In praise of Fluid

Volume 11, Issue 52; 13 Jul 2008; last modified 08 Oct 2010

Fluid is an application for building “site specific browers” and it's remarkably useful.

There are a handful of sites that I visit more-or-less all the time. I used to carry them around in tabs in my browser, but that's inconvenient: it's that many more tabs in an already tab-crowded browser, and they're inaccessible if the browser hangs or crashes.

Fluid lets you run them as site-specific browsers: stand-alone applications that display web pages as if they were applications.

I run GMail and Remember The Milk as ordinary applications, my collection of links as a “menu bar applet”, and my daily schedule as an undecorated window embedded in the desktop.

Highly recommended!

Comments

.... And it's Mac only.

—Posted by Dave Pawson on 14 Jul 2008 @ 06:55 UTC #

True. But the "site-specific browser" page on Wikipedia does have links to other things. Mark Birkbeck's "Sidewinder" demos at XML 2007 were particularly impressive.

—Posted by Norman Walsh on 14 Jul 2008 @ 11:50 UTC #

I'm a huge fan of Todd's work on Fluid as well. There are so many possibilities -- it boggles the mind!

For the PC, you might take a look at Mozilla's cross-platform Prism platform -- a project that has influenced Fluid's development:

http://labs.mozilla.com/projects/prism/

—Posted by Chris Messina on 14 Jul 2008 @ 12:59 UTC #

Depending on how it is implemented, it may address an issue that vexes me with my overloaded browser: ill-mannered Javascript crapping up the entire browser process. (Can you spell SBOD?)

Process isolation is something that I *thought* was solved a long time ago, but seems to have been forgotten in the headlong rush to put gobs of logic and in the single running browser processes.

I'm betting we will eventually have some hybrid of browser+local web service to provide a unified architecture to address this as well as some other issues. I think running a browser instance for a single page as a first-class process is a step in the right direction. I'll trade some memory and context switches for some control and isolation, thanks.

—Posted by Lou Springer on 14 Jul 2008 @ 08:56 UTC #