Sunday, March 23, 2008

Prism + Webapps + Maemo = ?

Since a while I've being paying some attention into the promising Mozilla Prism project (old WebRunner), specially over a mobile developer perspective. Prism is a Mozilla Labs advanced development project that provides "a simple XULRunner based browser that hosts web applications without the normal web browser user interface". More interesting over is that the project came to me at the same time philip van hoof blogposted about "Web 2.0 email clients" (or something like this). My post could even get titled "mozilla-based web 2.0 email client" (or something like this), but Prism goes far away forward from that.

Main concepts here are two: Site Specific Browsers (SSB) and Distraction Free Browser:

  • SSB: applications with an embedded browser designed to work exclusively with a single web application (whereas typical browser chrome are rarely used). It doesn’t have the menus, toolbars and accoutrements of a normal web browser . An SSB also has a tighter integration with the OS and desktop than a typical web application running through a web browser.
  • Distraction free browsing: "This is nice for those times when your have to have your web based email and docs open but you don’t need the distraction of the rest of the Internet keeping you from your work. Plus the memory footprint is kept to a minimum because it isn’t the ‘full’ browser and all of its extensions."
Could that interest users of mobile devices ?

Not sure about the answer, but I put some effort on that these days to answer this question with some practical stuff. First, I got blassey's xulrunner armel build for maemo, checked out prism source from svn, pulled Firefox 3 pre beta 5 source base (to work as my mozilla build system), built them all together and after some hacks I got Prism running on maemo OS 2008 w/ some webapps (meebo and gmail for instance).






I will try to get some thumb enabled set UI for it, as well as making a .deb/.install available for Prism to see how things go from a mobile user perspective ...

PS: Prism has nothing to do with web application development, it's simply providing a more desktop-application-like interface for web applications. Mozilla claims: "Unlike Adobe AIR and Microsoft Silverlight, we're not building a proprietary platform to replace the web ... Prism isn't a new platform, it's simply the web platform integrated into the desktop experience. Web developers don't have to target it separately, because".

UPDATE: Greetings to MFinkle and other for all work on this.

UPDATE2: Here is Prism as a Firefox 3 addon.

--Antonio Gomes
tonikitoo at gmail dot com

5 comments:

josh said...

This is very interesting. I would be very interested in trying this out. I look forward to the .deb! Cheers.

elmarco said...

rock!

kaito said...

Hi. Can you separately turn on/off javascript and flash plug-ins for the creates applications?

Ian Lawrence said...

hey toninho...u rock dude...this is great work so keep it up

Antonio said...

kaito: yes JS could be turned on/off for each webapp running on top of Prism. Each one has its own configuration files and wont affect other, neitheh the browser.

am investigation how prism and flash/plugins interactions would work out of the box ...