WebRunner Followup

Its been just over 2 weeks since we released WebRunner 0.7 and lots of people have tried it out (over 6500 downloads). We have been following blog posts, articles and comments to gather as much feedback as possible. Thanks for everyone who has taken the time to try WebRunner. Even more thanks to those who gave us feedback or made your own webapp bundles. Here’s a summary of what we learned:

Some FAQs

We received lots of feedback in comments and from blog posts. Here are some of the recurring issues:

  • Support for extensions – WebRunner does support extensions. DOM Inspector (found on the command menu) is an extension. WebRunner does not expose a UI for loading extensions yet. So you need to get the extension installed yourself at the moment. Also, many extensions just won’t work in WebRunner. Not only do you need to update the extension (install.rdf) to recognized WebRunner, but the overlay (merging) code will need to be tweaked too.
  • Google Gears support – Since Gears is an extension, it has the some of the problems listed above. Its not visual, so there shouldn’t be an overlay problem. It is possible to hack support for Gears into WebRunner. The best plan for Gears might be to suggest a patch to the Gears team to support WebRunner officially. Gears is open source and it might be possible. NOTE: Alex’s hack is not up to date anymore. The WebRunner ID changed to webrunner@developer.mozilla.org
  • Some way to set options/preferences – Access to a UI for setting things like file download location and proxy settings. Even so far as access to the about:config feature.
  • Multi-profile support – So you could run all Google webapps in a profile, but separate from your Zoho webapps (in their own profile) and separate from general purpose webapps.
  • Better support from Web Appllcations – Some web applications are not really designed to be run through WebRunner. Meebo is a good example. I couldn’t find a way to load just the buddy list in a window, which is what you’d want to do for WebRunner.
  • WebRunner uses Gecko 1.9 – WebRunner is using the newest (not yet released) version of the Gecko rendering engine. The same engine used in Firefox 3. This means we might have some problems, like: Rendering slightly different than Firefox 2 (might be a bug) and cursor/caret missing from GMail when using rich format editing (definitely a bug). Look for this to improve as Gecko 1.9 / Firefox 3 get closer to release.

Please keep the feedback coming. We are working to resolve as many of these issues as we can.

Making Webapp Bundles

Lot’s of people have taken a crack at making a webapp bundle. The WebRunner wiki page lists some of these.

What’s Coming

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 next 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.

Look for the next release sometime next week. Thanks again.

10 Comments

  1. Pascal Van Hecke said,

    October 15, 2007 @ 9:44 am

    I’m not sure whether it’s not already included in “Multi-profile support”, but a feature I would love is cookie management _per_ web app.

    I’m thinking here of Google who wants us to stay logged in with the same google account in all of their applications. With cookie management per Webapp, it should be possible to have a Webrunner window with Google Reader with one account, and Gmail with another account (when you have multiple accounts to check, or simply want to keep feed- and mailreading apart). Or even several Google analytics webapps running in parallel, for all of your several customers.

  2. Allan Beaufour said,

    October 15, 2007 @ 10:45 am

    I use webrunner each day for Google apps, it works great! Thanks.

  3. serban said,

    October 16, 2007 @ 9:53 am

    hi
    about CSS themes, is there any way you could tell me when this feature will be enabled? is there any way to do this with the current release? please help me, i need this as soon as possible :)
    if you or anybody else has an idea that may help me , my email adress is ciobotarus@yahoo.com

    thanks

  4. Sherpa Josh said,

    October 18, 2007 @ 8:21 am

    I was hoping someone could help. Everytime I try to install webrunner I get a message saying all the xulrunner runtime files are corrupt and they wont copy to the program files directory. I tried hitting ignore and letting them copy anyway and when I try to run any webapp nothing happens. I tried to install webrunner without the xulrunner and when I try to run a webapp nothing happens. I am installing on a winxp machine. Thanks for any help.

  5. Gil said,

    October 18, 2007 @ 11:40 am

    WebRunner does not expose a UI for loading extensions yet. So you need to get the extension installed yourself at the moment.

    Can you give a couple of basic steps on how to do this? I’m apparently having trouble figuring out what it takes for WebRunner to know an extension is somewhere and that it should use it.

  6. Andrea Monni said,

    October 19, 2007 @ 1:58 am

    Has anybody tried webrunner with SalesForce or NetSuite? In our organization we’re about to deploy one of them and have them running as an independent application from the browser would be something very convenient.

  7. Pascal Van Hecke said,

    October 20, 2007 @ 3:33 am

    @Gil:

    you’ll find a writeup here:
    http://www.iosart.com/blog/2007/06/05/install-google-gears-in-a-xulrunner-app-in-3-quick-steps/

    Other extensions are analogous. I was able to install GTDInbox with Gmail for example.

    Oh, I also think it would be great if extensions could be installed on a per-webapp basis (analogous to the questions on cookie management per webapp above)

  8. Scott Fitchet said,

    October 22, 2007 @ 8:37 pm

    fantastic. my .webapp URLs are not opening … but it does work from the command line.

  9. Mark Finkle said,

    October 22, 2007 @ 11:09 pm

    Scott – File a bug with some information about what you’re doing so we can try to fix the *.webapp problem.

    See: http://wiki.mozilla.org/WebRunner#Contributing

  10. Milan said,

    October 25, 2007 @ 3:03 pm

    Did anybody succeeded installing extensions like Better Gmail (or Gmail Macro)? I tried to edit the rdf file and copy few different extensions from Firefox directory to the Webrunner but with no success.

    Is it neccessary to edit the registry settings (mentioned in the first step at http://www.iosart.com/blog/2007/06/05/install-google-gears-in-a-xulrunner-app-in-3-quick-steps/) and how to do it in a general case?

    Thanks in advance for detailed information. With extensions like Better Gmail, Webrunner will be exactly what I need.

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