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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.