Prism 0.9 – Now as a Firefox Extension


Prism 0.9 has finally been released. Getting platform specific features to work on 3 platforms really is harder than it looks. A big thank you to Matt Gertner (plasticmillion) and Fredrik Larsson (nossralf) for all the work they did on this release.

The big news for this release is Prism for Firefox, a full blown Prism and a Firefox extension all in one. This means that you can now easily “make” web applications directly from Firefox. In addition, Prism now uses Firefox as its runtime, so you don’t need to download the XULRunner runtime. Yes, I have mentioned in the past that Firefox 3 will be able to run XUL applications. Here are some things the extension can do:

  • Allow you to manually convert a website into a Prism-ified web application.
  • Detect a web application bundle embedded on a website and prompt the user to install it.

The standalone version of Prism is still available. Download it from here: Windows (installer, archive), Mac and Linux.

Here is a quick list of Prism changes (extension and standalone):

  • We separated web applications into isolated processes, with isolated profile data.
  • Web application icon support via favicon or custom image. You can now choose the image used to represent a web application on the desktop.
  • We also added some platform specific features. Some, like “popup notifications” (all platforms) and “dock badging” (OS X) can be used via a custom webapp.js (more in a followup post). Others like “minimize to tray”, are not quite ready on all platforms. So we are holding off exposing those until the next release.
  • We fixed a lot of bugs and probably added a bunch different ones.

Now that we have a good foundation for platform features (and people who know more about Linux and OS X than me), we can start adding a few more goodies. Here are a list of things we are working on for the next release:

  • Minimize to tray support. The basics are in there now, but we have more work to do.
  • Context menu support for dock and tray. Again, we are close to having this working.
  • Support for a web content JS API so the web application itself can access some of the platform features. See bug 420661 for more information.
  • Simplified methods of embedding web application information into a website. Currently, the Prism extension uses a webapp bundle, but this can be made easier for web application authors. See bug 420878 for more information.

We are eager to hear more, so let us know what you think:

20 thoughts on “Prism 0.9 – Now as a Firefox Extension

  1. Prism fan

    please, what is the status of the offline storage? Is it somehow possible to save data locally (besides cookies)?

  2. @Prism fan – offline storage works today, just as it does in Firefox 3.0b4. You can use offline events, offline cahce and DOM storage.

    @Ronald – I hope you filed a bug. I build the linux version on Ubuntu 7.04, so I know it works there. Add details about what happens and which URL you were converting.

    @Christian – There are discussions on the forum about adding tabs for limited, multipage applications – like a Google Suite (one tab for each app)

  3. funTomas

    Any chance the Prism becomes an integral part of Firefox 3 (to make it “amphibious” app)? It’d also help to distinguish it from the still closing competition. Did I mention Webkit?

  4. Prism fan

    And please, do you, or anyone else, know of an example or article explaining how to synchronize local database with a remote one?

  5. KevinJames

    that is sweet. I was working on this and having trouble with the javascript differences. I am glad that you guys were able to get it working!

    –Kevin James

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  7. ezuk

    I’d like to combine this with the Remove-It-Permanently Firefox extension. Is there any way to install extensions within Prism?

    (The idea is not only to present a single webpage as a web app, but to minimize further and display only the specific portions of that page which I need)

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