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Mozilla Prism Apps aren’t RIAs

Posted by Sravan | July 2, 2008 .

Apart from Adobe, Microsoft and Sun, even Mozilla took notice of the surge in RIAs. It started a project called WebRunner long ago, with a goal “to identify and facilitate the development of enhancements that bring the advantages of desktop apps to the web platform,” and later renamed it as Prism towards the end of last year.

‘Prism’ is a better name that explains the project’s intentions. The below picture will show you what I mean.

Mozilla Prism Idea

Using Prism, you can create your own web apps and add them to your desktop. They will function as stand-alone applications. With Firefox 3 still having problems, and crashing like Windows Millennium used to, this can be particularly useful.

Prism is now available as a Firefox add-on. Add it, and you can “convert website into application” (from Tools menu). If you see the reviews, you will notice that they are mostly lukewarm. I don’t have many good things to say about it either.

When I created my own web apps, which took just a few seconds, they didn’t look much different from the IE 6 windows, except that there are no extra buttons or menus or bars. In my opinion, the current version of Prism will be useful for those who can use nothing but Firefox, because running these Prism apps consumes less memory.

An important aspect of RIAs is the richness in their look and feel. As of now, Prism apps are lusterless.

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2 Comments so far
  1. Rufus White  July 31, 2008 5:32 am

    I think you’re missing the point a little, but since the documentation for prism only seems to focus on this very basic functionality that’s understandable. The real genius of prism lies not in sicking any old website into it’s own dedicated window, but in it’s ability to use XUL to code webapps. This means developers will be able to easily code applications that look like proper desktop apps, but that load from the web (so users always have the latest version), and that work the same on every platform that has prism.

    I think the biggest uses for prism will be for large, database driven corporations, where a quick and easy front-end to the database is needed to be cross platform, but for which basic web pages lack the functionality or usability to get the job done efficiently.

  2. Sravan  July 31, 2008 10:48 am

    I had no idea, Rufus. Thank you for the info, I especially like the latest version part.:)

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