, designing and implementing features.

In addition to the name change, there are some technical changes that might affect current WebRunner users:

  • Application identifiers are changing from “webrunner” to “prism” – Besides the executable name change, this means that the profile folder is located under a “Prism” folder and the ID used by extensions changed to “prism@developer.mozilla.org”
  • Any desktop shortcuts made with previous versions will continue to work as along as you keep the previous version of WebRunner installed. Bundles (*.webapp) files will continue to work with either version.

Perhaps the simplest thing to do is to uninstall the current WebRunner, install the new Prism and remake your shortcuts using the orginal webapp bundles.

Prism 0.8 also has some neat new features. We have been trying to collect the bugs and feature requests out of the feedback and blog posts. Here are some things that have been added or fixed for the this release:

  • CSS themes – Bundles now support common (all platforms) and OS specific CSS theme overrides. You can make web applications take on different CSS styles
  • Spell check support – Red squiggles and suggestions on the context menu.
  • Better external link handling – Spreadsheets from Google Docs were opening in the default browser.
  • Tooltips support – We now display tooltips for elements with “title” attributes.
  • Copying hyperlinks – Context menu supports copying a link location, if you right click on a link.
  • More “Install Shortcut” options – Quick Launch Bar and Start Menu were added on Windows and Application folder was added on Mac.
  • “Install Web Application” – similar to the “Install Shortcut” dialog, but this will create a web application *without* needing a webapp bundle. Launching Prism without any parameters, or from the Start Menu or Finder, to activate the dialog. (Alex’s post has more details).

We only have a Windows version of Prism ready to go right now. I am on the road and couldn’t get the Mac and Linux versions ready (excuses, excuses). We should have those versions ready next week.

A big thanks to Alex Faaborg, Chris Beard, Myk Melez, Jay Sullivan and Cesar Oliveira for getting WebRunner to Prism!

28 Comments

  1. Håvard Pedersen said,

    October 26, 2007 @ 2:26 am

    I really hope you’ll improve on the OS X system integration. The dock icon is extremely ugly, and is the same for all webapps. :-/

  2. Tristan said,

    October 26, 2007 @ 5:26 am

    Mark, this sounds totally awesome! But can we get a version for the Mac, puuuuuhlease!!

  3. WebRunner Becomes Prism - Roll Your Own WebApp - CyberNet News said,

    October 26, 2007 @ 10:11 am

    […] Homepage [via Mark Finkle]Kudos to RangingTrip for the […]

  4. Mozilla Project Releases: Prism « OSS Blog said,

    October 26, 2007 @ 10:15 am

    […] http://starkravingfinkle.org/blog/2007/10/webrunner-becomes-prism-a-mozilla-labs-project/ […]

  5. Ben Duncan said,

    October 26, 2007 @ 10:38 am

    Nice, something I will look at since I am developing BUSINESS Applications.

    But why not extend it to add ye old SCREEN control code codes so legacy applications can run in it .. and why not ADD the extend those codes so one can layer a GUI type interface on those legacy applications?

    Thanks ..

  6. Earl Gray said,

    October 28, 2007 @ 12:40 pm

    The concept is interesting, in my opinion as well. Unfortunately, I’ve encountered a major problem when testing ‘Prism’, so if anyone among you has an idea of what it’s all about, then thanks for your comments.

    ‘Prism’ does not create the required shortcut, neither in Start Menu, neither on Desktop, nor in Quick Launch Bar. Instead, it opens Notepad and displays what appears to be the content of the aborted shortcut…

    I’m on XP SP2 Home.

    Thanks!

  7. Mozilla Prism: Am I missing something? » Broken Links said,

    October 29, 2007 @ 4:56 am

    […] I’ve read the technical notes and the user experience puff piece, and I can’t get past the fact that it’s just a […]

  8. Phil said,

    October 29, 2007 @ 5:26 pm

    Mark I wonder if you could email me (I assume my email is visible to you).

    I’m involved in a project that could provide some support to Mozilla in regard to Prism.

  9. BobChao said,

    October 30, 2007 @ 2:59 am

    About CSS theme, will we have an example bundle? the document on wiki.m.o didn’t mention this (yet.)

  10. This Is Interesting!!! Prism - Running Web Application on Your Desktop « Syslance Studio said,

    October 30, 2007 @ 4:49 am

    […] We’re working on an extension for Firefox that provides some of this functionality. For more information about the user experience we hope to achieve in Prism, see Alex Faaborg’s blog post. For some of the technical details and new features found in Prism, see Mark Finkle’s blog post. […]

  11. Marco1967 said,

    October 30, 2007 @ 10:41 am

    same Earl Gray

    Prism dos not create the shortcut
    I’m on XP SP2 Professional.

    Taanks in advance

  12. Oscar Morali said,

    October 30, 2007 @ 3:28 pm

    Yeah, The same for me…It doesn’t work on XP SP2 as it seems.

  13. ADBDAT » Prism said,

    October 30, 2007 @ 9:04 pm

    […] We’re working on an extension for Firefox that provides some of this functionality. For more information about the user experience we hope to achieve in Prism, see Alex Faaborg’s blog post. For some of the technical details and new features found in Prism, see Mark Finkle’s blog post. […]

  14. Geek RC1 » Prism said,

    October 31, 2007 @ 5:18 pm

    […] le blog du développeur. (En) Sur le blog du Mozilla Labs. (En) Sur le blog d’Alex Faaborg. (En) Sur Xulfr.org. (Fr) […]

  15. Kevin Hoang Le said,

    October 31, 2007 @ 10:35 pm

    How can I programmatically launch a .webapp file? Thanks

  16. Mozilla Unveils Prism | GrantPalin.com said,

    November 1, 2007 @ 12:08 am

    […] available in the official news release. There is also a wiki for the Prism project. And Mark Finkle provides more techie details behind the […]

  17. mjt said,

    November 1, 2007 @ 7:10 am

    beyond the visual stuff, i’d like to comment on the following:

    … “which allows web applications to run independently” …

    … “It’s about running it in a separate process” …

    that seems to be what i’m reading from the [Prism] proponents. however, when i run multiple Prism apps on my windows box at the office, and i execute Process Explorer (from SysInternals), i see only *one* -xulrunner- in the Task List.

    and if i kill that single xulrunner process, guess what? it killed all three of my -individual- Prism apps … same behavior as if i launched multiple browser windows.

    granted, the memory footprint is small, but i can achieve that with Opera or K-Meleon.

  18. ciobotaru said,

    November 5, 2007 @ 9:14 am

    hi ,
    i am testing an application that i have on my server. i activated ssl and now my application runs on https. on webrunner 0.5 and 0.7 i had no problems but with prism i get an error “invalid security certificate” and i can not open my application. i intend to buy a security certificate as soon as possible but right now i would like to test my application. is there any way to deactivate the error? thanks

  19. Mozilla Prism: A fancy name for a technology as old as the browser | CodeUtopia said,

    November 6, 2007 @ 1:27 am

    […] create shortcuts on your PC which open pages in a GUI-less browser window. Mark Finkle writes in his post about Prism that the spreadsheets from Google were opening in the default browser, apparently instead of the […]

  20. Mark said,

    November 7, 2007 @ 12:04 pm

    Creating webapps is smooth in prism windows
    But any shortcut selection leads to a VBS window opening, and no shortcuts created.
    I’v had to manually re-create shortcuts myself to get the thing to work.
    Where is this documented, it took me a bit to figure out where all the ini settings are stored:

    C:\Documents and Settings\\Application Data\Prism\Profiles\.default\webapps\

    You reference each ‘app’ you create with a shortcut pointing at:
    Target – “C:\Program Files\Prism\prism.exe”
    Arguments : -webapp @prism.app

  21. Mozilla Prism uniendo la web y el escritorio | Denken Über said,

    November 9, 2007 @ 10:56 am

    […] data sobre Mozilla Prism Acá hay un interesante gráfico del diálogo entre aplicaciones, Mark y Alex están ya trabajando en temas de interfaz de uso y de portación a un simple plugin de […]

  22. Open Parenthesis said,

    November 10, 2007 @ 5:47 pm

    Mozilla Prism vs Adobe AIR…

    A few weeks back, Mozilla introduced into Mozilla Labs an application called Prism, which essentially rebrands the old Mozilla WebRunner as a desktop container for web applications.
    As the following image (from the Mozilla Labs Prism page) illustrates…

  23. neunetz.com » Mozilla: Mehr als nur Firefox said,

    November 15, 2007 @ 8:26 pm

    […] hieß bis vor Kurzem WebRunner. Ich hatte auf imgriff vor einiger Zeit über damals noch WebRunner geschrieben. Die wichtigste […]

  24. shector said,

    November 17, 2007 @ 8:59 am

    a bug for external links:
    in google reader we can use “v” to open an item in a new page or tab, and in prism, unlike click the link this will open a new prism window instead of the default browser, hope you can fix this.

  25. 127.0.0.1 said,

    November 20, 2007 @ 4:35 pm

    Mozilla Prism…

    Ik had er nog nooit van gehoord, maar het bestaat toch al even: Mozilla Prism.

    Het idee is als volgt: Maak van een website een programma.
    Dus ipv dat je in het vervolg Firefox opstart om naar bijvoorbeeld Gmail te gaan, kun je nu een Prism koppel…

  26. Mozilla Labs Blog » Blog Archive » Prism said,

    November 25, 2007 @ 1:01 am

    […] We’re working on an extension for Firefox that provides some of this functionality. For more information about the user experience we hope to achieve in Prism, see Alex Faaborg’s blog post. For some of the technical details and new features found in Prism, see Mark Finkle’s blog post. […]

  27. Using Mozilla Prism on Linux | Linux Tech Daily said,

    November 28, 2007 @ 4:11 pm

    […] Finkle gets into further detail about Prism. Prism Mozilla […]

  28. … » Blog Archive » Prism said,

    December 6, 2007 @ 3:30 pm

    […] We’re working on an extension for Firefox that provides some of thisfunctionality. For more information about the user experience we hopeto achieve in Prism, see Alex Faaborg’s blog post. For some of the technical details and new features found in Prism, see Mark Finkle’s blog post. […]

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