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:


  1. Mozilla Labs » Blog Archive » Major Update to Prism, First Prototype of Browser Integration said,

    March 7, 2008 @ 2:27 pm

    […] Finkle has a post with more […]

  2. realgt said,

    March 7, 2008 @ 3:29 pm

    dang….i love prism, but you guys just broke all of my webapp shortcuts, wtf?

  3. David Naylor said,

    March 7, 2008 @ 4:24 pm

    Sounds great! When minimize to tray is available I will start using it for real.

  4. Prism fan said,

    March 7, 2008 @ 5:18 pm

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

  5. arthuran said,

    March 7, 2008 @ 6:46 pm

    Good news.
    I just write article about Prism in my Thai blog. (^_^)

  6. Mozilla Prism - Arriva l’estensione per Firefox » Italia SW said,

    March 8, 2008 @ 1:54 am

    […] attraverso cui “realizzeremo” le nostre applicazioni web based. Come afferma Mark Frinkle, Prism ha un’altra novità, usa Firefox come runtime (non occorre più il download di XUL), […]

  7. Ronald Schouten said,

    March 8, 2008 @ 1:59 am

    Looks promising. Too bad it doesn’t work on Ubuntu though.

  8. Christian Seiler said,

    March 8, 2008 @ 9:38 am

    Any plans to suppport tabs?

  9. Mark Finkle said,

    March 8, 2008 @ 2:47 pm

    @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)

  10. funTomas said,

    March 8, 2008 @ 3:12 pm

    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?

  11. Best of Week (+/-) #1 | Insel der Engel' said,

    March 8, 2008 @ 6:05 pm

    […] Prism 0.9 – Now as a Firefox Extension […]

  12. Prism fan said,

    March 9, 2008 @ 4:12 pm

    That’s wonderful! Thanks for the reply!

  13. Prism fan said,

    March 9, 2008 @ 7:06 pm

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

  14. KevinJames said,

    March 10, 2008 @ 1:00 pm

    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

  15. Prism 0.9 Released: Icon Support! » Solo Technology said,

    March 10, 2008 @ 5:48 pm

    […] [source and more info: Mark Finkle’s Weblog] […]

  16. Itinéraire Libre said,

    March 11, 2008 @ 6:11 am

    Prism 0.9 et une extension pour Firefox en prime…

    La publication officielle de Prism 0.9 est enfin annoncée. Plein de détails en anglais sur le blog Mark Finkle. Beaucoup de nouveautés au menu ! Un créateur de lanceur (raccourci) très simple d’utilisation La gestion des extensions Plus…

  17. ezuk said,

    March 14, 2008 @ 11:52 am

    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)

  18. The Universal Desktop mobile edition said,

    March 17, 2008 @ 6:44 am

    […] missed this but it looks like last week Prism 0.9 was released and it added functionality that enables it to run as a Firefox plugin so you can quickly and easily […]

  19. Prism 0.9 Release and is now a Firefox Extension » Scott’s Morning Brew said,

    March 17, 2008 @ 7:53 am

    […] H/T:  Mark Finkle’s Weblog […]

  20. Christian Höltje said,

    March 26, 2008 @ 9:33 am

    Two questions:

    1) How do I change the sensitivity of what URLs to open in prism? In my case I have a prism set up for However links to are also opened up in prism. I would expect it not to open that way. Can I change this somehow with webapp.js?

    2) What is the version identifier for prism so that I can modify my extension to work with prism?


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