To enhance and separately launch my cloud computing applications, I have been exploring an emerging technology called “Site-Specific Browsers” or SSB that has enabled me to open my web based (cloud) applications in the same manner as any other standard desktop application.
Typically, when we use an online service, such as our email, we use our web browser (e.g. IE, Firefox, Opera, Chrome) to navigate to the site. The browsers we use are congested with toolbars, menus, sidebars, an address bar, a search bar, etc… With SSB, you open your web based (cloud) application via an icon shortcut into a full screen window (very quickly) without all of the congestion or distractions. This allows you to get in, do your thing, and get out using a very clean and effective browser interface. Typically, a true SSB compliant browser can open each web based (cloud) app in a separate process from each other. If one fails, the whole house doesn’t come down. I have been using the SSB concept with several of my cloud apps and I love it. For example, with SSB, I can click on an icon on my desktop that will directly open my online email account (in a full screen window) faster than I can open my local email software on my computer or open the app via a browser shortcut.
OK, so how do you make these SSB application shortcuts?
I actually found (4)-four different ways to accomplish this:
The Google Chrome browser has a feature built into it called “create application shortcuts” which can be accessed via the “Page Menu” located in the top right corner of the browser. Even if you do not use Google Chrome, this feature alone may be worth the install. You can learn how to create your own application shortcuts, using Google Chrome, by [ clicking here ] . I have found this option in Chrome to work very well.
Mozilla Labs, the developers of Firefox, currently has in beta a SSB called Prism. Prism is an application that lets users split web applications out of their browser and run them directly from the desktop. There is a standalone (prototype) version of Prism which you can download to easily create your web app shortcuts or you can use the browser extension option. I personally prefer to use the standalone version of Prism at this point. I have found Prism, which works off of the Firefox browser engine, to work very well. You can read about and download Prism by [ clicking here ].
Bubbles is a standalone “Free” application that you download to generate (create) your SSB application shortcuts. It detaches Web Applications from the classic Browser and offers them with the familiar accessibility, capabilities and always-on nature of Desktop applications. Bubble appears to be running off of the Internet Explorer browser engine. You can read more and download Bubbles by [ clicking here ]
Mango SSB is another standalone “Free” application that you can use to create your SSB application shortcuts. What is unique about Mango is that it is customizable (e.g. menus, splash screens, kiosk mode, etc.). It even has an option where you can compile your customized web app shortcut into an actual “exe” (executable) program. Mango appears to be tapping into the Internet Explorer browser engine. Mango is a good example of what can take place with the SSB technology. You can read about and download Mango by [ clicking here ]
I hope that you have found this article beneficial. As I have mentioned in previous posts, cloud computing is the wave. More and more online applications and services are being developed daily. Using a SSB – Site -Specific Browser to launch those services only makes sense. If you know of any other site specific browsers out there, drop me a comment. I am always for exploring something new.
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